Query Tip: Be Careful Using Yes/No Query Format
Until recent years queries were not designed for questions that could be responded to in a yes/no fashion. Open-ended or multiple choice formats were generally accepted. In a February 2013 Practice Brief (updated 2016) titled “Guidelines for Achieving a Compliant Query Process,” AHIMA introduced the Yes/No query format.
Queries in a Yes/No format are limited to use in the four specific circumstances listed below. This format may not be used when only clinical indicators of a condition are present, but the diagnosis has not been documented in the health record.
- Present on admission determination
- Substantiating or further specifying a diagnosis that is already present in the health record with interpretation by a physician (i.e. findings in pathology, radiology, and other diagnostic report)
- Establishing a cause and effect relationship between documented conditions such as manifestation/etiology, complications, and conditions/diagnostic findings
- Resolving conflicting documentation from multiple practitioners
Yes/No queries would still contain clinical indicators that support the question being asked. The difference between this format and others commonly used would be in how the question is asked and the options listed for physician response.
The physician gives a final diagnosis of abdominal mass, but the pathology report indicates a finding of adenocarcinoma of the sigmoid colon. A query is necessary to confirm the etiology of the mass.
Question: Do you agree with the pathology report that the etiology of the abdominal mass is adenocarcinoma of the sigmoid colon?
Options for response:
- Unable to determine
Patient develops an abscess at the incision site of a recent hysterectomy. A query is necessary to establish a cause and effect relationship between the abscess and surgery.
Question: Is the abscess a complication related to the recent hysterectomy?
Options for response:
- Unable to determine
A limitation of the Yes/No query format is that it may leave the physician response open to interpretation. By not having the response specifically spelled out, the coder will have to carefully design the question to avoid misinterpretation. All it takes is a question that is not specific enough to make the response questionable and may lead to the need to requery for clarification.
The surgeon creates several serosal tears of the bowel during a tedious lysis of adhesions. These are repaired with simple sutures. A query is necessary to establish a cause and effect relationship that may represent a complication.
Question: Are the serosal tears of the bowel related to the lysis of adhesions?
With this question and response, the coder is left wondering if the serosal tears are a true complication of the surgery, or an incidental occurrence that would not be coded as a complication. It may be advisable in this situation to use a multiple choice format to differentiate between complication versus no complication. Another option is to reword the question: “Are the serosal tears considered a clinically significant complication of the lysis of adhesions?”
Coders will have to be careful in the use of the Yes/No query format and to make sure it is only used in the specified scenarios. It is up to the coder to determine which format – open ended, multiple choice or Yes/No fits his/her needs and preferences. Each format has limitations, but give the coder options to achieve the goal of complete and accurate documentation in the health record.
As with any query, the physician response needs to be included in the medical record. This may be in the form of the actual query form or as written documentation in the record.
The information contained in this query advice 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.
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).
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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 Improvement (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.
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We’re now at the second most common DRG with recommendations by HIA for 2019. Just to recap, HIA reviewed over 50,000 inpatient records in 2019. We are counting down to # 1. #2 DRG with the most recommendations during HIA reviews: DRG 872—Septicemia or severe sepsis w/o mechanical ventilation >96 hours w/o MCC.
In 2019, HIA reviewed over 50,000 inpatient records. Wow! That is a lot of records. Even with this large number of records, the DRG’s with recommendations are still the ones that coders typically see during audits. #3 DRG 190—Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with MCC.
In 2019, HIA reviewed over 50,000 inpatient records. Wow! That is a lot of records. Even with this large number of records, the DRG’s with recommendations are still the ones that coders typically see during audits. #4 is DRG 193—Simple pneumonia & pleurisy with MCC.
In 2019, HIA reviewed over 50,000 inpatient records. Wow! That is a lot of records. Even with this large number of records, the DRG’s with recommendations are still the ones that coders typically see during audits. #5 DRG with the most recommendations during HIA reviews : DRG 853—Infectious & Parasitic diseases with O.R. procedure with MCC