Coding Q&A

Q: We had a patient present with multiple lacerations and were wondering how to bill, since some were repaired with sutures and some were repaired with staples. A: Laceration repair is billed based on the complexity, length of the repair, and the anatomic site. The repair can consist of sutures, staples, or wound adhesive (eg, Dermabond). The Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) manual classifies the complexity of the repair of wounds as being simple, intermediate, or complex. Simple repair is used when the wound is superficial, primarily involving epidermis, dermis, orRead More
Q: We are planning to open a new clinic that will offer both primary care and urgent care services. Can we use the same tax identification number (TIN) when we start negotiating contracts with insurance payors? A: Based on our experience with doing this many times, if you attempt to use the same TIN for both primary care (PC) and urgent care (UC), you are likely to see the following results: Some payors are likely to refuse to give both contracts to the same entity. Some will be fine withRead More

Posted On March 27, 2017 By In Coding Q&A

Coding for Critical Care Services

Q: Can we bill for critical care services when spending extra time with patients who are very ill? A: It is rare that you would perform billable critical care services in the urgent care setting. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the American Medical Association (AMA), critical care is defined as the direct delivery by a physician(s) of medical care for a critically ill or critically injured patient. A critical illness or injury acutely impairs one or more vital organ systems such that there isRead More
Q: We are coding for an urgent care group that is owned by a hospital and bills on a CMS-1500 for professional services and the UB-04 for facility services. We bill using Place of Service (POS) code 22. Is this correct? A: Prior to January 1, 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) POS code set did not differentiate between an urgent care operating on campus or off campus. As of January 1, 2016, the criteria for outpatient hospital services have changed. If the hospital elects to billRead More
Q: Can you bill for splint and cast applications done by someone on staff other than the physician? A: Yes, you can still bill for the service if the application is performed by someone else in the clinic. The American Medical Association (AMA) provided guidance on this in the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) Assistant, April 2002 issue: “You will note that the reference to ‘physician’ has been retained in the clinical examples provided. This inclusion does not infer that the cast/splint/strap procedure was performed solely by the physician, as nursesRead More
A new year always brings changes, and CPT is not excluded. On January 1, 2017 you will want to take note of CPT code changes that will affect your billing. Imaging Guidance Codes with Puncture Aspiration If guidance is used for needle placement when performing puncture aspiration CPT code 10160, “Puncture aspiration of abscess, hematoma, bulla, or cyst,” coders are directed to the imaging guidance codes: 76492, “Ultrasonic guidance for needle placement (eg, biopsy, aspiration, injection, localization device) imaging supervision and interpretation” 77002, “Fluoroscopic guidance for needle placement (eg, biopsy,Read More
Q. I understand that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has added National Correct Coding Initiative (NCCI) edits that no longer allow the billing of debridement with hundreds of surgical codes. What is the impact? How do NCCI edits affect us in general? A. NCCI edits define when two procedure codes may not be reported together except under special circumstances. Medicare implemented NCCI to promote national correct coding methodologies and to control improper coding, which leads to inappropriate payment. Your billers should check the edits whenever two or moreRead More

Posted On November 2, 2016 By In Coding Q&A

Imaging: X-Rays and Computed Tomography

Q. I understand that there will be reductions for x-ray reimbursements from Medicare in 2017. Is this true? A. To give imaging providers an additional incentive to adopt more advanced x-ray technology, Medicare will reduce reimbursement, beginning in 2017, for the technical component (and the technical component of the global fee) in claims submitted for x-rays performed with analog equipment. The cuts will continue in future years for those using computed radiography equipment (Table 1). Table 1. Reductions in Medicare Reimbursements for X-Rays X-Ray Technology Year Implemented Reimbursement Reduction AnalogRead More