Health Information Management

Q/A: Can we report a chest x-ray done before ET tube placement?

APCs Insider, August 2, 2013

Want to receive articles like this one in your inbox? Subscribe to APCs Insider!

Q: Last week, you said that a modifier should not be used when a chest x-ray is done to check the placement of the endotracheal (ET) tube (CPT® code 31500).   What if the chest x-ray was done prior to the emergency intubation and for another reason? For example, the patient has trauma from a car accident and they are doing a chest x-ray to evaluate any trauma to the chest area. Can we report that chest x-ray with a modifier?

A: In the circumstances you note, the physician ordered the chest x-ray for a medically necessary reason that was not related to the emergency intubation.

 In this case, the chest x-ray was separate and distinct from the emergency intubation procedure, and you should report it with a modifier. As always, ensure that the documentation in the record supports the services being reported.

Editor’s note: Andrea Clark, RHIA, CCS, CPCH, chairman, CEO, and founder of Health Revenue Assurance Associates, Inc., in Plantation, Fla., answered this question.



Want to receive articles like this one in your inbox? Subscribe to APCs Insider!

Most Popular