Q: I have a question about coding transplant complications. My understanding is if the complication affects the transplanted organ, then coders should assign a code for the transplant complication itself. Is this correct? Consider the following physician documentation: Final A/P: Acute renal failure in patient with history of renal transplant. Should coders report 996.81 (complications of transplanted kidney) and 584.9 (acute kidney failure, unspecified)? Also consider this documentation: CHF in heart transplant patient . Should coders report 996.83 (complications of transplanted heart) and 428.0 (CHF, unspecified)?
Q: I need further clarification regarding documentation of toxic metabolic encephalopathy. I’m trying to code two different cases in which a physician documents acute mental status change secondary to an infectious process . In each case, the patient’s metabolic panels don’t appear to be abnormal; however, one of the patients is septic. The physician thinks that documenting and coding sepsis separately from encephalopathy would result in unbundling. However, I disagree because coding the sepsis separately demonstrates severity. What is the correct logic to use in each of these cases?
Q: A patient has been diagnosed with peritonsillar cellulitis and oropharyngeal cellulitis. The physician documents that he performed a “needle aspiration of the left peritonsillar abscess.” In the body of the operative report, the physician states, “An 18-gauge needle was inserted and 1 cc of pus was aspirated. This was sent for aerobic, anaerobic, C&S [culture & sensitivity], and gram stain. I then put the 18-gauge needle in again and multiple passes were obtained without any aspirate.” Because ICD-9-CM does not include a code for “aspiration of peritonsillar abscess” some coders wanted to use ICD-9-CM procedure code 28.0 (incision and drainage of tonsil and peritonsillar structures) while others want to report code 28.99 (other operations on tonsils and adenoids). Which code is correct?
QUESTION: I'd like to address our coders' questions on how to code poisoning due to bath salts. Internet research has led me to many different options: codes 977.8 (other specified drug/medicinal), 970.89 (other CNS stimulant), 969.70 (psychostimulant, unspecified), among others. What would you suggest? There don't seem to be any guidelines out there and the coding for this seems to be all over the place.
Medicare Fee-For-Service (FFS) will accept only ASC X12 Version 5010 or NCPDP Telecom D.0 electronic transactions beginning on July 1, according to a CMS June 11 Medicare Fee-For-Service Provider Partnership Program e-newsletter.
QUESTION: Our pulmonologists are not comfortable documenting acute respiratory failure unless the patient is on a ventilator. Also, they rarely document chronic respiratory failure, even in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients on continuous home oxygen. I’m trying to develop standard query forms for acute and chronic respiratory failure and am running into these obstacles. How do you recommend handling this problem?
QUESTION: A physician documents in an operative report debridement of a necrotic muscle (not due to an open wound). Must the physician also document how the muscle is removed to report ICD-9-CM procedure code 83.45 (other myectomy)? Is this considered excisional or nonexcisional debridement? What documentation is required to code the removal of a necrotic portion of a muscle?