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Thread: Removing zeros

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default Removing zeros

    Question about zeros on the end of a ICD 9 code....don't remember seeing this in my CPC-H program. If there is a dx code of 244.90, we were told that is ok to remove zeros but not add any digits. 244.90 is invalid, if I remove the zero, it becomes 244.9, hypothyroidism. Is it ok to remove the zero? Thanks!
    Last edited by Loleina00; 05-23-2011 at 02:53 PM.

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loleina00 View Post
    Question about zeros on the end of a ICD 9 code....don't remember seeing this in my CPC-H program. If there is a dx code of 244.90, we were told that is ok to remove zeros but not add any digits. 244.90 is invalid, if I remove the zero, it becomes 244.9, hypothyroidism. Is it ok to remove the zero? Thanks!
    I am confused. Of course you would remove the zero off of 244.90 because there is no such code. I am not understanding, I guess, by what you mean removing zeros on other codes? Just for instance 719.40 is joint pain, site unspecified. If you removed the zero, then that would also make the code invalid because it needs a 5th digit, so I guess I am totally confused. Could you please clarify what you are asking? Thanks.

  3. #3
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    Default

    Thanks for the reply. What I meant is physicians or their support staff often add extra zeros to codes such as 496.00, 436.0, 486.0.....when an extra zero or two would make a code invalid. They are perhaps confused or don't know the codes and think they all follow the same numeric system and add zeros to all the codes. Obviously you wouldn't remove a zero from 719.40, 535.00, or 789.00, because it would make it an invalid code. So another words, it's ok to remove a zero/s if it would make that code valid. At the same time, it is invalid to add digits to a diagnosis code, please correct me if I'm wrong, thanks.
    Last edited by Loleina00; 05-23-2011 at 09:01 PM.

  4. #4
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    Default

    The rule is you use codes to the highest degree of specificity. If you have persons using invalid numbers for codes then yes you look it up to find the valid code. I am not willing to say it is as simple as removing zeros. Your job is to find the most accruate code that matches the documentation. Regardless of the codes submitted by physicians or support staff, you assign the correct code. So to say you are removing the zeros does not give an accurate picture of what you do. We do not remove zeros we assign correct codes.

    Debra A. Mitchell, MSPH, CPC-H

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