Health Information Management

Coding an infected lumbar wound

HIM-HIPAA Insider, March 3, 2009

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Q: I report ICD-9 code 876.1 for an infected lumbar wound. However, when I report this code, the insurance company will not process the claim without an accident date. What code should I report when the wound did not as the result of an accident but was instead due to a back surgery (e.g., lumbar laminectomy)? Is there another code that I should report that does not require an accident date?

A: ICD-9 code 876.1 denotes an open wound of back, complicated, indicating a current acute injury rather than a wound infection. This is why the payer requires an accident date. When the infected wound follows lumbar laminectomy, report ICD-9-CM code 998.59, posteropative wound infection.

Editor’s note: Paula Archer, RHIA, managing consultant at BKD, LLP, in Little Rock, AR, answered this question, which originally appeared in the February issue of Briefings on Coding Compliance Strategies



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