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Otolaryngology Coding Alert

Debridement:

Ask 2 Questions Before Coding Sinus Debridement -- or Pay the Price

You can report 31237 as a post-op procedure If denials and quickly advised "don’ts" are making you reluctant to code for postoperative endoscopic debridement, gain the confidence to use 31237 by pinpointing the initial surgery and the post-procedure’s reason. Which Surgery Did the ENT Initially Perform? An otolaryngologist may perform postoperative debridements (31237, Nasal/sinus endoscopy, surgical; with biopsy, polypectomy or debridement [separate procedure]) for sinusitis after functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS, 31254-31294), which may also include septoplasty (30520, Septoplasty or submucous resection, with or without cartilage scoring, contouring or replacement with graft) and/or turbinectomy (30130, Excision inferior turbinate, partial or complete, any method, or 30140, Submucous resection inferior turbinate, partial or complete, any method). Before you can determine if you should report the debridement, you must identify the primary surgery. Why: The Medicare Physician Fee Schedule assigns different global periods to 30520, 30130-30140 and FESS codes. Codes 30520 and 30130-30140 [...]