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Radiology Coding Alert

NCCI 9.3 Update:
Transvaginal U/S Is Bundled Into Complete Pelvic U/S

Attention, Radiology Coder: You can no longer report a nonobstetric transvaginal ultrasound with a complete pelvic ultrasound because the National Correct Coding Initiative (NCCI) now bundles them.
 
NCCI Edits, version 9.3, effective Oct. 1, 2003, through the end of the year, bundles 76830 (Ultrasound, transvaginal) into 76856 (Ultrasound, pelvic [nonobstetric], B-scan and/or real time with image documentation; complete) because it is considered standard medical practice. You should report only the abdominal approach in most cases. The new edits also bundle 76830 into 76857 (... limited or follow-up [e.g., for follicles]) because the limited ultrasound is the more extensive procedure.
 
Medicare has indicated that you can bypass these edits with a modifier such as -59 (Distinct procedural service). For example, you would have to perform transvaginal ultrasound for a different reason - such as viewing a different anatomic structure like the cervix. If you use both the transvaginal and complete or limited ultrasound to view the same structures at different angles, you would not meet the definition of modifier -59 - that is, different session, different patient encounter, different incision or excision, different organ or site, separate lesion, or separate injury. X-Ray Codes Bundled by Family NCCI 9.3 also bundles four x-ray codes (73140, 73660, 73560 and 73562) into their related anatomic components (73120-73130, 73620 and 73565). When your radiologist performs the x-rays on separate sides, Medi-care permits you to override the edits with a modifier.   
 
You can no longer separately report a finger x-ray (73140, Radiologic examination, finger[s], minimum of two views) with a hand exam (73120, Radiologic examination, hand; two views; 73130, ... minimum of three views) on the same extremity.
 
These edits make sense, says Patricia Davis, CPC, business office supervisor and radiology x-ray technician at Middlesex Health System Primary Care in Middletown, Ct., because the hand x-ray shows all five fingers. "So no reason exists to perform a hand and finger x-ray on the same hand," she says.
 
For instance, a new patient who recently took up boxing complains of finger and hand pain on his right hand. The physician orders a hand x-ray with three views. In this case, you shouldn't unbundle the finger x-ray (73140) from the hand x-ray (73130), Davis says, because the hand x-ray includes views of the fingers. NCCI uses the same rationale to bundle a two-view hand x-ray (73120) with a finger x-ray (73140).
 
When your practice performs the finger x-ray on a different anatomic site from the hand exam, you should use modifier -59 to indicate that you performed the x-rays on separate extremities. "When NCCI bundles two [...]