Coding for ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialists, or otolaryngologists, is a decidedly intricate task. The complexities with which certified ENT specialty coders are faced necessitate broad experience that includes specific, sweeping understanding of pertinent medical terminology, related anatomy, and physiology. ENT’s diagnose and treat diseases of the ear, nose, throat, and mouth as well as structures of the face and neck. Otolaryngology covers seven specialty fields which comprise the scope of practice:
- Otology / Neurotology: Hearing loss and audiology procedures
- Rhinology: Nasal and sinus procedures
- Laryngology: Esophageal procedures, endoscopy
- Head and neck procedures
- Pediatric Otolaryngology: Full spectrum of otolaryngology disease, birth defects, injury, and infection in children
- Constructive and cosmetic facial plastics
- Allergy: Pharmacological treatments and Immunotherapy
In the past, there have been several areas in which coding errors have commonly occurred. One of the biggest errors has been miscoding incisions and excisions. Medical coders that are not adept at interpreting information from operative notes, or do not have the relevant terminology experience, can make these types of mistakes. Many coding errors have also been found in claims for sinus procedures regarding anatomic markers, or features. This information is key in understanding laterality and orientation, and must be correctly determined in order to apply the proper codes.
The complex scenarios experienced in every ENT practice require specialized medical coders that are able to read, interpret and abstract all of the pertinent information provided. Highly capable coders ensure that physicians realize the reimbursements that they are due in total, and in a timely manner. The certain, intrinsic nature of the professional ENT coder’s work product will reduce risks of claim denials, non-compliance, and audit.