Medical Billing Bone Marrow – What Code to Use?

Medical Billing Bone Marrow – What Code to Use?


Q: This is more a billing question. If the
doctor performs at the hospital, as an outpatient procedure a bone marrow which is code 38221,
can he add an E/M code along with a modifier 25? This is a Medicare established patient.
He is
a hematologist/oncologist. A: The code we are speaking about in the code
descriptor is 38221 which is bone marrow; biopsy, needle or trocar. A needle is inserted
through the skin and advanced until the bone is actually penetrated. Then, a small chip
of bone marrow is removed for biopsy by a trocar needle. This code can be used only once a day. There
are a few times when you would need to do it more
than once a day, but it is a once a day code. I want to talk about modifier 25 a bit and
I’ve learned so much about modifier 25 through the
Blitz videos with Laureen, but it is a global package modifier. It’s used if there is
an E/M on the same day as the procedure and that E/M is
for a significant, separate service. You can’t use it as a
modifier for an E/M for a decision to perform surgery. This is not happening here for a scenario
where the patient is coming into the hospital to have an
outpatient procedure done. When a patient does go into the hospital for that, usually
an E/M is not performed. You don’t usually put an
E/M on an outpatient procedure. It’s just not usually
done, because if the doctor comes in and sees you before the procedure usually he is just
looking, “OK, everything is cool.” It doesn’t constitute an E/M. If the doctor came in and he looked at you
and you were having some kind of reaction that didn’t
seem normal or you were sick or your temperature was 105, he may need, at that point, to
evaluate you. If he does, then of course he can be paid for that, because it’s a separate
thing. He’s looking at, “What’s going on right
now and maybe we shouldn’t be doing this procedure
today.” In that case you can use that procedure. Basically, procedures do have built into them
a quick overview of the day of the procedure, but like I said if there’s a huge worsening
of symptoms or they’re having new symptoms then that is another issue when we could use
it. The main question remains, “Was a separate
identifiable E/M service necessary and performed?” If the doctor just came in and said, “Hey,
you are good to go for the procedure today,” then it’s included in the global package.
Remember, the global package includes preop, the procedure, and postop.
If the person, the day of the surgery, had a situation going on like we said a big exacerbation
of symptoms or a problem that may interfere with the procedure, then an E/M would be warranted,
you would use your modifier 25. You have to be careful about billing too many E/M in a
day. Also, this procedure code can only be reported once a day.
Alicia: That’s all good stuff. Laureen: You did it. Awesome! Seems like modifier
-25 is coming up a lot tonight. Alicia: Yeah, really. I like that 105 temp,
yeah. Thanks, Dawn. Laureen: Thank you, Dawn. Another little thing
that I share with my students for modifier 25 and E/M to really visualize having a procedure
note and then a separate, significant E/M note. That’s what 25 is saying, so I’ll
say “You can’t bill an E/M unless you have a HEM,” meaning that you can clearly see
a history, exam, and medical decision making, then, you can feel comfortable reporting it
and not getting in trouble. Alicia: Dawn is the instructor and coach for
our billing course, and she is real savvy with billing, so I’ve asked her several questions
with billing. Thanks, Dawn. Dawn: Thank you, guys.

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