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.
Coding these can be challenging for coders when trying to decipher the operative notes and terms that are used. The physicians are still using the terms excision and resection interchangeably and review of the entire operative note is required to select the appropriate root operation. Remember, it is the coder’s responsibility to determine the root operation based on the details from the physician in the operative report.
This would be considered a “mechanical” complication of the stent graft since the MD states it is a fracture of the endograft and it is folded over on itself. I would change T82.898A TO T82.598A for Other mechanical complication of other cardiac and vascular devices and implants, initial encounter. I did not use “displacement” because the surgeon did not state that the graft was displaced, only that it collapsed upon itself causing obstruction.
We interviewed our most productive coders and reviewers, asking them what steps they take to find a rhythm that works for them. This week, we talked with Valerie Abney, CDIP, RHIT, CCS, about the steps she takes to find her routine.
Osteoporosis alone is responsible for over a million fractures every year. Stress fractures are not as common but they do occur. There are more than 1 million total joint replacements in the U.S. each year, so there was a need to create codes for injuries that occur around or near the prosthesis. These are called “periprosthetic” fractures.
Back in April, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) published a report detailing its findings from a review of two groups of high-risk diagnosis codes, acute stroke and major depressive disorder. The objective was to determine whether selected diagnosis codes submitted to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for use in CMS’s risk adjustment program complied with Federal requirements.
There seems to be differences of opinions on the issue of a 40w0day gestation Can you clarify if P08.21 should be assigned for 40w0day infant or if it would not be assigned unless the infant’s gestation age was 40w1day or greater?
Coders may find situations where a patient is documented as meeting SIRS or sepsis criteria, or has some clinical indicators reflective of possible sepsis, but the physician never documents sepsis as a diagnosis. Should the coder always query for sepsis in these instances?
In this example, would it be appropriate to code the complication code T82.03XA, Leakage of heart valve prosthesis, initial encounter as the principal diagnosis over the HFpEF (heart failure exacerbation) code?
We interviewed our most productive coders and reviewers, asking them what steps they take to find a rhythm that works for them. This week, we talked with Kerry Atkins, CDIP, CCS‑P, COC, CPC, CPCO, CPMA, CEMC, COBGC, RMB, Physician Services Consultant at HIA, about the steps she takes to find her routine.
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.
With the implementation of ICD-10-PCS more codes were developed in order to accurately report procedures. Spinal fusion coding is still a problematic coding issue and at times, even a coder’s nightmare. Coders often report only the code for the fusion thinking that one code would include all of the other procedures that are performed.
Answer: I would code 0HPT0NZ for removal of tissue expander from right breast, open and change 0HPT0JZ, removal of synthetic substitute from right breast, open, for removal of the acellular dermal matrix to 0HPT0KZ, Removal of nonautologous tissue substitute from right breast, open approach.
There are certain conditions that have instructional notes in the ICD-10-CM tabular/coding conventions that guide the coder in sequencing. This is especially true when the condition has a common manifestation or underlying conditions of a chronic disease. If there is a “code first” note in the tabular, the coder should follow this instruction and sequence the underlying etiology or chronic condition first followed by the manifestation as an additional diagnosis.
When it comes to coding and documentation, finding your own rhythm can lead to positive results. For our series, Find Your Routine, we interviewed our most productive coders and reviewers and asked them what steps they take to find a rhythm that works for them. This week, we talked with Meghan Schumacher, CPC, CPMA, Provider Coding Consultant at Health Information Associates, Inc., about the steps she takes to find her routine.
Last year, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) performed an investigation that found, “between 2014 and 2016, Medicare Advantage organizations overturned 75% of their preauthorization and payment denials upon appeal,” which is why, at HIA, we always advise our clients to engage in the appeals process.
There may be instances where a coder will suspect the patient has acute kidney injury (AKI), but the physician has failed to document the diagnosis. In another scenario, the physician may have made the diagnosis, but there is a question of clinical validity. In either case, a query would be justified.
Changes to CC/MCC designations included in the proposal could have a potentially dramatic effect on casemix. The presence of a major complication or comorbidity (MCC) or complication or comorbidity (CC) generally is representative of a patient that requires more resources.
How many times have you heard “it only takes one code to get the claim paid”? With the emphasis on the severity of illness and the move toward value-based reimbursement in today’s healthcare climate, it is more important than ever for coders to report all applicable diagnoses. There are three important pieces: what the provider documents, how to the coder interprets that documentation and codes it, and then how it is extrapolated.
The reimbursement landscape is already a complicated one – and the highly-complex claims denials process only adds fuel to the fire. A denied claim is one that has been determined by a payor to be in appropriate. Once a coding specialist amends the errors on a rejected claim, they can resubmit it for consideration. The time-intensive process has a significant impact on the cash flow for any setting in the healthcare environment. They are also very costly to appeal.
When a practitioner documents a diagnosis that does not appear to be supported by the clinical indicators in the health record, a coder has four choices: (1) Code the diagnosis; (2) Ignore the diagnosis; (3) Generate a query to confirm clinical validation of a diagnosis; (4) Follow the facility’s escalation policy for clinical validation.
A California-based healthcare services provider and several of its affiliates have agreed to pay $30 million to resolve allegations they submitted inaccurate information about the health status of beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage Plans, according to the Department of Justice.
Happy National Volunteer Week! This week we celebrate the impact volunteer work has on building stronger communities. We know that our staff have a positive impact while they’re on the job, and we are proud to share a few ways our #PeopleBehindTheNumbers are taking time to volunteer in their own local communities.
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When it comes to coding and documentation, finding your own rhythm can lead to positive results. For our series, Find Your Routine, we interviewed our most productive coders and asked them what steps they take to find a rhythm that works for them. This week, we talked with Zahra Ghahremani, CCS, Coding Specialist at Health Information Associates, about the steps she takes to find her routine.
All queries require at least two elements – clinical indicators and a query question. Coders can also include multiple choice options for response or leave the query open-ended for a free text response. The order in which these elements are listed in a query is open to coder or facility preference.
Giving back is an important part of the HIA mission. Each year, HIA employees take a consensus and choose three National charities to support. Individuals can volunteer a portion of their wages to one of the three organizations. HIA Corporate will match each individual donation up to five dollars. We are proud to share with you our 2018 contribution totals combined with HIA matching funds.
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When it comes to coding and documentation, finding your own rhythm can lead to positive results. For our series, Find Your Routine, we interviewed our most productive coders and asked them what steps they take to find a rhythm that works for them. This week, we talked with Donna Cowan, RHIT, CCS, Coding Specialist at Health Information Associates, about the steps she takes to find her routine.