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Neonatology Coding. Basic Coding Concepts. Improper Coding: Coding for services and procedures that cannot be substantiated by the documentation in the medical record Coding for levels of services which cannot be substantiated by documentation in the medical record

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Basic coding concepts
Basic Coding Concepts

  • Improper Coding:

    • Coding for services and proceduresthat cannot be substantiated by the documentation in the medical record

    • Coding forlevels of services which cannot be substantiated by documentation in the medical record

    • Sloppy = Unsubstantiated Payment Denial

    • Intentional = “Fraud and Abuse” Legal/Fine/Prison

General e m principles
General E&M Principles

  • Medical record should be complete & legible

  • The documentation of an encounter should include:

    • Chief complaint and/or reason for encounter; relevant history, physical exam and prior diagnostic tests

    • Assessment, impression or diagnosis

  • The present & past diagnoses and conditions including prenatal & intrapartum for neonate

  • Patient’s progress, response to and changes in treatment, planned follow-up instructions and diagnosis

Counseling and consultation codes

Perinatal consultation code
Perinatal Consultation Code

Outpatient or inpatient

When the amount of counseling time during a patient encounter accounts for more than 50%

Also called: Confirmatory Consultation

*You must note time on the consult form/note.

Billing is based on time in 15 min. increments

Inpatient consultation referred by another physician

  • The request and reason for the consult from the referring physician, (can be written or oral)

  • The services ordered

  • The opinion rendered

  • A writtenreport to the referring physician

The information needed in the chart.

Neonatal transport
Neonatal Transport

Code only on day of transfer

Physician direction of emergency medical systems emergency care, advanced life support.


  • Supervision

  • Communication

  • Involvement in decision making

    • Procedures

Delivery room services
Delivery Room Services


Attendance at delivery (when requested by the delivering physician) and initial stabilization of the newborn

(includes blow-by oxygen, stimulation, suctioning)


Neonatal resuscitation requiring positive pressure ventilation and/or chest compressions

*may include intubation (31500)

* airway suctioning (31515)

* umbilical catherization (36510-vein; 36660-artery)

* may be used IN ADDITION to initial day codes

Neonatology coding


99360 Prolonged physician attendance, each 30 minutes

In the past the wording of this code included “for newborn care.” The phrase “For newborn care” has been removed from 99360

Use the new “Attendance at Delivery” code (99436).

Other circumstances where prolonged standby is required (eg, during surgery in NICU, fetal surgery) could be listed if present during the procedure and requested by the surgeon or anesthesiologist and documented in the medical record. Code has no assigned RVU value.

Teaching attending definitions
Teaching Attending:Definitions

  • Direct Services

    • A service to an individual patient furnished by a physician or by a resident under the supervision of a physician in a teaching hospital

    • Must document the service furnished, the participation of the teaching physician and whether they were present in the same room

Teaching attending must show involvement
Teaching Attending:Must Show Involvement

  • Teaching physician must show:

    • Personal involvement in the:

      • Evaluation

      • Development of the plan of care

      • Treatment of the patient

    • Cannot just co-sign resident, fellow or NNP note:

      • “Agree with above and plan as written”

Teaching attending determining level of service
Teaching Attending:Determining Level of Service

  • Teaching physician must be present during/at the time when the level of service is determined

  • May be at the bedside with the resident/fellow or the NNP

  • May examine the patient independently

  • Must document their presence


I was present with resident, fellow or NNP during H&P. I discussed and agree with findings and plan.

  • or

  • I examined the patient. Discussed with resident, fellow or NNP and agree with findings and plan.

Medical decision making
Medical Decision Making

  • The assessment and plan for each problem should be documented and include:

    • the status/severity of the problem

    • risk of complications & deterioration

    • amount and complexity of data

    • differential diagnoses

    • diagnostic and therapeutic tests, procedures

    • treatment plan and interventions

Low complexity decision making
Low Complexity Decision Making

  • Problem is low severity, urgency

  • Low risk of clinical complications

  • Limited differential diagnoses

  • Limited review of pertinent data

  • straightforward diagnostic / therapeutic interventions

  • 2/3 elements must meet or exceed the requirement for low complexity

Moderate complexity
Moderate Complexity

  • moderate severity problem; low to moderate risk of clinical deterioration

  • requires review of detailed amount of additional information

  • extended differential diagnosis

  • complicated diagnostic / therapeutic interventions

  • complicated treatment plan

  • Initial 50 min., subsequent 25 min.

