Co-Surgeon coding

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If a co-surgeon only performs parts of surgery, must I add mod 62 to all of my surgeon's CPTs or only those the co-surgeon assisted with. And what if the co-surgeon only assisted in the opening, do I need to use mod 62 at all?
 

ajs

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If a co-surgeon only performs parts of surgery, must I add mod 62 to all of my surgeon's CPTs or only those the co-surgeon assisted with. And what if the co-surgeon only assisted in the opening, do I need to use mod 62 at all?
Co-surgery by definition means that two surgeons performed separate parts of the SAME surgical procedure. So they bill the exact same procedure code and append modifier 62 and both dictate an op report for the part of the surgery they performed.

An assistant surgeon by definition, assists the primary surgeon in completing surgical procedures. The assistant does not dictate an op report, the primary surgeon dictates the report and includes the work of the assistant surgeon in the dictation. In this case the primary surgeon bills the procedure codes, the assistant bills the same codes with the modifier 80 attached.

If a surgeon only opened, it is not a co-surgery that is an assistant.
 
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Thank you very much, I am a newly certified coder and am working as billing manager for a specialty I have no experience in. That was very helpful.
 
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Opening MAY be co-surgery

Arlene, I respectfully disagree. It all depends on what was done.

Our general surgeons will typically open (and close) for the Ortho surgeons performing an anterior spinal fusion.

For illustration purposes let's say it's a thoracic arthrodesis - CPT 22556. BOTH the general surgeon and the Orthopaedic surgeon will bill out CPT 22556 [M62]. ONLY the orthopaedic surgeon will code for insertion of instrumentation ... e.g. CPT 22845.

(And as for "only opened" ... I did have one case where Gen'l surgeon A opened, but Gen'l surgeon B closed ... they're in the same practice, so we still only coded ONE co-surgery, and per our office protocol it was submitted under the name of G.S. A)

evecox .... you need to be clear in your post. You ask about co-surgery, but you keep using the term "assist." There is a big difference, as Arlene correctly pointed out.

Hope that helps.

F Tessa Bartels, CPC, CEMC
 
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