Correct way to code X-rays

Jan. 27, 2006
Expert suggests correctly billing the exact treatment provided.


Dear RDH eVillage:

I have been reading RDH for many years; it's a great magazine. I am constantly tearing out articles to share with other hygienists. My question is this: recently a temp hygienist came into our office and said you can charge out a pano with four bitewings as a full-mouth set of X-rays. Several of us in my office disagree, because there are separate codes for bitewings, panos, and FMXR. The temp says many offices she subs in do it this way because Delta doesn't cover bitewings the same day as a pano, so they code it as an FMXR. Could you please find out if this is OK to do? Thank you so much, Karla Koenig, RDH

Reply from Jo-Anne Jones, RDH:

My guidance in this situation is to always correctly represent the treatment you have performed, which should be specific according to the patient's needs. Our patients need to understand the reasoning behind the value of bitewings so they can make an informed decision. Without proper radiographs, a diagnosis is incomplete and not in the best interests of the health and safety of the dental patient. If the practice were to be audited, the diagnostic radiographs would have to correlate with the codes that were used to represent them. Adhere to the values and integrity of your practice without compromise. It will undoubtedly be rewarded!

Jo-Anne Jones, RDH, is a lecturer and practice coach at Advanced Dental Education Institute, Anita Jupp & Company.