"Podiatry coding: New codes for diabetic foot ulcer treatment"
by erin masercola


We all know this year CPT introduced 200 new codes to help you code more accurately than ever. For your podiatry practice, the big change trains eyes on a couple of new codes to code diabetic foot ulcer treatment involving tissue cultured skin substitutes to the lower extremity.

While reporting diabetic foot ulcer treatment involving tissue cultured skin substitutes to the lower extremity for a Medicare beneficiary this year use temporary G codes. This year CPT introduced G0440 and G0441 to put to rest the confusion providers put forth the different global periods for a couple of tissue cultured skin substitute codes.

This year, you can forget about 76880 as CPT deletes this code to make way for a couple of new codes: 76881, 76882.

A complete procedure (76881) includes real time scans of a specific joint that includes examination of the muscles, tendons, joint, other soft-tissue structures, and any identifiable abnormality. A limited study (76882) involves examining the extremity where a specific anatomic structure such as a tendon or muscle is assessed. You'd also use 76882 to assess a soft-tissue mass that may be present in an extremity where knowledge of its cystic or solid characteristics is required.

Bear in mind that when the podi atrist carries out spectral and color Doppler evaluation of the extremities, you should use the proper code in association with 76881 or 76882. In the mean time, CPT 2011 revises and revalues codes for noninvasive physiologic studies of the upper or lower extremity arteries: 93922, 93923, 93924.

You will find 93922-93924's code descriptors visibly differentiating between a limited study and a complete bilateral study, with more instructions on how to report these codes properly.

And yes, you should not forget debridement and active wound care. You will never have to worry about selecting a debridement code and an active wound code as this year's CPT saves you the day by revising debridement code guidelines to rid the confusion.

Depth is the only documentation item you require to figure out the proper code. Active wound care, which has a 0-day global period refers to active wound care of the skin, dermis, or for that matter epidermis. For deeper wound care, you should go for debridement codes in the proper location.

Say for instance codes 11040 and 11041 have been deleted. The parenthetical note under the codes' deletion reads, "For debridement of skin, that is, epidermis and/or dermis only, see 97597 and 97598."

For more on this and for other specialty-specific articles to assist your podiatry coding, sign up for a good resource like Coding Institute.

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erin masercola
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Podiatry Coding, CPT 2011

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