QUESTION: A physician admits a 30-year-old male with lower abdominal pain. A CT scan showed consistency with perforated appendicitis. However, the patient had an appendectomy 10 months prior. The physician documents "appendiceal stump syndrome." How should I code this case?
The task of assigning the appropriate present on admission (POA) indicator for various conditions is still fraught with a number of challenges—many of which stem from problems coders have in obtaining clear, explicit physician documentation. Colleen Stukenberg, MSN, RN, CCDS, CMSRN, and Donna D. Wilson, RHIA, CCS, CCDS, discuss how gleaning the necessary details from the records can be a daunting task in and of itself, and then inconsistencies among various physicians makes assigning POA indicators that much harder.
Perhaps you're familiar with the following scenario: A hospital submits a short-stay inpatient (Part A) claim. An auditor, such as a RAC or MAC, reviews the claim and deems the admission to be not reasonable and necessary due to the hospital billing the wrong setting. The auditor issues a denial for the full amount of the claim. Although the hospital may rebill for certain Part B ancillary services before the timely filing limit, it may not bill for any of the other outpatient services denied as part of the inpatient claim.
The goals of coding should always be ensuring data accuracy and capturing a patient's true clinical picture. Knowing the intent of an ICD-9-CM code is crucial. However, coding guidelines and official coding guidance sometimes conflict with these goals, putting coders between a rock and a hard place. Robert S. Gold, MD, examines cardiomyopathy, a disease that affects the heart muscle, as an example of a diagnosis that is frequently misreported due to inaccurate guidance.
QUESTION: I have a question regarding the coding of a computer-assisted fluoroscopy. Consider the following documentation: Use and interpretation of intraoperative fluoroscopy. After positioning the patient, the posterior lumbar area was prepped and draped in the standard sterile fashion. The prior incision was marked with a marking pen. C-arm fluoroscopy was used to map an incision extending from the tip of the spinous process of L2 to that of L5. After performing a time-out, this incision was infiltrated with local anesthetic and incised with a 10-blade scalpel. Dissection proceeded through the subcutaneous fat using Bovie monopolar cautery. Self-retaining retractors were applied. Dissection then proceeded in the midline through the avascular plane through the lumbodorsal fascia and musculature using the Bovie. Self-retaining retractors were deepened. Would you assign a procedure code for the fluoroscopy for this inpatient procedure or would it just be inclusive in the procedure? There seems to be confusion when comparing this procedure in an inpatient setting vs. an outpatient setting.
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)?
Coders should already be familiar with the 285 new, revised, and deleted ICD-9-CM codes that CMS finalized for fiscal year (FY) 2012. However, it’s critical that providers also examine how these changes directly affect MS-DRG assignment. Robert Gold, MD, examines a number of these changes, including MS-DRG assignment related to cardiac-specific comorbidities, autologous bone marrow transplants, excisional debridement, and thoracic aneurysm repair.