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Anesthesia Coding Alert

Avoid These Hot Spots When Coding Burn Care

Hint: Anesthesia coders follow the same tactic as surgical coders. Coding for burns that affect several anatomic areas can get tricky, but that doesn't mean your claims should go up in smoke. Keep two key points in mind, and you'll be on your way to correctly reporting your anesthesiologist's service. Watch the Diagnosis The surgeon will assess burn severity as first, second, or third degree. First-degree burns usually only redden the skin, while second-degree (partial thickness) burns affect both the outer and underlying skin layers, causing pain, redness, swelling, and extensive blistering. Third-degree (full thickness) burns extend into deeper tissues and cause white or blackened, charred skin that may be numb because the burn trauma has destroyed the nerve endings. An anesthesiologist will be called in to assist during treatment for third degree burns, or possibly second degree. You'll assign an ICD-9 code from the range 940.x-947.x (Burn ...), which [...]

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