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Radiology & modifier -50

  1. #1
    Default Radiology & modifier -50
    Medical Coding Books
    Can you use modifer -50 on bilateral x-rays, or must you post the code twice and append RT & LT?
    Thanks in advance for your time
    Karen S

  2. #2
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    Columbia, MO
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    In most cases it will depend on the payer. This is one of the most contoversial modifier issues. You just really need to know what ech of your payers want for proper adjudication of bilateral procedures.

    Debra A. Mitchell, MSPH, CPC-H

  3. #3
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    Adirondack Chapter of Professional Coders, Glens Falls, NY
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    I would use modifier -50 when the x-ray is being done on both sides of a single body part, such as both sides of one foot. If both feet are being x-rayed, I would report the code twice with RT and LT as these modifiers are used to represent each side of the body.

  4. #4
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    50 carries the same defintion as RT, LT. 50 is a procedure that is defined as unilateral being perfomed on a defined bilateral body part or organ. two sides of the same foot is not bilateral. the foot is a unlateral body part that has both a left and a right. If you do only the right foot the you use the code with RT if you do both then it is bilateral.
    RT, LT are modifiers for when you do the left side only or right side only of a defined bilateral body part or organ.
    If your xray is different sides of the same foot then this changes the view and you change how many view you bill, not use a 50.

    Debra A. Mitchell, MSPH, CPC-H

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellde View Post
    50 carries the same defintion as RT, LT. 50 is a procedure that is defined as unilateral being perfomed on a defined bilateral body part or organ. two sides of the same foot is not bilateral. the foot is a unlateral body part that has both a left and a right. If you do only the right foot the you use the code with RT if you do both then it is bilateral.
    RT, LT are modifiers for when you do the left side only or right side only of a defined bilateral body part or organ.
    If your xray is different sides of the same foot then this changes the view and you change how many view you bill, not use a 50.

    Well said Debra.

    I also agree on carrier discretion. I have some payers that prefer RT/LT and others that only allow 50. It's a pain to remember...

  6. #6
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    Thank you as always. I knew I could count on you gals
    Karen S

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