tci General Surgery Coding Alert - 2014 Issue 2

Reader Question: Place of Service Guides Modifier Choice

Question: A patient with interstitial lung disease reported for a bronchial alveolar lavage procedure so the surgeon could collect specimens for cellular analysis. The patient was prepped and moderate sedation administered, but the procedure was halted due to patient dyspnea. We billed the procedure with modifier 53, but the Medicare payer states that this is an invalid modifier for this service. How should we bill the case? California Subscriber Answer: The correct code for the procedure is 31624 (Bronchoscopy, rigid or flexible, including fluoroscopic guidance, when performed; with bronchial alveolar lavage). Although it is correct to use modifier 53...

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