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Thread: senior biller

  1. #1

    Default senior biller

    AAPC: Back to School
    have question my pulmonary doctor wants to charge out for a chest tube
    removal in hospital what is there a code for that i have reviewed the codes
    and 32810 was the only one that looked even remotely close to it.

    but i am not sure that it would be correct

    please advise?

  2. #2


    I do not believe you can bill separate for the removal of a chest tube. The removal is covered in the insertion. I have done some Interventional Radiology billing and when the surgeon inserted the tube and the Radiologist removed it, I could not bill for the removal by the Radiologist.

    I also consulted my expert (sister is Medical Records Director, RHIA/CCS) and after she looked it up she came to the same conclusion but added that you could try the unlisted code 39499 w/appropriate modifier and sent report.

    I hope this helps, thought I would try.

  3. #3


    It would depend on the documentation. If he just pulled the tube out, the best you can do is an E&M or post op code depending on documentation and patient's post op status.

    From encoderpro.com the lay description of 32810 is: The physician treats a draining empyema (accumulation of pus in the chest cavity) by resecting a rib, irrigating the empyema space with an antibiotoc solution intermittantly over an extended period of time, and closing of the empyema space in six to eight weeks. This code reports the closure portion only.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Milwaukee WI

    Default No separate code

    No separate code ... it's part of the E/M service for that date (just like extubation or removing sutures is included)

    F Tessa Bartels, CPC, CEMC

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