Laterality needed in CPT and ICD-10 codes

Carl Natale
by Carl Natale
Laterality needed in CPT and ICD-10 codes

Redundancy is rarely desired. But when it comes to medical coding, it seems to be still be a virtue.

Since laterality is now a detail communicated in ICD-10-CM, it would seem that it would take care of the need to document laterality in Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes. At least that was the thinking that behind an AAPC ICD-10 Forum question.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have addressed this clearly in one of its ICD-10 overviews:

"While ICD-10-CM codes have expanded detail, including specification of laterality for some conditions, you should continue to follow CPT and CMS guidance when you report CPT/HCPCS modifiers for laterality."

Even so, medical coders shouldn't give healthcare payers any reason to deny claims.

Here's a round up of recent articles and posts on how to code diagnoses and procedures in ICD-10:


How sad it would be to have felinophobia! #cats #crazycatlady #medicalcoder #icd10

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This is a weekly feature that I use to highlight practical tips on how to use and understand ICD-10-CM/PCS codes. Please let me know of any other sources that I can include.