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Discontinued vs. Unsuccessful Procedures


Question

The ED doctor attemptted a femoral central line two times. He was unsuccessful. Should this be coded with the modifer-25. In the past I was told for an unsuccesful Lumbar Puncture we didn’t need the modifer because the fluid may not have been retrieved due to a medical problem. We have charged for the materials used.

Answer

A completed procedure can be coded whether or not it was successful.  A discontinued procedure can be identified with modifier 52 if no anesthesia was planned.  You can do a search on this website for an article titled "Discontinued vs. Unsuccessful Procedures" for more information.

Disclaimer: All articles intended for general guidance only and not as a recommendation for a specific situation. Readers should consult an official source (AHA, AMA, etc.) or a qualified attorney for specific legal guidance.
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