Separate Procedure Coding

Separate Procedure Coding

September 20, 2018

Question:
What does the term “separate procedure” mean at the end of a code?

Answer:
Separate procedure is a confusing term. It means that the procedure is usually a component of a more complex service and is not reported in addition to the more complex service if performed in the same anatomic area.  A typical example is enterolysis (lysis of adhesions) which is designated as a separate procedure and not reported separately at the same session as a more complex procedure, such as a colectomy, cholecystectomy, etc.  If lysis of adhesions is extensive and the additional time and intensity is documented, a modifier 22 may be added to the primary code.

*This response is based on the best information available as of 09/20/18.

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