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Can You Code ‘Buddy Taping’ Separately?

Posted on 06. Jan, 2009 by in Coding Challenge, Hot Coding Topics

Question: An established patient complains of pain in her left index finger. A nonphysician practitioner (NPP) examines the affected digit, diagnoses a mild sprain, and tapes it to the patient’s left middle finger. Can you report 29280 for this encounter?

Answer: The NPP’s actions do not constitute strapping in most payer’s eyes, so leave 29280 (Strapping; hand or finger) off the claim. When a provider “buddy tapes” one finger to another, you should consider this an E/M service, most of the time. If you have any doubt about the payer’s strapping procedures, check with the carrier before filing the claim.

Do this: When choosing an E/M code, consider all the NPP’s actions during the encounter, including the buddy taping. So if the notes for the entire visit indicate a level-two service, report 99212 (Office or other outpatient visit for the evaluation and management of an established...

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