High complexity
High Complexity

  • problem of high severity

  • high risk of complications

  • high risk of clinical deterioration

  • excessive differential diagnoses

  • highly complex & multiple diagnostic and therapeutic interventions

  • highly complex treatment plan

  • Initial 70 min, subsequent 35 min.

Critical care services
Critical Care Services

  • Critical care is the direct delivery by a physician of medical care for a critically ill patient.

  • A critical illness acutely impairs one or more vital organ systems such that there is a high probability of imminent or life threatening deterioration.

  • Critical care involves high complexity decision making to assess, manipulate and support vital system functions to treat single or multi-system failure

    • Critically ill neonates require cardiac/respiratory support including ventilator or NCPAP when indicated

    • Continuous or frequent vital sign measurement

    • Laboratory and blood gas interpretations

    • Follow up physician evaluations

    • Immediate pre-operative evaluation and stabilization of neonates with life threatening surgical or cardiac conditions are included

  • Examples of vital organ system failure include, but are not limited to:

    • CNS failure

    • Shock

    • Circulatory failure

    • Renal, hepatic or metabolic failure

    • Respiratory failure

  • Critical care services cont
    Critical Care Services (cont.)

    • Critical care typically requires interpretation of multiple physiologic parameters and/or application of advanced technology, critical care may be provided when these elements are not present.

    • Critical care may be provided on multiple days, even if no changes are made in the treatment provided the patient’s condition continues to require the level of physician attention.

    • Providing medical care to a critically ill patient qualifies as a critical care service only ifboththe illness and the treatment being provided meet the requirements.

    Critical care services cont1
    Critical Care Services (cont.)

    • Critical care is not established simply by the presence of any of the following:

      • Birth weight or postnatal weight (except 99298 and 99299)

      • Gestational age

      • Apgar score

      • Type of unit where infant is cared for

      • Need for isolette

      • Oxygen need

      • Requirement for IV fluids or hyperalimentation

      • Bronchodilator use

      • Antibiotic therapy

      • Corticosteroid therapy

      • Phototherapy

      • Apnea and bradycardia

      • Gavage or G tube feeds

    Key words to determine critical care







    Key words to determine critical care1







    Neonatal critical care codes 0 30 d
    Neonatal Critical Care Codes(0 - 30 d)

    • The “Global” Codes:

      • 99295: Initial neonatal critical care

      • 99296: Subsequent neonatal critical care

        Pediatric Critical Care Codes

        (31 d – 24 mos)

    • The “Global” Codes:

      • 99293: Initial pediatric critical care 99294: Subsequent pediatric critical care

    Neonatal intensive care bundled neonatal services

    umbilical lines

    peripheral lines

    central lines

    gastric tubes


    lumbar puncture

    blood gas interpretation

    bladder catheter

    surfactant administration

    ventilator management

    bladder tap



    vascular puncture

    PFT testing (flow loops)

    vital sign monitoring

    pulse oximetry

    IV fluid & TPN

    NEONATAL INTENSIVE CARE“Bundled Neonatal Services”

    Intensive non critical low birth weight services
    Intensive (Non-Critical) Low Birth Weight Services

    • The “Global” Codes:

      • 99298:

        • Subsequent intensive care for evaluation/management of the recovering very low birth weight infant (present body weight <1500 grams)

      • 99299:

        • Subsequent intensive care for evaluation/management of the recovering low birth weight infant (present body weight 1500 - 2500 grams)

          “…requires intensive cardiac and respiratory monitoring, continuous and/or frequent vital sign monitoring, heat maintenance, enteral and/or parenteral nutritional adjustments, lab or oxygen monitoring and constant observation by the health care team…”

    Day of discharge codes
    Day of Discharge Codes

    • The Rules:

      • Used to report total duration of time spent by a physician for final hospital discharge of a patient.

