January 23, 2014
What is the right code and way to document a stand by tracheostomy? Here’s a clinical scenario… 70 y/o woman comes in to the ER with tongue swelling, she has respiratory distress needs intubation. I get called in to stand by while the anesthesiologist performs an intubation. I will need to perform a tracheostomy if the intubation fails. No trach needed. I just watched the anesthesiologist intubate the patient. No intervention from my part. What code should I use for this procedure? What is the reimbursement?
The standby code is 99360 Physician standby service, requiring prolonged physician attendance, each 30 minutes (e.g., operative standby, standby for frozen section, for cesarean/high risk delivery, for monitoring EEG). You may bill 1 unit of this code for each 30 minutes of standby. Unfortunately, Medicare does not reimburse this code but some of your other payors might.