I listened to one of the Intensivists on teaching rounds with residents one day. He was telling the residents to stop using the word "stable" .... He said this had no medical meaning. After all a dead person is "stable" - i.e. not changing.
I tend to ignore that word when I see it. I look at other documented indications of the patient's condition and medical diagnosis. A person dependent on a ventilator for maintaining respirations is most likely critically ill. (There are patients who are chronically vent dependent ... for example as a result of quadriplegia ... who can go home on a ventilator ... I'm not talking about those patients.)
Talk to the physician and ask him/her to be sure to document WHY the patient continues to need critical care ... respiratory failure, sepsis, etc. Those are codable diagnoses to support the use of 99291-99292. "Stable" is not a codeable diagnosis.
Hope that helps.
F Tessa Bartels, CPC, CEMC
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