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Thread: Using code 29877 with 715.16

  1. #1

    Question Using code 29877 with 715.16

    AAPC: Back to School
    I remember reading somewhere (not sure where) that 29877 is not to be bill with an osteoarthritis code (715.16). I sought help from within the department, but was only told that 717.7 is how we get paid. I know what codes to use to get the procedure paid, but when all the doctor is using for a diagnosis code is concerning arthritis (in the body of the report it does state there was loose cartilage and different grades of changes, i.e. grade II and III), is it still billable?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007

    Default Using code 29877 w/715.16

    I checked with our lead coder and she said that she remembers getting denials for this right after Medicare came up with that guideline, but that it kind of "fizzled out," because she been seeing 29877 paid with 715.16. She agreed that sometimes the diagnosis is actually related to osteoarthritis. Hope this helps...

  3. #3


    We have Encoder Pro and on our crosswalk that says what dx codes can be billed w/ 29877, 715.16 is one of them. I think you can justify this by the fact when a patient has arthritis the joint in breaking down and this can cause a need for the debridement for pain relief/better motion of the joint. Hope that helps!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Greater Pittsburgh

    Default 29877/dx

    The dx code I use is bone/cartilage changes 733.90, as long as it is supported in the operative note as such. Hope this helps
    jdemar, CPC, CMA

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