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Q&A: Acceptable documentation for HCCs

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Have CDI questions?

Q: What clinical documentation is acceptable to pull Hierarchical Condition Category (HCC) information from for reporting purposes? Would you code from history of present illness, past medical history, active problem list, or the assessment?

A: Follow the coding guidelines when reporting diagnosis codes for HCC purposes. The coding guidelines don’t change with HCCs. As long as the documentation meets the MEAT (monitored, evaluated, assessed, treated) criteria, it can be reported from anywhere in the note. [more]

Q&A: Reporting right-sided heart

SharmeBrodie_May2017

Sharme Brodie RN, CCDS, answered this week’s CDI question.

Q: If you have an acute exacerbation of a chronic right heart failure (CHF) with a preserved ejection fraction (EF)— above 55%—can you code it as heart failure with preserved EF? All the clinical symptoms are exemplifying right failure. For example, ascites, pronounced neck vein distension, swelling of ankles and feet, etc.

A: ICD-10-CM has codes associated with the documentation of right-sided failure and for left-sided failure. Each ventricle supplies different portions of the circulation, so heart failure can be described as either right or left depending on the symptoms. When the right ventricle fails, we call it right-heart failure. In this case, fluid backs up into the peripheral circulation, into the legs, head, and the liver. Right-sided or right ventricular (RV) heart failure usually occurs as a result of left-sided failure. [more]

CDI Week Q&A: CDI and Quality

Ignatowicz

Nancy Ignatowicz, RN, MBA, CCDS

As part of the seventh annual Clinical Documentation Improvement Week, ACDIS has conducted a series of interviews with CDI professionals on a variety of emerging industry topics. Nancy Ignatowicz, RN, MBA, CCDS, a remote/traveling CHI nurse with MedPartners, based in Bourbonnais, Illinois, and a member of the 2017 CDI Week Committee, answered these questions on CDI and quality. Contact her at nrmignatowicz@comcast.net.

Q: Can you describe the relationship of CDI to quality initiatives, and how CDI can make a difference?

A: CDI and quality can have a variety of relationships. For instance, CDI can offer concurrent notification of actual or potential issues to the quality department. CDI can assist with concurrent data collection and quality interventions. CDI queries can also address present on admission status, cause-and-effect relationships, surgical puncture/laceration specificity, risk of mortality, and severity of illness. For example, CDI can help capture pressure ulcers, catheter-associated urinary tract infections, pathological fractures (which may have been diagnosed intra/postoperatively), surgical lacerations integral to the procedure, and diagnoses that were present on admission but not previously identified in the documentation.

Q: Has reviewing for quality measures hindered your department’s “traditional” CDI chart reviews or overall productivity? [more]

Q&A: Denial management teams

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Have CDI questions?

Q: What guidance do you have for building a denial management team?

A: As with any team, it is important to have the right players working together with identified roles and responsibilities established for each. The members of the denials management team should be representative of departments with a direct tie to the various types of denials. Include the following groups: [more]

Q&A: Coding chronic kidney disease, hypertension, and diabetes mellitus

LauriePrescott_May 2017

Laurie L. Prescott, RN, MSN, CCDS, CDIP, answered this question

Q: Let’s say a provider documented chronic kidney disease (CKD), 2/2 hypertension (HTN), and diabetes mellitus (DM), and the stage of CKD was not specified, but lab results show patient was in stage 2. Could I assign codes for CKD, stage unspecified, Hypertensive CKD w/ stage 1-4, and Type II DM. Do I need to assign a separate code for HTN?

A: Let’s break down the documentation.

CKD secondary to HTN and DM: With this documentation, we have two combination codes to assign—hypertensive CKD and diabetic CKD. We would also assign a code to reflect the stage of the CKD.

[more]

Q&A: Electronic query formatting

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Have CDI questions?

Q: We use an electronic system at our hospital, and find it is difficult to query a physician since we all have our own processes. Would you recommend having a set format for a query that is used electronically?

A: This is going to be contingent on the system your facility uses.

Some EHRs have pretty complex platforms that will allow you to build templates and write a narrative. Here you would write your question, provide all of the appropriate details, and there would be a more formatted, outlined section below where the individual leaving the query can populate the form within that template.

[more]

Q&A: Documenting excisions in dermatologic settings

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Q: I work in dermatology and need to know what documentation is required for excisions. We are struggling with getting paid.

A: In dermatology, you often find vague documentation like “lesion” and “mass.” So the physician needs to be much more graphic as far as whether the lesion is red, itchy, scratchy, burning, and/or abnormally sized. If you can get the actual size of a lesion or a mass that they are going to excise, they also need to document the size of the excision.

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Q&A: Missing documentation for acute kidney injury

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Ask ACDIS all your CDI questions!

Q: We are currently coding a chart for an acute kidney injury which has the baseline serum creatinine and urine output missing from the chart. Is there something we can do to identify additional information before we have to query the physician?

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TBT: Primary, principal, and secondary diagnoses

ask ACDISQ: Sometimes I confuse the secondary diagnosis for the primary diagnosis. Do you have any tips for me to help me discern better?

A: This question touches on several concepts essentially at the core of CDI practices. I think you are confusing three definitions:

  1. Primary diagnosis
  2. Principal diagnosis
  3. Secondary diagnosis

Let’s take each of these individually.

[more]

Q&A: Rejections for claims for removing impacted cerumen

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Ask ACDIS

Q: We have started receiving rejections for ED claims when the service involves removing impacted cerumen. We are reporting CPT® code 69209 (removal impacted cerumen using irrigation/lavage, unilateral) for each ear, and the documentation supports the irrigation/lavage rather than the physician removing the impaction with instruments. Our claims just started getting rejected in April. 

A: While your question doesn’t specify, it appears that you may be billing this with one line for the left ear with modifier -LT and one line for the right ear with modifier -RT. This code is included in the surgical section of CPT and correct coding requires that this be reported with modifier -50 for a bilateral procedure. In fact, there is a specific parenthetical note that states “For bilateral procedure, report 69209 with modifier -50”. 

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