I would be very careful in diagnosing a patient as infertile, if endometriosis is the cause it is endometriosis as a dx not infortility. See the article below.
Ob-Gyn Coding Alert
To subscribe call 800/508-2582 2009; Volume 12, number 10
2009; Volume 12, number 10
Focus on Approach to Overcome 4 Ovarian Cyst Removal Coding Myths
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Hold On to Initial Infertility Visit Dollars With This 2-Part Strategy
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READER QUESTIONS :Get Paid for Pessary Insertions With This Strategy
READER QUESTIONS :Conquer Your Ob Complications Coding
READER QUESTIONS :Try Your Hand at This Adhesions Lysis, Appendectomy Scenario
Hold On to Initial Infertility Visit Dollars With This 2-Part Strategy
Symptoms, not infertility, may help your initial visit claim pass muster.
Donât settle for infertility visit denials when a patient presents to your practice complaining she is unable to get pregnant. Focusing on symptoms rather than 628.9 (Infertility, female; of unspecified origin) can make all the difference in how payers view your claims.
Get to the Crux of the Problem
Most insurance carriers will not reimburse for infertility treatments, and many payers balk when the word âinfertilityâ pops up.
âInfertility services always require intensive review prior to a patientâs visit,â says Cheryl Ortenzi, CPC, billing and compliance manager of BUOB/Gyn in Boston.
âIn most cases, coverage is very specific. You have to verify coverage or lack thereof and review that with the patient so that everyone understands who is paying for these services.â
Maximize ethical reimbursement by following two guidelines:
Step 1: Stick to the Presenting Symptoms
âGenerally, the initial âinfertilityâ visit isnât really about the infertility because the cause of infertility is rarely known. The patient has an initial symptom or complaint that is the primary diagnosis or reason for this visit,â says Cindy Foley, billing manager for three ob-gyn practices in Syracuse, N.Y.
In other words, infertility issues may never enter the picture if your ob-gyn effectively treats a patientâs presenting symptoms. You should educate your physicians to doc-ument the patientâs condition(s) using terminology that in-cludes specific diagnoses as well as symptoms, problems, or reasons for the encounter. Red flag: You cannot report diag-nosis codes for conditions your ob-gyn merely âsuspects.â
Example: A woman with pelvic pain (625.9, Unspecified symptom associated with female genital organs) comes in for an appointment, and the physician focuses on this problem. The doctor discusses infertility as a secondary symptom because the patientâs more urgent problem is her pelvic pain.
Solution: The ob-gynâs assessment and testing reveal the patient has endometriosis (617.0, Endometriosis of uterus), and the treatment plan is surgery. Be sure to submit 625.9 as the primary diagnosis. For subsequent visits once the physician diagnoses endometriosis and the surgical treatment, you should use 617.0 as the primary diagnosis.
Once the ob-gyn treats the endometriosis, many women become pregnant right away, and fertility never becomes an issue. In fact, the ob-gynâs documentation never need mention infertility, except perhaps as a secondary diagnosis.
However, if the main reason for the visit is an inability to conceive or a history of infertility, you may have cause to expect a denial.
Watch out: Ob-gyns often rely heavily on patient histories during the first visit, and any physician will likely include a discussion of pregnancy and fertility issues as part of this history. Donât let payers bully you by saying that this indicates treatment for infertility. You are correct to report other symptoms as diagnosis codes as long as the physician focuses the documentation on those issues.
Step 2: Avoid Overlooking Consultations
You may be tempted to code for an initial infertility visit as an office visit, but this may not be the case. Frequently, a womanâs primary-care physician will refer her to your obgyn.
If this is the case, you can get paid for a consultation (99241-99245) as long as the ob-gyn documents the required components, and there is a clear request for an opinion or advice by the primary-care physician.
Remember to check for the âfive Râsâ -- reason, request, render, report, and return. For the visit to qualify as a consultation, the patientâs primary physician must determine the reason for a consult and request the opinion of your ob-gyn. The ob-gyn must render services and review the patientâs condition via exam. Finally, the obgyn must then report his findings and return the patient back to the requesting doctor.
Example: A woman with irregular menses (626.4, Irregular menstrual cycle) and cystic acne (706.1, Other acne) presents to your ob-gyn at the request of her primary physician. The primary physician suspects ovulatory dysfunction or polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and would like your ob-gynâs opinion. After a problem-focused history and exam and some diagnostic testing, the ob-gyn determines that the patient does indeed have PCOS (256.4, Polycystic ovaries). The ob-gyn discusses infertility only as a secondary symptom during the course of the history. After the visit, the ob-gyn sends a report to the requesting physician outlining the findings and proposed treatment course.
Solution: In this case, you should report a consultation (99241-99245) based on the extent of service the documentation indicates. You should include as diagnoses 626.4, 706.1, and 256.4.
Heads up: Be careful not to use only 256.4 because carriers often lump this with infertility treatment and may refuse to pay.
Why the primary physician referred the patient is not always the appropriate ICD-9 code at the end of the visit.
If the family physician referred the patient for suspected fibroids (218.x) causing infertility, and the ob-gyn does a sonogram that does not show any fibroids, you should not use fibroids as your finding.
Rule of thumb: âI believe it boils down to determining if infertility is secondary or primary -- and youâd better be able to substantiate that,â Foley says.
Good advice: Collect payment up front for either the whole procedure (if the patient doesnât have any infertility benefits, such as for tubal reversal cases) or for their estimated portion (if the patient does have some coverage).
Even if the only reason for the visit is âI canât get pregnant,â some payers will cover the first or second visit.
Some payers will cover services that determine the condition of infertility.
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