If provider documentation only indicates "respiratory distress" may the coder assign a code for either Type I or Type II respiratory distress syndrome of a newborn based on the length of time it takes for the condition to resolve? For example, Coding Clinic November-December 1986, page 6, and First Quarter 1989, page 10, provided timeframes for newborn respiratory distress.
Do not assign a code for Type I or Type II respiratory distress syndrome of a newborn based on the length of time it takes for respiratory distress to resolve. If the provider indicates "respiratory distress of newborn," code 770.89 is assigned. Codes are not assigned for respiratory distress syndrome/type I (769) or transitory tachypnea of newborn/type II (770.6) unless the provider specifically documents these conditions.
Code assignment is on the basis of provider documentation. The information published in Coding Clinic should not be used as clinical criteria for code assignment. Any clinical information published in Coding Clinic is provided as background material to aid the coder. It is not intended to replace the need for specific provider documentation to substantiate code assignment.