Coding & Quality Measures: The Code Hard Truth
In this current, ever-changing healthcare climate, health systems face many challenges. Facilities large and small must be dedicated to improving documentation and reducing complications, HACs, infection rates, and readmissions as they endeavor towards value-based care.
Coding inaccuracies can really undermine progress.
Here’s some examples:
- There’s no “one size fits all” code for HACs. In the case of UTI, coders must first explore the medical record to determine if the infection was present on admission. Next, they must ask was the infection related to a catheter inserted in the hospital? Or was it unrelated to the catheter insertion? Ultimately, if the documentation is unclear and the physician is not properly queried, the probability for an inaccurately coded UTI increases dramatically.
- When a postoperative complication such as acute respiratory failure is assigned incorrectly, it can really put a chokehold on your facility’s quality measures. Some patients take longer than others to postoperatively wean from a vent depending on several factors. Experienced coders know to examine the record for documented clinical indicators supporting acute postprocedural respiratory failure before assigning that code to a patient who is simply taking more time to wean from the vent. To do so would be indicating that PSI11 was met.
- In cases of an intraoperative laceration of a digestive system organ, for example, coders must first be able to determine whether a rent or laceration was an expected result of a procedure or if it was unintended or an accident. Also, did the physician document the rent or laceration as a complication? It’s imperative that the coder read, understand and interpret the entire operative note for the codes to reflect the whole story.
- Imagine the following 30-day Mortality scenario: a Medicare patient is admitted to ICU with severe shortness of breath. The physician has documented “probable pneumonia, rule out PE” on the admission note. The history and physical reveals the patient had just finished oral antibiotics from outpatient treatment. However, the patient was admitted at this time for pulmonary embolism. At the end of the second day, the patient expires from the pulmonary embolism during his/her stay in the hospital. There is no further documentation of pneumonia in the record. In this case the difference between assigning J18.9, Pneumonia NOS or I26.99, Pulmonary Embolus as the principal diagnosis can trigger the 30-day mortality measure for patients admitted for pneumonia. An experienced coder knows to assign the PE code as the principal diagnosis and omit the code for Pneumonia NOS since the record states the patient was admitted for PE and there was no further documentation of Pneumonia.
- When a postoperative complication such as blood loss following joint replacement is assigned incorrectly, it can really drain your facility’s quality measures. A good example is a case where a patient requires a transfusion during a routine hip replacement and subsequently presents with symptoms of post hemorrhagic anemia. The experienced coder knows a certain amount of blood loss is expected during a routine arthroplasty. Incorrectly assigning code M96.830, Postprocedural hemorrhage of a musculoskeletal structure, without supporting documentation from the surgeon, could trigger Medicare’s Hospital Compare quality measure “Complication rate for hip/knee replacement patients”, as well as, AHRQ PSI 09, “Perioperative Hemorrhage or Hematoma Rate.” Proper assignment would be one code, D62 “Acute post hemorrhagic anemia” if the surgeon did not note problematic post-surgical bleeding in the medical record.
The Code Hard Truth
Coding inaccuracies like these can not only directly impact a healthcare facility’s quality measures, but also its bottom line.
HIA’s mantra is every code counts. Our comprehensive review service validates each and every code, all DRG/APC assignments and identifies educational opportunities for coders, CDI specialists and providers alike.
Don’t let imprecise coding infect your progress.
The information contained in this post is valid at the time of posting. Viewers are encouraged to research subsequent official guidance in the areas associated with the topic as they can change rapidly.
In the past, there had been an Excludes1 note at I46.- Cardiac arrest that excluded R57.0, Cardiac shock. HIA had also received a letter from AHA on a case in the past that had stated that only I46.- Cardiac arrest would be coded if both were documented. In addition, the Third Quarter Coding Clinic page 26 had a similar case that asked if both could be coded, and AHA had instructed that only I46.9, cardiac arrest, cause unspecified would be coded if both were documented and that the CDC would be looking at possible revision to the Excludes1 note.
A higher CMI corresponds to increased consumption of resources and increased cost of patient care, resulting in increased reimbursement to the facility from government and private payers, like CMS. We know that documentation directly impacts coding.
Lately we have seen several cases where the endarterectomy was assigned along with the coronary artery bypass (CABG) procedure when being performed on the same vessel to facilitate the CABG. A coronary artery endarterectomy is not always performed during a CABG procedure, so when it is performed it becomes confusing as to whether to code it separately or not.
Assign code Z20.828, “Contact with and (suspected) exposure to other viral communicable diseases” for all patients who are tested for COVID-19 and the results are negative, regardless of symptoms, no symptoms, exposure or not as we are in a pandemic.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced new procedure codes for treatments of COVID-19 – effective as of August 1, 2020. Among the new codes are Section X New Technology codes for the introduction or infusion of therapeutics including Remdesivir, Sarilumab, Tocilizumab, transfusion of convalescent plasma, as well as introduction of any other or new therapeutic substances for the treatment of COVID-19.
One common element in many value-based programs is risk adjustment using Hierarchical Condition Categories (HCCs) to create a Risk Adjustment Factor (RAF) score. This method ranks diagnoses into categories that represent conditions with similar cost patterns.
Why are so many AKI records being denied? It’s hard to give one answer for why so many AKI records are being denied lately, but most appear to be due to the multiple sets of criteria available for use in determining if a patient has AKI, as well as physician documentation. As stated in Part 3 of this series, there are three main criteria/classifications used to diagnose AKI.
