Health Information Management

Nostrils are paired body organs

APCs Insider, September 9, 2004

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QUESTION: Is it appropriate to append modifier -50, bilateral procedure, to CPT code 30901, control nasal hemorrhage, anterior, simple (limited cautery and/or packing) any method, when ED staff have to pack both nostrils? When coding for this procedure, is it required to assign either -LT (left side) or -RT (right side) for a single nostril that is packed?

ANSWER: The nares are a paired organ/body area, so CMS directs coders to assign specific anatomical modifiers -LT or -RT when only one naris is affected. If the physician documents anterior nasal hemorrhage in both nares, append modifier -50 to the procedure code and report as a single charge line item with unit of 1 in field locator (FL) 46.

CPT code 30902, control nasal hemorrhage bilateral, was deleted from the CPT manual in 1990. The current CPT book documents this deletion and, instead, instructs coders to report 30901 with the modifier -50.

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