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LTibbetts

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This is going to sound very ignorant but I am VERY new to this. For coding knee arthroscopy, how do you tell the difference between diagnostic (29870) and surgical (29880) procedures? Please help!
 

mbort

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for diagnostic, they pretty much go in and look, possibly determine a diagnosis and thats it.

If its surgical, you will see in the op note that they actually did something...debridement, resected, etc. Look for those types of key words :)

Hope this helps
Mary
 

LTibbetts

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Thanks, it defininately does help. I seem to still be confused however. I have come across two similar charts, both with the 29870-LT code. One even had a cyst drained in the area and that was not coded at all. Are those incorrect? I would have used code 29880, is that correct?
 
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mbort

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29880 seems more appropriate based on the info you have provided. Depending on the documentation, the cyst could be bundled, really just depends on that one.
 

LTibbetts

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Thanks so much for your help. It's nice to know that I was on the right track and it's just another example to trust my own instincts and coding ability.
 
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