Think of 59 as being kind of like the 25 modifier, but for procedures. When you have more than one procedure done at the same time, you use modifier 59 if: A) They're not usually performed during the same encounter (mutually exclusive), B) One is generally considered to be included in the other, but this time, it's on a different area of the body, or C) You're billing two labs that can be described by the same code, but are testing for different strains/species of the same organism. The code pairs that require a 59 modifier will almost always be somewhere on the NCCI edit tables, and they will have a status indicator of "1". Like the 51 modifier, 59 affects reimbursement; the key difference is, without adding a 59 modifier when it's needed, you absolutely will have a denial, and it does matter which code you put it on. You have to add the 59 modifier to the code you're trying to flag as "distinct" from the other procedures, so it will always go on the less extensive procedure (that would otherwise be bundled into something else). I hope that helped, and didn't make it more confusing!
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