A patient is admitted for brachytherapy due to cervical cancer. Intrauterine tandem and ovoids are placed and brachytherapy is provided. When coding encounters for brachytherapy, should code Z51.0, Encounter for antineoplastic radiation therapy, be assigned as the principal diagnosis, or should a code for the malignancy be assigned as the principal diagnosis? What is the appropriate code assignment for an encounter for brachytherapy due to cervical cancer?
Assign code C53.9, Malignant neoplasm of cervix uteri, unspecified, as the principal diagnosis for a patient who presents for brachytherapy due to cervical cancer.
Effective October 1, 2017, the Official Guidelines for Coding and Reporting, Section I.C.2 have been revised to clarify that code Z51.0, Encounter for antineoplastic radiation therapy, is intended for encounters for external beam radiation therapy. Further guidance has been added specifying that for admission/encounters for the insertion or implantation of radioactive elements (e.g., brachytherapy) sequence the appropriate code for the malignancy as the principal or first-listed diagnosis.