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Orthopedic Coding Alert

READER QUESTIONS:

Bundle 99238 Into Surgical Package

Question: Can we report 99238 to reflect the surgeon's work discharging a patient if the patient is in the postsurgical global period?

Kansas Subscriber Answer: You cannot report 99238 (Hospital discharge day management; 30 minutes or less) if the orthopedic surgeon performs surgery and discharges the patient during a global surgical period. But if the patient is admitted to the hospital and the surgeon does not perform surgery, you can normally report a discharge.

For example, suppose the orthopedic surgeon admits a trauma patient to the hospital following an accident. The orthopedist does not perform surgery and discharges the patient two days later. He should report 99238 or 99239 (... more than 30 minutes) for the discharge service.


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