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Thread: unsuccessful procedure

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Paducah Kentucky

    Question unsuccessful procedure

    AAPC: Back to School
    20610 aspiration of large joint, several attempts, unable to aspirate any fluid.

    I do not believe we can bill the aspiration since this was unsuccessful, but have been unable to locate the documentation to back me up. Am I correct that this cannot be billed or can it be billed as reduced service (52)or, simply, billed because the physician did perform the needle insertion into the joint?

    Please direct me to supporting documentation. Thank you

  2. #2


    You would code the joint aspiration even if you do not receive any fluid back. I would not add the reduced services modifier since the basic procedure/technique was not changed. By coding the procedure you are covering the supplies and/or treatment room that are used.

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