Corporate Compliance

Tip: Using modifier -50

Compliance Monitor, September 7, 2005

Use modifier -50 to report bilateral procedures performed during the same session. The following are tips for using this modifier:

  • Report the appropriate five-digit code describing the first procedure

  • Identify that a second (bilateral) procedure has been performed by adding modifier -50 to the procedure code

  • Do not submit two line items to report a bilateral procedure

  • Do not use modifiers -LT and -RT to report bilateral surgical procedures-use modifier -50

  • Do not use a modifier to indicate an anatomical site location on the body if the narrative definition of the code indicates multiple occurrences

  • Modifier -50 can be used with radiology procedures

    The above tip is an excerpt from the book "Modifier Training Handbook for Hospital Billers and Coders," Copyright 2004 by HCPro, Inc. This book is an easy-to-use training guide for billers, coders, and their HIM supervisors and managers that's written in plain English and takes the confusion out of the appropriate use of hospital modifiers.