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Pathology/Lab Coding Alert

READER QUESTIONS:

'Can't Miss' Direction for Definitive Identification

Question: For microbiology, what is -definitive identification,- and how should I code for it?


Indiana Subscriber


Answer: Definitive identification involves performing additional tests on a culture isolate to define it more specifically than a presumptive identification. CPT states that definitive identification is -identification to the genus or species level that requires additional tests (e.g., biochemical panels, slide cultures).-

How you code for this identification level depends on what organism grows in the culture--for instance, whether it is anaerobic or aerobic.

Use the following codes for definitive identification based on the organism:

- Aerobic isolates including urine culture--87077 (Culture, bacterial; aerobic isolate, additional methods required for definitive identification, each isolate)

- Anaerobic isolates--87076 (Culture, bacterial; anaerobic isolate, additional methods required for definitive identification, each isolate)

- Yeast--87106 (Culture, fungi, definitive identification, each organism; yeast)

- Mold--87107 (Culture, fungi, definitive identification, each organism; mold)

- Tuberculosis--87118 (Culture, mycobacterial, definitive identification, each isolate). Sometimes labs definitively identify tuberculosis by nucleic acid probe, in which case you should report 87149 (Culture typing; identification by nucleic acid probe).


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