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Thread: Ruptured Appendix w/ Abscess

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Milwaukee WI

    Default Ruptured Appendix w/ Abscess

    AAPC: Back to School
    We're having some back-and-forth on this one.

    Patient has a ruptured appendix w/ abcess (and fecal material in the peritoneal cavity).
    Approach is laparoscopy.

    Do you code 44960
    Do you code 44970 [22]
    Do you code 44979 and base you fee on 44960?

    I'd appreciate your thoughts and why. I could argue for each of these options.

    F Tessa Bartels, CPC, CEMC

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Fayetteville, NC


    I would go with 44979 because the procedure was performed laparoscopically and there is an unlisted lap code for appendix.
    And I too would base my charges on the charge for the open code for this procedure 44960. I would do so because the procedure required more work than the description for 44970 entails and 44960 is a the closest representation of the work actually done.
    A. McCormick, CPC, CGSC
    Walters Surgical Associates

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007


    I would agree with McCormick. Sounds like an unlisted code.

  4. #4


    Why not 44970-22? Code is not limited by it's description. At the core of the procedure the Dr is doing an appendectomy. Yes, it might have an abscess or might have even ruptured but it's still an appendectomy. Unfortunately, the values between 44960 and 44970 are horrible but from a coding stand point I can't worry about that.

    Any clarification to why the unlisted would be greatly appreciated. I've seen this a few times in our office and our compliance dept says 44970-22.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007


    The more I think about it I would just do 44970-22.

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