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ICD-9 Coding of DJD

  1. #1
    Default ICD-9 Coding of DJD
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    I have recently started a new job working in the Home health arena. The other coder and I code DJD two different ways. Can someone please refer me to any official guidelines for further clarification as to how DJD should be coded?

    If the DX states DJD Knee my co-worker uses the codes, 715.36 (local) I use 715.96 as unspecified.

    I think perhaps my lack of understanding of the terms local/generalized/primary/secondary has me confused.

    If anyone can weigh in with thoughts or resources, I'd sincerely appreciate it.

    Thank you in advance,

    Gina Valente, CPC

  2. #2
    Louisville, KY
    We had this debate at my workplace. Your fellow coder probably came from the facility environment and you from the physician . . . just a stab.

    I really don't have any resolution to offer, largely because it is a matter of subjectivity, in my opinion. Hopefully others will have something meaningful to add.

    Good luck.

  3. #3

    It's funny you say that about physician coders/hospital coders I would code it as 715.96 also, and I too am a physician coder.

    Roxanne Thames, CPC

  4. Smile Home Care Coding
    Hi Gina,
    I've been coding in home care for about 15 years. It's a whole differnt world of coding. It's nice to find other HC coders out there on this website.

    Judie Jones CPC, COS-C
    Carpentersville IL

  5. Default
    Working for a physician, I too would code DJD of the knee as 715.96.
    Last edited by Teresa Toscano; 09-04-2007 at 11:51 AM.

  6. Default ICD-9 coding of DJD
    I agree with using 715.96 for the knee. I am a physician coder also. I have been taught, if my physician does not specify "localized" then to default to the unspecified. I was taught to code "exactly" what the physician says. If he would not say the exact word "localized" but in his HPI and exam indicated no other OA or DJD was present, then that is localized enough for me.

  7. #7
    Austin, Texas
    There is some good information regarding this subject on the AAOS website found an article for Osteoarthritis of the Knee: State of Condition that defined primary and secondary and in a 2004 bulletin Margie Vaught is quoted as saying that when DJD is identified in one site but not identified as primary or secondary it should be coded as 715.3x

    I use 715.3x when the physician is talking about a specific joint (knee, etc) if they do not specify then I use 715.9x or 715.8x depending on their dictation.

    Sharon D CPC

  8. #8
    I agree with Sharon D. I work in an orthopedic specialist's office and I always use 715.36 for DJD of the knee (provided the physician doesn't stipulate whether it is primary or secondary). 715.96 is saying that is "unspecified whether generalized or localized", 715.36 says "localized." My line of reasoning is that if the physician has already told you in the documentation that the DJD is in the knee, then it is in fact specified as being "localized" to the knee, hence my decision to use 715.36.

  9. #9
    Thanks Kandis for sheading some light on your reasoning for using the code you use I will querry my physician on this line of thought. Thanks.

    Roxanne CPC

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Mary Baierl View Post
    I have been taught, if my physician does not specify "localized" then to default to the unspecified. I was taught to code "exactly" what the physician says. If he would not say the exact word "localized" but in his HPI and exam indicated no other OA or DJD was present, then that is localized enough for me.
    I was taught this way also.

    Thank you all that contributed and for the link. I sincerely appreciate your opinions!

    This forum is great!

    Happy Coding

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