X-rays are a common diagnostic tool in any orthopedic practice. For accurate X-ray coding you need to focus on the number of views instead of number of films and append the correct modifiers for bilateral views, distinct services, and repeat procedures.
Remember these tips before you finalize your claims:
- Count the Views, Identify Location
To document an X-ray, you should carefully read through the note to make sure which area was X-rayed and how many views were obtained. Also, read to know what was done to the patient after the X-ray.
Some of the necessary components of the X-rays interpretation include: indication(s) for examination, anatomic site studies, views taken, description of findings, impression or conclusion. More than one view is usually recommended for all bone and joint radiographs.
While reporting the document that contains lesser views, you should report the CPT code that describes lesser number of views. Simply stating that the X-rays of the elbow were taken and are negative for fracture, does not provide the correct information. Your document should clearly state that the orthopedist obtained the views and interpreted them. Films taken elsewhere outside the office of the orthopedist or reported by another physician cannot be coded for your surgeon. Always count views and not films. By coding the correct CPT codes such as 73080 (Radiologic examination, elbow; complete, minimum of 3 views) you can earn $34.31 for reporting and for reporting 73070 (Radiologic examination, elbow; 2 views) you can earn $28.54.
Example: 1) For a patient who fell on an outstretched hand and developed swelling in elbow, the orthopedist advised the AP and lateral view X-rays of the elbow to confirm a non-displaced medial epicondylar fracture....
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