QUESTION: For a healing traumatic finger amputation with concern but no diagnosis of infection at the amputation site (the physician prescribed Bactrim), is it correct to assign code V54.89 (other orthopedic aftercare) and ICD-9-CM code 886.x (traumatic amputation of finger)?
QUESTION: We are having a discussion about how to code when the studies section of the history and physical (H&P) indicates that the chest x-ray showed atelectasis or that an electrocardiogram showed right bundle branch block with anterior fascicular block. Some of us believe that it’s okay to code the diagnosis (i.e., atelectasis) if the provider states that the testing “showed” the diagnosis, whereas others believe we cannot code the diagnosis as it is a lab/testing result, and the provider could just be reading the results onto his or her H&P dictation. I realize you cannot go to the testing result itself and code from it directly. However, I argue that it would be okay to code for it because the provider is using this information to make decisions about care, testing, and procedures, and he or she indicates the testing results in the H&P body. What are your thoughts?
QUESTION: Recently, reviewers have denied diagnostic code 584.9 (acute renal failure [ARF]) based on lab values. The diagnosis is well documented and treated by the attending physician, but reviewers are stating the lab values do not support the diagnosis of ARF. The lab values (creatinine/blood urea nitrogen) went from normal to abnormal, and we found no definitive standards for lab parameters to meet the definition of ARF. Following coding guidelines for reporting secondary diagnoses, the ARF was clinically evaluated, the patient received therapeutic and diagnostic procedures, and there was an extended length of stay/increased nursing care. As coders, we feel it is inappropriate to question the physician’s clinical judgment, and reporting the ARF as a secondary diagnosis is correct. Based on the documentation in the record, is it appropriate to code the ARF?
QUESTION: Can a patient have encephalopathy after surgery? For example, a patient becomes confused post-surgery and is transferred from the medical-surgical floor to the intensive care unit, where he or she receives high doses of pain medication via IV. However, the patient recovers well and the confusion disappears after the IV fluids and reduction in pain medication and oxygen. Would it be appropriate to query the physician regarding encephalopathy and its possible cause, or would this be a red flag for auditors? The situation did extend the patient’s length of stay by one day.
CMS issued Transmittal 1039 in the One-Time Notification Manual on February 3, which provides guidance on reporting claims submissions and date span requirements for 33X Type of Bill, which pertains to Home Health Agencies, containing ICD-10 codes with dates of discharge on or after October 1, 2013.
The January issue of Medicare Quarterly Provider Compliance Newsletter (volume 2, issue 2) addressed a number of recovery audit findings, including ambulance services separately payable during an inpatient hospital stay, diseases and disorders of the circulatory system, and minor surgery and other treatment billed as inpatient stay.
The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) stated in its recent publication, “Hospital Incident Reporting Systems Do Not Capture Most Patient Harm,” that a series of reports examining adverse events in hospitals shows that for the hospitals it surveyed, the incident reporting systems only tracked approximately 14% of incidents.
QUESTION: A patient had an aneurysm at arteriovenous (AV) fistula, and the physician excluded the aneurysm between two clamps, ends oversewn, and excised the aneurysm. The physician used a tunneler to tunnel an 8 mm Flixine graft from the arterial to the venous side, and two end-to-side anastomoses were then performed at the vein and arterial end. Should we report code 39.42 (revision of AV shunt for renal dialysis) with code 38.63 (other excision of vessel), or code 38.43 (resection of vessel with replacement), or another code(s)?