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Orthopedic Coding Alert

Operative report Examination:

Reporting Unlisted for Shoulder Resurfacing Hemiarthroplasties? Read This First

Coding for this new surgery shouldn't differ from standard shoulder hemiarthroplasties

Most orthopedic coders consider shoulder hemiarthroplasty coding a piece of cake: They scrutinize the op report, confirm the procedure and report 23470 (Arthroplasty, glenohumeral joint; hemiarthroplasty). But what happens when your surgeon dictates a drastically different note for hemiarthroplasty, which doesn't include humeral head removal? Find out with our expert tips. The Basics: Check Out the Op Report Be on the lookout for operative reports that look like the following note, which describes the new shoulder resurfacing hemiarthroplasty procedure:

-We externally rotated and extended the arm, delivering the humeral head into the wound, and removed the prearticular osteophytes with a rongeur. We placed the trial humeral head into position and inserted a K-wire through the central portion of the humeral head and out the lateral humeral cortex.

-We then used the appropriate-size reverse reamer to remove the articular cartilage from the humeral head down to bleeding cancellous bone. We then used the reamer to make the opening for the post for the Copeland prosthesis.

-We irrigated the entire humeral head with copious amounts of normal saline. We then impacted the appropriate-size Copeland humeral head resurfacing prosthesis onto the humeral head. We inspected the gleno-humeral joint and found that no loose bodies or bone were in the joint. We then reduced the humeral head into the glenoid fossa, and closed the incision.-
 
Check Out Your Coding Options Coding concern: -Many coders would do a double-take when they see no mention of the humeral head being removed, which is standard practice in a normal hemiarthroplasty of the shoulder,- says Heather Corcoran, coding manager at CGH Billing in Louisville, Ky. -Therefore, a lot of coders are tempted to use an unlisted-procedure code or to downgrade 23470 with modifier 52 (Reduced services).-

Nail Down the Coding Rationale Coding solution: You should simply report 23470 with no modifiers appended, says Bill Mallon, MD, a practicing orthopedic surgeon and the medical director at Triangle Orthopaedic Associates in Durham, N.C.
 
-You should use the same code because the new procedure is a hemiarthroplasty,- says Mallon, who has performed the new resurfacing procedure twice so far. Although 23470 describes a hemiarthroplasty, CPT does not specifically mandate the technique that you must use to report the code, so you should bill 23470 for either type of shoulder hemiarthroplasty. Know What to Look for in the Notes The new procedure is often referred to as the -Copeland- hemiarthroplasty, because Dr. Stephen Copeland of England developed the prosthesis, and the U.S. manufacturer (Biomet) markets the product as the Copeland prosthesis, Mallon says.

DePuy Orthopaedics markets a similar product called the Global CAP. If your surgeon refers to the -Copeland- or -Global CAP- prosthesis, you-ll know [...]


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