      • Include final exam of patient, discussion of hospitalization, instructions for continuing care to care-givers

      • Preparation of discharge papers, prescriptions, referral forms

    • The codes:

      • 99238:

        • Hospital discharge management: 30 minutes or less (rare)

      • 99239:

        • Hospital discharge management: More than 30 minutes

    Conference codes can be used with bundled codes
    Conference Codes (Can be used with bundled codes)

    99361 – Medical conference by a physician with an interdisciplinary team of health care

    professionals ~ 30 minutes

    99362 – Medical conference by a physician with an interdisciplinary team of health care

    professionals ~ 60 minutes

    99356 – Family conference first 60 min.

    99357 – each additional 30 min.

    Other useful codes

    • 11200 – Ligation extra digit

    • 31500 – Endotracheal Intubation

    • 31515 – Laryngoscopy with aspiration

    • 31520 – Diagnostic laryngoscopy

    • 32000 – Thoracentesis

    • 32020 – Chest tube

    • 36488 – Central Venous catheter

    • 36510 – UVC – Catheter

    • 36600 – Arterial puncture

    36620 – Percutaneous art line

    36490 – Venous Cut Down

    36450 – Exchange transfusion

    36660 – UAC Catheter

    51000 – Bladder tap

    51701 / 51702 – Bladder Cath

    54150 - Circumcision

    61020 – Ventricular tap

    62270 – Spinal tap

    Coding questions 2004
    Coding Questions 2004

    Example 1:

    Baby Kraybill is a 1800 gram infant born by vaginal delivery

    on 07/31/04 with APGAR scores of 7, 9. He initially has

    mild respiratory distress and is admitted to the NICU and placed

    in a hood at 35% oxygen. Catheters are not placed. The baby

    is placed on antibiotics. On 08/01/04 the baby is on nasal

    cannula oxygen at (100% FiO2 with ½ liter flow) and TPN is

    started. He remains on nasal cannula oxygen and small feedings

    are started on 08/02/04. The baby is placed under the bilirubin

    lights on 08/02/04 and oxygen is stopped on 08/07/04. His weight

    on 08/07/04 is 1900 grams.

    Coding questions
    Coding Questions

    Example 1:

    1. The code (s) for 07/31/04:

    a. 99222 (Moderately complex)

    b. 99223 (Highly complex)

    c. 99295 (Critical Care)

    2. The code (s) for 08/01/04 – 08/07/04 :

    a. 99233 (Highly complex)

    b. 99296 (Critical care 2-30 days)

    c. 99299 (Intensive care 1500-2500g)

    Coding questions1
    Coding Questions

    Example 2:

    Baby Lawson is a 1430 gram infant in an isolette on Day 13 of life (08/13/04). He is on nasal cannula oxygen (100% ¼ liter flow). He is also on caffeine for self resolving apnea of prematurity, diuretics for mild lung disease and Epogen for anemia.

    The code for 08/13/04:

    a. 99296 (Critical care 2-30 days)

    b. 99233 (Highly complex)

    c. 99298 (Intensive care < 1500g)

    Coding questions2
    Coding Questions

    Example 3:

    Baby Rojas is born at 38 weeks gestation on 10/31/04 weighing 2600 grams. There is a maternal history of chorioamnionitis for which she received intrapartum antibiotics. Dr. Price attends the delivery, does not provide positive pressure ventilation and admits the infant to the NICU. The baby has respiratory distress, and a blood culture, a chest x-ray and a spinal tap is done. The mother had previously experienced a neonatal loss with GBS Sepsis. The family is extremely anxious and Dr. Price spends one hour with the extended family discussing the admission, status and plans. The infant loses 200gm, is treated with antibiotics and maintains an oxygen requirement by hood until 11/03/04. He remains NPO until 11/2/04.

