Emergency medicine coding and billing can be more than a little confusing, especially when updates and clarifications are happening practically every day. Take CMS for example. Recently, they released several important clarifications because there’s been some confusion and frustration regarding the codes in Chapter 20, External Causes of Morbidity (V, W, X, and Y codes), which will replace the current ICD-9-CM E-Code section.

According to CMS as reported in an article from American Association of Professional Coders, “the Official ICD-10-CM Guidelines (I.C.20) state that for any initial encounter from an illness or adverse effect, the codes found in this chapter should also be reported, along with the injury(ies) sustained. Many have asked if these codes in ICD-10-CM are required by all payers, as not all payers currently require the E-codes to be assigned in ICD-9-CM.” According to CMS, there will be no national stipulation for mandatory ICD-10-CM external cause code reporting. “If you do not report external cause codes for ICD-9-CM, you will not report external cause codes in ICD-10-CM unless a payer or state changes its current requirements.”

Usage of unspecified codes in ICD-10-CM also was addressed by CMS. Did you know there are about five times more specific codes in ICD-10-CM than in ICD-9-CM? And, yes, unspecified codes are still part of the code set. According to CMS, unspecified codes have acceptable, even necessary uses in ICD-10-CM.

Coding guidelines state that each encounter should be coded to the highest level of specificity known. CMS further comments that it is inappropriate to either select a specific code that is not supported by the medical record documentation or conduct medically unnecessary diagnostic testing in order to determine a more specific code. An unspecified code may be the most appropriate code to report when sufficient clinical information is not known or available to assign a more specific code.

It’s clear that special expertise is required in emergency medicine to save lives. What often isn’t as clear is the special expertise that’s also is required to preserve the life of your emergency medicine revenue cycle management for you and your medical group, especially during your ICD-10 transition. This isn’t expertise you find anywhere. It’s a niche specialization in emergency revenue cycle management provided by the ICD-10 and compliance experts, revMD.com.

revMD.com offers superior results in emergency medicine medical coding, billing and collections for splint/cast applications, bedside ultrasounds, critical care in the ED and critical care procedures, and observation status in the ED. For many years, revMD.com has successfully managed both non-physician and supervising physician billing emergency medicine’s revenue cycle management.

revMD.com is the results-proven alternative for physician medical billing, with a niche specialization in emergency coding and billing that generates unprecedented results and builds profitable medical practices. Leveraging a history of industry wide success spanning 26 years, revMD.com partners with medical practices throughout the U.S. to optimize revenue for hospital based and community based physicians. For more information, visit www.revmd.com.

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