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Orthopedic Coding Alert

Reader Questions:

Report Digital Blocks, but Not With Surgery

Question: When is it appropriate to report a digital block? Is it always bundled?

New York Subscriber
Answer: The only time you should report a digital block is when the orthopedic surgeon performs it for pain relief or as a diagnostic test and doesn't also perform a surgical procedure.

For example, if a patient presents with severe pain, and the surgeon administers a digital block and sends the patient home, you could charge for the block with 64450 (Injection, anesthetic agent; other peripheral nerve or branch).

If the physician plans to perform any surgical procedure (including fracture care), you should not bill for the digital block, because it's included in CPT's definition of the -surgical package.-

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