    Coding questions3
    Coding Questions

    Example 3:

    1. The code (s) for 10/31/04:

    99436 (Attend delivery)

    99223 ( Initial,Highly complex)

    99295 (Initial, Critical Care),

    99222 (Moderately Complex)

    62270 (LP)

    99356 (Family conference)

    2. The code (s) for 11/02/04:

    99232 (Subsequent day, Moderately Complex)

    99233 (Subsequent day, Highly Complex)

    99299 (Subsequent day,

    Intensive Care 1500-2500g)

    Coding questions4
    Coding Questions

    Example 4:

    Baby Clingenpeel is a 30 day old infant who weighs 2460 grams on 10/31/04. The baby was initially diagnosed with RDS that resolved and by 10/31/04 was a growing infant on no medications except for vitamins. On 11/01/04, the baby became apneic, mottled, was intubated and a PICC is placed. He remained on a ventilator until 11/04/04. He was then placed on NC oxygen and feeds were re-started. The baby’s weight on 11/04 was 2485 grams.

    Coding questions5
    Coding Questions

    Example 4:

    1. The code (s) for 10/31/04:

    a. 99298 (Intensive Care < 1500g)

    b. 99299 (Intensive Care 1500-2500g)

    c. 99233 (Highly complex)

    2. The code (s) for 11/01/04:

    a. 99296 (Critical Care 2-30d), 36568 (PICC)

    b. 99294 (Critical Care > 30 d), 36568 (PICC)

    c. 99299 (Intensive Care 1500-2500g), 36568 (PICC)

    3. The code (s) for 11/04/04:

    a. 99296 (Critical Care 2-30d)

    b. 99294 (Critical Care > 30d)

    c. 99299 (Intensive Care 1500-2500g)

    Coding questions6
    Coding Questions

    Example 5:

    Baby Pearson is a near term infant weighing 2800 grams born on 10/31/04 at 11:00 PM by C-Section for fetal distress. An NNP attends the delivery, provides positive pressure ventilation and admits the patient to the NICU. An IV is placed and the baby is placed in a hood in 30% oxygen. The neonatologist is asleep in the call room. On 11/01/04 the neonatologist examines the patient and discusses her with the NNP. The NNP is employed by the neonatal group.

    Coding questions7
    Coding Questions

    Example 5:

    1. The code (s) for 10/31/04:

    99436 (Attend delivery)

    99440 (Resuscitation)

    99223 (Initial day Highly Complex)

    99295 (Initial day, Critical Care 0-30d)

    No Charge

    2. The code (s) for 11/01/04:

    99296 (Critical Care, subsequent day)

    99223 (Initial day, Highly complex)

    99233 (Highly complex, subsequent day)

    Coding questions8
    Coding Questions

    Example 6:

    Baby Gordon is born by C-Section due to fetal distress on 10/31/04. There is thick meconium at delivery. The neonatal fellow attends the delivery, intubates and suctions the trachea, places a UVC and performs positive pressure ventilation in the DR. Dr. Bose sticks his head into the DR, asks if everything is OK and waits until the fellow says that the baby is stable before leaving. The baby is admitted to the NICU and placed on a ventilator. The fellow writes the note and Dr. Bose examines the patient and writes a brief note referring to the fellow’s note.

    Coding questions9
    Coding Questions

    Example 6:

    1. The code (s) for 10/31/04:

    99436 (Attend at delivery)

    99440 (Resuscitation)

    99295 (Initial day Critical Care)

    99223 (Initial day Highly Complex)

    31500 (Intubation)

    31515 (Laryngoscopy with aspiration)

    36510 (UVC)

    Coding questions10
    Coding Questions

    Example 7:

    This case is identical to #6 but Dr. Bose is in the DR and supervises the fellow. He remains in the DR and under his supervision the infant is intubated for meconium but does not require subsequent intubation, lines or positive pressure ventilation in the DR. He examines the patient and refers to the fellow’s note in writing his own admit note. Four hours after admission the patient requires intubation. A UVC is attempted at that time and is unsuccessful. The NNP places a PICC that is not central. The fellow removes that line and replaces it with a central PICC.

    Coding questions11
    Coding Questions

    Example 7:

    The code (s) for 10/31/04:

    99436 (Attend at delivery)

    99440 (Resuscitation)

    99295 (Initial day Critical Care)

    99223 (Initial day Highly Complex)

    31500 (Intubation)

    31515 (Laryngoscopy with aspiration)

    36510 (UVC)

    36568 (PICC)