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Thread: % on burn codes

  1. #1

    Question % on burn codes

    AAPC: Back to School
    In a recent article in coders edge, "Account for percentage and depth when coding burns", I 'm not clear on the lack of use for a fifth digit on code 948.1. I thought that 0-9% is a fifth digit of "0". I did not see any updates on the CMS web site and the code 948.1 calls for a fifth digit in the ICD 9 CM manual. Can anyone clairify this for me or is this a billing guideline over a "coding " guideline?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Concord, NC or Rochester, NY


    The fifth digit is used for the percent of burns that are 3rd degree. This is total 3rd degree and therefore has nothing to do with the previous digit.

  3. #3


    So even the the coding manual calls for a 5 th digit, and 0 is clearly within the range of the code, we do not use a 0 to represent 0% 3rd degree? That seems a little strange. Is there a guideline that says that? I have always thought that a red dot means need the next digit. Would it be wrong to use the fifth digit or just not required?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Milwaukee WI

    Default Need the 5th digit for 948.10

    I disagree with the explanation in Coder's Edge.

    You definitely DO need the 5th digit for 948.1 ... which would be a 0 (to signify less than 10% TBSA is third degree burn).

    For 946.2 you would NOT need a 5th digit.

    Hope that helps.

    F Tessa Bartels, CPC, CEMC

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