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Orthopedic Coding Alert

Take 5 to Nail Down ASC Coding Rules

Know your modifiers, allowable codes, for ASC payment The orthopedic coding community has heard so much information about the 2008 ASC changes recently that it's enough to make your head spin. But with all the changes, some coding rules have remained the same. The following five ASC tips can help you button up your ASC coding.
1. Know Where to Find ASC-Allowed Services CMS will pay for an additional 790 procedures in ASCs in 2008, including hundreds that apply to orthopedic surgeons. For example, in 2008 you-ll be able to bill Medicare when your surgeon treats a hip dislocation (27256), performs a knee joint revision (27440, 27446) or applies a long leg cast (29345, 29355) in an ASC. To review the full list of surgeries added to the ASC list, visit the Federated Ambulatory Surgery Association (FASA) Web site at www.fasa.org/additions.pdf. Medicare also keeps the full list of allowable ASC procedures on its Web site, according to the year that the physician performed the service. Visit the CMS site www.cms.hhs.gov/ASCPayment/ for the full list of ASC-allowed procedures.
2. Remember the -Same-Day Global- Rule Every procedure billed by the ASC has a -same-day- global period. This makes sense because the ASC is not reporting physician work services -- only facility fees. This applies to the coder working for the ASC, but not the physician who performed the service. For instance, if a patient experiences postoperative bleeding and the physician must return the patient to the ASC for control of bleeding on the same day, both the physician's coder and the ASC's coder should report the appropriate control-of-bleeding code appended with modifier 78 (Return to the operating room for a related procedure during the postoperative period) because the procedure occurred within the -same-day- global period for the ASC. If, however, the physician returned the patient to the ASC the day after the initial surgery, the ASC coder would report the appropriate control-of-bleeding code with no modifier attached. For the ASC's purposes, the initial surgery's global period has expired, even though the surgery includes a 90-day global period for physician services. On the other hand, the orthopedic surgeon's coder would report the bleeding-control code with modifier 78 appended because the physician's services still follow the standard global rule. Takeaway: The ASC coder should follow the -same-day- global rule, but the physician's coder should follow standard global period rules from the fee schedule, says Annette Grady, CPC, CPC-H, CPC-P, senior orthopedic coder and compliance auditor for The Coding Network.
3. Properly Append Modifier SG When the ASC coder bills Medicare for any service performed in the ASC, she must list modifier SG (ASC facility service) as [...]

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