Diagnosis Coding and Modifiers

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ICD-10 Coding and Modifiers

International Classification of Diseases or the ICD-10 system is utilized to code signs, symptoms, injuries, diseases and conditions. The relationship between ICD-10 and Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) is critical in that the diagnosis supports the medical necessity of the procedures or the Evaluation and Management (E&M), i.e., the service being provided.

The provider’s documentation must be specific, and the diagnosis code selected must be to the highest specificity that the documentation supports.  ICD-10 codes may be 3 to 5 digits depending on the level of specificity required.

Abdominal pain – R10.00

Abdominal pain, right upper quadrant – R10.11

Betsy Ott, Administrative Assistant, Goldstein Rosenberg’s Raphael-Sacks Funeral Home, Philadelphia, PA

Level I Modifiers

A level I modifier is a two-digit code that modifies a service or procedure under certain circumstances. Level I modifiers are updated annually by the American Medical Association (AMA). These modifiers add information and change the description of a service or procedure rendered. Appending an appropriate modifier will effect reimbursement of the service.

Some examples of commonly used modifiers are:

25 – Significant, separately identifiable evaluation and management service by the same physician on the same day of the procedure of other service

57 – Decision for surgery

59 – Distinct procedural service

82 – Assistant Surgeon (when qualified resident surgeon not available)

Are your providers utilizing modifiers correctly, and does their documentation support the use of the modifier?

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