In previous parts of this series we looked at the definitions of AKI/ARF, causes, coding and sequencing, and the common clinical indicators that patients present with that are diagnosed with this condition. In Part 4, we will look at the documentation that should be present to report the diagnosis without fear of denial, as well as when a query is needed to clarify the diagnosis.
If the facility does a COVID-19 test, and test is negative, do I need a diagnosis code. The answer is yes, you will report a Z-code. The Z-code depends on the record documentation and circumstances of testing. For any patient receiving a COVID-19 test, if negative, there MUST e a Z-code to describe why the test was taken. (Test negative for COVID-19 and MD does not override negative results).
In the first parts of this series we looked at definitions of AKI/ARF, causes, coding and sequencing. In Part 3, we will look at what clinical indicators would possibly be present to support the diagnosis of AKI/ARF.
The FY2021 IPPS Proposed Rule is out and here are some highlights from it regarding ICD-10 Code proposals. We will know if these changes are permanent after the public comment period is over on July 10, 2020 and CMS prepares the Final Rule, usually out by August 1.
As discussed in Part 1 of this series, AKI/ARF is a common diagnosis that coders see daily. In Part 2, we are going to focus on the different types/specificity of AKI/ARF. We’ll learn what they mean, as well as how to code the diagnosis.
This is part 1 in a series focused on coding of acute kidney injury (AKI) and/or acute renal failure (ARF). AKI/ARF is reported often, but is also one of the most common diagnosis found in denials.
With the proliferation of COVID-19 cases, we thought we would put together a quick reference listing of some of the common scenarios that coders have asked about. As with all coding, coders should follow Official Guidelines for Coding and Reporting and the COVD-19 Frequently Asked Questions document by the AHA.
Effective March 1, Medicare will pay physicians for telehealth services at the same rate as in-person visits for all diagnoses, not just services related to COVID-19. This great for providers whose patients are reluctant to visit the office.
The biggest reasons why some hospital systems are moving to single path coding is to eliminate duplicative processes and to optimize productivity. In addition, costs are reduced when only one coder “touches” the record and completes both types of coding.
Effective with 4/1/2020 discharges, ICD-10-CM code U07.0 is used to report vaping -related disorders. ICD-10-CM code U07.0 (vaping related disorder) should be used when documentation supports that the patient has a lung-related disorder from vaping. This code is found in the new ICD-10-CM Chapter 22. U07.0 will be in listed in the ICD-10-CM manual under a new section: Provisional assignment of new disease of uncertain etiology or emergency use.
The US government and public-health officials are urging consumers to utilize telemedicine for remote treatment, fill prescriptions and get medical attention during the new coronavirus pandemic. The goal is to keep people with symptoms at home and to practice social distancing if their condition doesn’t warrant more intensive hospital care.
Coronavirus: Tips for working from home. Companies around the world have told their employees to stay home and work remotely. Whether you’re a new to this concept or a work from home veteran, here’s some tips to staying productive from our #HIAfamily.
This is the final part of a three part series in which we address how coders can better interact with Clinical Documentation Improvement (CDI) professionals. In this part, we provide an actual example of an effective communication response to CDI.
This is part two of a three part series in which we address how coders can better interact with Clinical Documentation Improvement (CDI) professionals. In this part, we discuss mismatches and how to best go about resolving them. In part three we will provide a case example of best practice interaction.
This is part one of a three part series in which we address how coders can better interact with Clinical Documentation Integrity (CDI) professionals. Many times these departments are separate and the remote environment makes it difficult to interact efficiently between the two departments. In part one, we will discuss the history and objectives of CDI so the coder has a better understanding of CDI’s role.
One reason that coders should report chronic conditions (including history and status codes) on outpatient records is the HCC’s—Hierarchical Condition Categories. The quick and easy explanation of what HCC’s are is each HCC is mapped to certain ICD-10-CM codes or code ranges. HCC coding is designed to estimate future health care costs for patients.
For Part 4 of this 5-part series, we will look at Chapter 10 within ICD-10-CM—J00-J99—Diseases of the Respiratory System. There is no possible way to include every guideline or coding reference for this chapter, but here are some of the most common issues.
For Part 3 of this 5 part series, we will look at Chapter 9 within ICD-10-CM—I00-I99—Diseases of the Circulatory System. This chapter contains so many of the everyday diagnoses that we code such as hypertension, heart disease and stroke.
For Part 2 of this 5-part series, we will look at Chapter 1 within ICD-10-CM—A00-B99—Certain Infectious and Parasitic Diseases. There is no possible way to include every guideline or coding reference for this chapter, but here are some of the most common issues.
For Part 1 of this 5-part series, we will look at Chapter 21 within ICD-10-CM—Z00-Z99—Factors influencing health status and contact with health services. There is no possible way to include every guideline or coding reference for this chapter, but I’ll do my best to touch on some off the most common issues.
The HIM world has been buzzing recently with discussion of “Social Determinants of Health” and coded data. What does this mean for coders and the HIM field?
In response to the recent occurrences of vaping related disorders and in consultation with the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the WHO Family of International Classifications (WHOFIC) Network Classification and Statistics Advisory Committee (CSAC) was convened to discuss a diagnosis code for vaping related illness for immediate use.