FDA Removes Lifetime Ban on Blood Donations from Gay Men

By Michelle Dick
Dec 23rd, 2015

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on December 21 that its lifting the lifetime ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men. The ban has been in place for 32 years, since the AIDS crisis began in the United States, and has been a sore subject of contention for gay activists.

Due to modern testing methods of HIV, the removal of the FDA’s lifetime ban is justified, and has been replaced with “a policy barring donations from men who have had sex with another man in the previous year,” according to an Associated Press, NBC News article.

Source: Associated Press, Food and Drug Administration Lifts Formal Ban on Blood Donations From Gay Men

Santa’s Medical Chart

By Alex McKinley
Dec 22nd, 2015

Delivering toys to children around the world in one day can take its toll. View Santa’s condition after last year’s voyage and how the professionals (elves?) at the North Pole Medical Clinic treated him. Santa gave his permission to share his chart. HIPAA regulations were followed in the creation of this graphic.


Operative Note Documentation Basics

By John Verhovshek
Dec 22nd, 2015

A surgeon’s operative note should provide all the necessary documentation to describe the procedure performed. The note should “stand alone” as the only document needed to understand why the surgery was undertaken, and what occurred.

The following documentation that should be on every operative note:

  • Patient’s name
  • Date
  • Preoperative Diagnosis
  • Postoperative Diagnosis
  • Surgeon’s Name
  • Assistant Surgeon/Co‐Surgeon
  • Procedure
  • Indications for Surgery
  • Findings at Surgery

Include Post-Op Diagnosis in Operative Note

Whenever possible, try to differentiate the pre-operative and post-operative diagnoses. For instance, a pathology report can provide additional details that allow for a more precise post-operative diagnosis. You may also wish to report any underlying co-morbid conditions that can affect the surgical outcome

Fundoplasty Gains New Esophagogastric Codes for 2016

By John Verhovshek
Dec 22nd, 2015

Esophagogastric fundoplasty involves wrapping the upper portion of the stomach (the fundus) around the esophagus to strengthen the valve between the esophagus and stomach, thereby inhibiting acid from backing up into the esophagus. CPT® 2016 introduces 43210 Esophagogastroduodenoscopy, flexible, transoral; with esophagogastric fundoplasty, partial or complete, includes duodenoscopy when performed for partial or complete esophagogastric fundoplasty when performed via flexible, transoral endoscope.

Avoid Reporting with Excluded Services

Per CPT®, do not report 43210 with:

43180 Esophagoscopy, rigid, transoral with diverticulectomy of hypopharynx or cervical esophagus (eg, Zenker’s diverticulum), with cricopharyngeal myotomy, includes use of telescope or operating microscope and repair, when performed

43191 Esophagoscopy, rigid, transoral; diagnostic, including collection of specimen(s) by brushing or washing when performed (separate procedure)

43197 Esophagoscopy, flexible, transnasal; diagnostic, including collection of specimen(s) by brushing or washing, when performed (separate procedure)

43200 Esophagoscopy, flexible, transoral; diagnostic, including collection of specimen(s) by brushing or washing, when performed (separate procedure)

43235 Esophagogastroduodenoscopy, flexible, transoral; diagnostic, including collection of specimen(s) by brushing or washing, when performed (separate procedure)

The most common condition treated with a transoral esophagogastric fundoplasty is gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). In ICD-10-CM there are a few options when reporting GERD. If the patient has GERD without esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus) you report K21.9 Gastro-esophageal reflux disease without esophagitis. If the patient has GERD and esophagitis, report K21.0 Gastro-esophageal reflux disease with esophagitis. With the creation of the combination code. There is no longer a need to report esophagitis as an additional code.

ACC Endorses AAPC for ICD-10 Committee

By Brad Ericson
Dec 15th, 2015

A second major physician organization asked Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell to make AAPC a Cooperating Party on the ICD-10 Coordination and Maintenance Committee. The American College of Cardiology (ACC) joins the American Medical Association (AMA) in recommending AAPC, saying “they represent the interests of individual physicians and healthcare providers who perform the majority of outpatient care in the U.S.”

Cooperating Parties on the committee include The American Hospital Association (AHA); The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA); the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and the National Committee for Health Statistics (NCHS). The cooperating parties develop, approve, and advise on code development and guidelines required to report ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS. HHS is accountable for the code set’s maintenance.

The letter of support from ACC said, “AAPC’s 141,000 members represent the highest level of expertise in the industry in the areas of medical coding, medical billing, medical auditing, compliance, and practice management.”

The ACC says it is the professional home for the entire cardiovascular care team, charged with improving heart health. The organization has 141,000 members and joins a growing chorus of physicians and other healthcare providers seeking more representation on the Coordination and Maintenance Committee.

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About Has 164 Posts

Brad Ericson, MPC, CPC, COSC, has been director of publishing for more than seven years. Before AAPC he was at Optum for 13 years and at Aetna Health Plans before that. He has been writing and publishing about healthcare since 1979. He received his Bachelor's in Journalism from Idaho State University and his Master's of Professional Communication degree from Westminster College of Salt Lake City.
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