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Procedure Coding Q&A

HCPro Coder Connection, September 9, 2003


1. Yes, code 29280 is available for buddy taping of fingers and code 29550 is available for toes. According to the notes in this section of CPT, these codes are appropriate when the physician provides the initial service and no other procedure or treatment is performed. CPT also states that these codes can be used in addition to an evaluation and management (E/M) code.

2. It depends on whether the rib is fractured. If the rib is fractured and closed treatment (no open treatment) is performed, code 21800 is appropriate. A rib belt may or may not be applied based on the location of the fracture and the extent to which the patient's movement must be limited.

Assignment of code 21800 to a non-fractured rib is inappropriate. Application of a rib belt for other reasons than fracture would be coded with a supply code (L0210, thoracic rib belt) and any appropriate E/M code for the service provided.

3. To identify them the most accurately, code the following: 73721-RT,
73721-LT, 73721-RT-59, 73721-LT-59

CPT Assistant from July 2001 states, "For bilateral MRI, the code for the specific imaging should be listed twice on the claim form since modifier -50 is not applicable for use with the radiology procedure (70000 series) codes. There are other modifiers to designate separately identifiable procedures (such as -59, distinct procedure/separate service). The use of specific modifiers is carrier-dependent. Therefore, it is recommended that you check with your carrier or other third-party payer for their reporting policy."

This week's HCProCoder Connection was adapted from Coding Q&A, a monthly supplement to Briefings on Coding Compliance Strategies.