Health Information Management

Clarifying casting and strapping

APCs Insider, February 25, 2005

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

Clarifying casting and strapping

Question: Coders at our facility continue to struggle with the definitions of strapping and casting. Could you provide further explanation? How do we code for the application of a soft boot or una boot, arm sling, or knee immobilizer?

Answer: Here are definitions of splinting, strapping, and casting that may prove helpful:

· Casting is the immobilization of an affected joint.  It is a labor-intensive process, requires training, and is essentially a fabrication of a specialized, customized device that is molded to a specific patient.

· Strapping is customized reinforcement and support for ligament structures through restriction of movement for increased stabilization. It requires specialized knowledge not only of the anatomical structures being strapped, but also of the method of applying the strap for the best support of these structures.

Note:  Casting/strapping procedures are incidental to fracture or dislocation treatment (closed or open reduction of a fracture). Do not separately report casting and strapping procedures with fracture/dislocation treatment codes.

· Splinting is the application of an appliance made of wood, metal, plastic, or plaster. These appliances are used for fixation, union, or protection of an injured part of the body.

Techniques for post-op boot, sling, ace bandage, and air cast application typically do not rise to the level of skill and knowledge required of casting, strapping, or splinting.

Note: Applying a sling is a first-aid technique, as is a normal Ace bandage application. Therefore, do not code the application of the following materials: Post-op shoe, sling, Ace bandage, or air cast. These are considered supplies, so report them as supply items, not as casting or strapping services.

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

    Briefings on APCs
  • Briefings on APCs

    Worried about the complexities of the new rules under OPPS and APCs? Briefings on APCs helps you understand the new rules...

  • HIM Briefings

    Guiding Health Information Management professionals through the continuously changing field of medical records and toward a...

  • Briefings on Coding Compliance Strategies

    Submitting improper Medicare documentation can lead to denial of fees, payback, fines, and increased diligence from payers...

  • Briefings on HIPAA

    How can you minimize the impact of HIPAA? Subscribe to Briefings on HIPAA, your health information management resource for...

  • APCs Insider

    This HTML-based e-mail newsletter provides weekly tips and advice on the new ambulatory payment classifications regulations...

Most Popular