Physicians use a lot of shortcuts and abbreviations. Some of them may even make it onto the official abbreviation list at their hospital. Some don’t. And even if they did, some physicians will use the wrong term. Robert S. Gold, MD, discusses an example that was featured in the January Medicare Quarterly Provider Compliance Newsletter regarding proper identification and ICD-9-CM coding of a bronchoscopy with biopsy (TBB) vs. a bronchoscopic lung biopsy (TBLB).
When a provider notes a diagnosis on the hospital-acquired condition (HAC) list, coders must be diligent about looking throughout the rest of the chart to ensure documentation clearly indicates the presence of a HAC. For example, if the condition is a pressure ulcer, the condition may have been present on admission. Shelia Bullock, RN, BSN, MBA, CCM, CCDS, and Beverly Cunningham, MS, RN, address the importance of coder participation as members of hospital HAC committees and the development of best practices to ensure accurate HAC and HCAC reporting.
What should inpatient coders remember about the three-day payment window requirements? Although it may seem counterintuitive, Debbie Mackaman, RHIA, CHCO, and Marion G. Kruse, RN, MBA, explain that inpatient coders need to be aware of certain outpatient services that they may need to include on inpatient claims, as well as when they need to alert billers to assign condition code 51.
Special Edition MLN Matters article #SE1210 , “Recovery Auditors Findings Resulting from Medical Necessity Reviews of Renal and Urinary Tract Disorders,” outlines recovery auditor findings upon completion of medical necessity reviews. In the article, which addresses documentation and billing for inpatients, recovery auditors concluded that providers had been admitting patients even for clinical situations for which outpatient observation services would have been appropriate.
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?