Endoscopy procedures fall under surgical codes

January 1, 2006

If you perform a diagnostic retrograde (52005) and the insertion of a stent (52332) at the same setting, each should be billed separately.

Q. Please let me know if the code 52000 is listed as a surgical procedure or a scope code.

I recommend that you visit the AUA Coding Today web site ( http://www.auacodingtoday.com/) and click on 52000. Under the CPT/HCPCS tab, click on the small tab "national," and you will be given a list of codes considered to be in the same family.

Q. How do you bill for a cystoscopy, laser lithotripsy of bladder stone, and endoscopy of ureteral intestinal segment with removal of multiple stones when the patient has had a transplant, including a segment of small bowel replacing the distal ureter?

A. This situation presents a very interesting problem with coding. First, a 52318-litholopaxy-crushing or fragmentation of calculus by any means in bladder and removal of fragments complicated or large (over 2.5 cm)-was performed and should be charged.

An endoscopy through a stoma from the bladder into the small intestine was performed, which could be partially coded as 44380, ileoscopy, through stoma, diagnostic, with
or without collection of specimens by brushings or washings. Unfortunately there is no comparable code to removing a foreign body through the ileoscopy. I would suggest using 52320, cystoscopy with removal of ureteral calculus, as your second code.

In this case, the stoma is from the small bowel to the bladder and the bowel is functioning as a ureter.

Therefore, I think you are perfectly correct in using the code. As a bonus, 52320 pays a lot better than 44380.

Q. What is the modifier for retrogrades and renal stents placed in the office under fluoroscopy and local anesthesia? What are the codes we should use?

A. First and foremost, for procedures performed in the office, you would use "office" as the place of service, and you would charge the non-facility fee on the fee schedule. For example, the national Medicare average payment for the non-facility fee for the insertion of the stent is $332.74, while the facility fee is $155.00.

If you perform a diagnostic retrograde (52005) and the insertion of a stent (52332) at the same setting, each should be billed separately. Not only will you need a modifier, but you will still be denied payment and will have to appeal the denial to get payment. If a physician reads the retrograde in the office and does not send it out to a radiologist for additional reading, then the physician would also charge the radiographic reading: 74420, urography, retrograde, with or without KUB.

Because you own the equipment and are reading the x-ray, charge it without a modifier. Code 74420 without a modifier pays both for the technical (-TC) and the professional fees (-26).

The fluoroscopy, unfortunately, is bundled into the other codes. If the fluoroscopy is used to facilitate the procedure, then it should not be charged.