The span of services rendered by neurology specialists demands exceptional and experienced neurology coders to appropriately interpret and relay the myriad of possible diagnostic and evaluation scenarios in addition to the neurological conditions and diseases treated. Coding of these intricate services presents a challenge for even the most experienced medical coder. Proper interpretation and code application will ensure that revenue streams are sustained and that your practice is in compliance with all regulatory bodies.
This field of medicine is concerned with the nervous systems of the body encompassing the central, autonomic, and the peripheral nervous systems, and additionally, disorders of the neuromuscular junction and muscle. Conditions most often treated by neurologists include headaches, head trauma, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, neuropathy or radiculopathy, dementia, stroke, seizures and epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Tourette’s syndrome, sleep disorders, and neuromuscular diseases. Neurology coding requires critical training due to the complex and involved nature of the nervous system and the broad diagnostic categories covered by this medical field.
As most neurologists have numerous caseloads involving Medicare patients, it is critical that certified medical coders maintain a thorough working knowledge of the latest regulations and rules pertinent to the field of neurology, as well an integrated understanding of ICD-10. The areas in which ICD-10 changed coding and documentation requirements relating to neurology include changes to definitions in terms of classifying ailments, increased specificity calling for laterality documentation when appropriate, and changes in terminology. For Example:
- Expanded codes and new classifications, in addition to increased specificity in terms of laterality, for neoplasms
- Addition of new codes and changes in terminology for diseases of the nervous system
- Increased specificity in the form of new descriptive diagnostic codes for migraines. Instead of the former single code “Variants of migraine” there are now four codes related to specific types of migraine to include periodic headache syndromes, ophthalmoplegic migraine, cyclical vomiting, and abdominal migraine.
Specialized neurology coders have the qualifications and experience required in order to effectively understand and interpret the nuances of each visit:
- Expertise in correctly presenting documentation of office visit and relevance thereof in relation to any potential diagnosis or treatment: Routine check-up, initial consultation, instance or manifestation of an event, diagnosis, or ongoing condition, or clearance for surgery.
- Proficiency of ability to interpret and condense physician office notes in order to accurately summarize the visit and visit outcome.
- Ability to document any and all test results and subsequent, or current, diagnoses and interconnecting those services across all patient-related claims. Note that it is imperative that physicians provide documentation that consistently supports the chain of services with regard to each individual patient.
ICD-10 and ICD-10-CM proficiency, and full understanding of electronic medical records, and evaluation and management documentation.
Prompt service and attention to detail are attributes that all of our coding professionals possess. PDN’s neurology coding specialists provide a consistent, accurate, and compliant work product that will serve to increase revenues and prevent claim denials and backlog occurrence. Specific neurology education, training, and practical experience is crucial in coding for neurology. Errors are costly and non-compliance can lead to audits, regulatory complaints, and legal exposure.