Health Information Management

Code laceration repair and splint code together

APCs Insider, January 7, 2005

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Code laceration repair and splint code together

Q: How do you code a case that involves a patient who goes to the ED for a laceration repair at the end of his/her finger, and then a physician applies a splint due to a fracture? Is it okay to code the splint because it is directed toward the fracture care and not the laceration repair?

A: There are two questions you should ask before arriving at the answer to this question. The first is:

 Is the splint for treatment of a separate incision/excision, separate lesion, or separate injury (or area of injury in extensive injuries) not ordinarily encountered or performed on the same day by the same physician?

The answer is yes. The laceration code is for the repair of the injury to the end of his finger.

The splint code is for the fracture of the bone of that same finger; therefore it is a separate injury. The second question is:

 Is this an initial service performed without restorative treatment or procedures to stabilize or protect a fracture, injury, or dislocation/to afford pain relief to a patient?

The answer appears to be yes.

If the answer to both of these questions truly is yes, then you should code the laceration repair along with the splint code, 29130. Apply modifier -59 to show that it was to treat a separately identifiable injury.

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