CMS chose not to include code 428.0 (congestive heart failure, unspecified) as a CC. That disappoints James S. Kennedy, MD, CCS, CDIP, managing director at FTI Consulting in Atlanta, because in some instances of acute heart failure, no systolic or diastolic heart muscle disease is present, such as in acute aortic or mitral insufficiency.
In other cases the treating physician or surgeon simply did not want to incur unnecessary healthcare spending to get an echocardiogram needed to determine whether the heart failure is currently systolic or diastolic.
"I estimate that 20% of concurrent CDI work is to clarify this very issue which, if classifying 428.0 as a CC was approved as requested, would have reduced the work and hassle involved in clarifying systolic or diastolic heart failure and improve hospital efficiency and cost which, in turn, could be passed along to the government," Kennedy says.
CMS also finalized the move of code 584.8 (acute renal failure with a specified pathological lesion) from an MCC to a CC based on their analysis of MedPAR data. Although this move is a disappointment, it may result in official follow-up on the advice provided in the AHA's Coding Clinic, 3rd Quarter, 2011, in which coders were instructed to report acute renal failure due to specified pathological lesions, such as lupus nephritis, to code 584.9 (acute renal failure, unspecified), instead of code 584.8 Kennedy says.