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3 Pulmonary Diagnosis Coding Tips

Posted on 20. Jul, 2009 by in Hot Coding Topics

Remember to focus on acute conditions & exacerbations.

Correctly reporting asthma, bronchitis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) depends on the internist’s documentation and the patient’s medical record. Making sure the documentation supports the patient’s diagnosis and that you code for any associated acute conditions will ensure that you’re correctly reporting pulmonary diagnoses.

1. Look to 493 for Asthma With COPD

One condition that can be associated with asthma is COPD. You can find all of the asthma codes in the 493 category of the ICD-9 codes. When your physician diagnoses both COPD and asthma together, you’ll refer to his documentation in the medical record to settle on a code. The three asthma codes you’ll choose from are:

• 493.20 — Chronic obstructive asthma; unspecified

• 493.21 — … with status asthmaticus

• 493.22 — … with (acute) exacerbation.

Note: Most payers don’t like unspecified codes such as 493.20,...

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