Category Archives: Coding Best Practices

Improving coding accuracy; complete and accurate coding; computer-assisted coding; CAC; remote coding; web-based coding; APR-DRGs; DRGs; diagnosis related groups

SGR and ICD-10: Time for Spring Cleaning

It’s that time of year again. For people not working in the healthcare industry, it’s time for flowers to start blooming, windows to be opened to fresh air, swimsuit shopping and, even though we had a short-lived blizzard in Colorado yesterday, I’m ready for spring! Let the spring cleaning begin. However, there is the painful memory of last year, when ICD-10 was delayed “at least until October 1, 2015” via the SGR repeal bill, also known as the doc fix bill. I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news. Continue reading

Do You have Questions About Edits 71 and 77?

I live in the Salt Lake City area, but last week I ventured east for the public Hospital Outpatient Payment (HOP) Panel meeting at CMS. As I listened to the testimony, I thought about some of the emails I have received about OCE edits 71 (Claim Lacks required device code) and 77 (Claim Lacks allowed procedure code). I have been asked a number of questions about these edits along with requests to talk to CMS to see if they would reinstate them, or as a last resort, have 3M create similar edits. Continue reading

Data Value: Important Mammogram Coding Change

A policy and data specialist colleague of mine was working with the 2015 NCCI data and noted that CMS had, for the first time, added screening and diagnostic mammogram codes to the edit.

Specifically, CPT 77055 and 77056 and HCPCS G0204 and G0206 (diagnostic mammography) and CPT 77057 (screening mammography) and 77063 (screening digital breast tomosynthesis, bilateral) cannot be billed on the same claim on the same date of service (DOS). Continue reading

Compliance Confusion: Observation Coding

I wonder how many millions of dollars are lost due to coding errors that have nothing to do with ICD-10 but everything to do with complex and confusing requirements and new rules. I’ve said this before: I don’t believe folks make mistakes intentionally, especially when it impacts reimbursement, but I think there is a lot of coding compliance confusion. And, in my humble opinion, it’s not the coders “fault” when errors are encountered. Continue reading

Taking a Closer Look at the February ICD-10 Coding Challenge

CHALLENGE QUESTION:

An 11-year old boy with severe autism presents to the Emergency Department with a fall from a 4-5 foot round hay bale. He landed backwards on his left arm and chest two hours ago at his family’s farm. His father was present at the time of the fall and states that he did not lose consciousness, but might have “gotten the wind knocked out of him.” He got up afterwards and was ambulatory. His parents brought him in because he was not moving his left arm and was supporting it with his right arm. On examination, the left arm is minimally swollen and there is moderate pain. Pain is relieved with positioning and immobilization of the arm. The exam was difficult due to pain and the patient’s autism. Intranasal fentanyl was administered so proper assessment could be completed. Continue reading

Partial Dictation: A Smart Compromise for Quality Documentation

Last month, AHDI created a new Facebook group called “SR Errors – Funny or Fatal?” as a forum for healthcare documentation specialists (HDS) to share speech recognition “bloopers” that they caught during the editing process.

The submissions vary from hilarious:
“The patient slipped on the ice and fell on her Botox.”

To scary:
Dictated: “Lipitor 20, two pills a day”
Speech recognition result: “Lipitor 22 pills a day” Continue reading

It’s Complicated! Just Because You “Can” Doesn’t Mean That You “Should”

Remember as a child using the argument, “Everyone else’s parents are letting them” and your mother asking, “If everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you jump too?” When it comes to capture of diagnoses, the same type of argument can occur between HIM and Quality. Coding professionals will refer to the alphabetical/tabular indexes, official Coding Guidelines and AHA Coding Clinics for ICD-9-CM to support the capture of a diagnosis or for specific code assignment.  Quality staff will refer to the clinical picture, the probable intended meaning of the author and in applicable cases, the CDC diagnostic criteria as support for not assigning a code. I can remember a very passionate “discussion” between myself and a coding professional about a complication and whether or not it had to be assigned as a complication.  I stated, “Just because you can code it that way does not mean you have to code it that way!” Continue reading

An Ounce of Prevention When Coding Preventive E&M Services

In previous blogs, I’ve written in detail about the different sets of exam guidelines, scoring of HPI, ROS, MDM and other details. These are the components that make up the supporting documentation for most E&M services.  There are a few exceptions, however, like critical care, facility coding, and preventive medicine.

There are many types of E&M visits, primarily separated into sick versus well visits. They can occur at the same time, but usually don’t.  Patients coming in for their annual physical usually schedule another visit to discuss any acute issues. Continue reading

HIMagine That! Don’t Just Hope…Take Action!

Donna: Sue, did you listen to the U.S. House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee hearing on health industry readiness for ICD-10 last week?

Sue: I wasn’t able to tune in as I was at a customer site that day, but I read all of the presenter remarks and watched video of the questions asked by the subcommittee and the responses from the panel of witnesses. It’s all posted on the Coalition for ICD-10 website. How about you?

Donna: I had the hearing on in the background while I was working, but I didn’t get to listen to the entire proceedings because I was on conference calls . . . you know how it goes. So what did you think? Continue reading

Taking a Closer Look at the January ICD-10 Coding Challenge

CHALLENGE QUESTION:

A subway train car filled with thick black smoke due to an electrical malfunction. One woman on board had difficulty breathing and collapsed to the floor of the train, unconscious. Fellow passengers began performing CPR in an effort to help the woman. Emergency workers arrived and transported the woman to the Emergency Room of a nearby hospital. Resuscitative efforts were continued to no avail and the woman expired. The Emergency Department physician recorded the following diagnoses: acute respiratory failure due to smoke inhalation.

Assign diagnosis codes for this outpatient encounter. Continue reading