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Acute vs. Chronic when not specified

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    Default Acute vs. Chronic when not specified
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    Some conditions have default codes when not specified as acute or chronic (ie, bronchitis, sinusitis). Other conditions have an unspecified code. What is the rule when a default or unspecified code is not provided? Do we code acute or do we code chronic?

    Being trained "along the way", I was taught if not specified as acute or chronic, we must code acute. However, in a meeting today, I was informed the rule is we must code chronic. I am confused.

    I found a blurb where CMS addressed chronic wounds as "persisting for more than one month". That is specific to wounds and I will not assume an across-the-board rule. I also understand the medical definition of both acute and chronic. What I am in search of is a reputable guideline to clarify when to code acute or chronic when not specified and no unspecified code is available.
    Last edited by terribrown; 02-15-2011 at 02:19 PM.

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