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Thread: conflicting coding rules!!!!

  1. #1

    Default conflicting coding rules!!!!

    AAPC: Back to School
    my surgeon wants me to bill the following:

    25609- open treatment of distal radial intra-articular fracture; with internal fixation of 3 or more fragments


    20690- application of a uniplane unilateral, external fixation system

    I've used 3 resources that tell me that these codes are inclusive of each other and I can not bill for them together. My surgeon is insisting that I can. Has anyone used these codes together (without a modifier 59)?

    your help would be GREATLY appreciated!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Portland Columbia River Coders #50301


    Hi Amy -

    My research shows that 20690 is a subset to 25609, but that's not a CCI edit. This is an external editing system and I think it's because the procedure 25609 includes immobilization in a cast (per the Coders Desk Reference), which would make the external fixation system redundant. I think you will need to append modifier 59 to 20690 and modifier 52 to 25609 and submit the operative report. Point out that there was no cast (modifier 52 - reduced services) , but the external fixation instead. It may end up being reviewed by a Medical Director for the insurance company.

    No guarantees this will work, but it's worth a try.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Richmond VA


    According to CCI edits you can bill these codes and they are not considered inclusive, But do append 59 on 20690.

    Hope this helps.

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