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Radiology Coding Alert

Reader Questions: Select 70551-70553 for MRI and IAC

- Published on Wed, Jun 22, 2005
Question: Is there any way to code for both IAC and brain MRI in the same session and get paid for both?

Wyoming Subscriber
Answer: In short - probably not. The AMA says that you can report two brain MRIs (70551-70553) if you do scans of both the brain and the internal auditory canals (IACs). Snag: In order to code both studies, you need separate and distinct exams with separate and distinct indications. Just doing a few additional sequences of the IACs doesn't warrant coding an additional exam. And even if the exams meet the criteria for separate reporting, odds are the payer will deny the second service anyway.

Caution: Some practices report MRI, orbit, face, and neck codes 70540, 70542 and 70543 for the IAC and have separate documentation for the IAC. Unless your payer specifically tells you to report IACs this way, stick to the AMA guidance.

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