Don’t let an incomplete superbill damage your chances of submitting an accurate claim. If the doctor in your office fails to indicate the ICD-9 code for the condition that he treated, you should read through his documentation to find which diagnoses you should report.
Open the Notes When You Have to — and Even When You Don’t
Suppose your physician hands you a superbill with the procedures circled and the diagnosis left blank.
You could ask the physician which diagnosis to report, or you could examine the documentation yourself. If your office has a policy that includes “coding by abstraction” by certified/qualified coders, then submitting charges based on what is supported (documented) in the note is appropriate, says Barbara J. Cobuzzi, MBA, CPC, CPCH,CPC-P, CENTC, CHCC, with CRN Healthcare Solutions in Tinton Falls, N.J. The physician should be signing off on these charges as part of your internal policy.
Some practices choose to review the documentation and compare it against any diagnoses recorded on the superbill, even when they aren’t required to. This ensures that the documentation matches the code selection every time.
When in Doubt, Confirm With the Physician
If you are new at coding diagnoses from the physician’s notes, you should doublecheck your code selections with the practitioners before submitting your claims.
“Until a coder feels comfortable with the ICD-9 books and the codes used more often in their office, it’s a good idea to run the choices by a clinician,” says Suzan Berman, CPC, CEMC, CEDC, senior manager of coding and compliance with the Physician Services Division of UPMC in Pittsburgh. “You never want to give a patient a disease or symptom they don’t have ” or one more...
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