You report bunionectomies day in and day out, but the vast number of terms and procedures related to the big toe joint can bend lots of coders out of shape.
Read these expert answers to the common bunion coding problems to keep your coding on the straight and narrow.
What is a bunion?
A bunion is an enlargement of bone or tissue around the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint of the first metatarsal and first toe, explains Arnold Beresh, DPM, CPC, of Peninsula Foot and Ankle Specialists PLC in Hampton, Va. It often becomes a problem in patients who wear shoes that are too narrow around the toe box, and this can cause pain and deformity of the toes.
Question #1: There are over 100 “named” bunionectomy procedures, and only seven codes for the correction of hallux valgus. What terms should a coder look for to help determine which hallux valgus procedure code the procedure in question most closely resembles? Can we use the unlisted-procedure code?
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Answer: Unfamiliar terms describing a bunionectomy should not send you scrambling for an unlisted-procedure code—it’s easy to code an unknown bunionectomy if you know the key terms associated with each bunionectomy code.
Do not use a code if it contains any terms or procedures that the podiatrist did not do, even if it otherwise perfectly...
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