Basics about 76 modifier
As per my knowledge and experience, Modifiers play a very important role in Medical coding. Modifiers are very used when there is a modification in the procedure performed. Modifiers are very important for Clearing CPC certification exam as well. There will at least one question about Modifier 76, Modifier 59 and other modifiers. 76 is only of the most commonly used modifier especially in outpatient setting. Modifier 76 is used for the procedure being repeated on same day by same physician. This looks very easy to learn but while coding charts you have to be careful. We will just learn first Modifier 76 description and then how it can be used in CPT coding. Modifier 76 is used when it is necessary to report a procedure repeated subsequent to the original procedure when the same physician performs the services.
Use of Modifier 76 in Outpatient setting
From last few years, I am using Modifier 76 very frequently. Since I am a coder of Radiology facility, I come across Modifier 76 everyday. There are many procedures, which are repeated, and we tend to use Modifier 76 in such cases. For example if we have a patient coming for flank pain and the physician performs Retroperitoneal ultrasound complete 76770 for flank pain and again the patient comes same day to same physician with renal problem and again the physician perform Retroperitoneal ultrasound complete 76770. Now, in such cases we have to use 76 with 76770 when same physician repeats the procedure on same day. Another example from Interventional radiology, suppose a patient comes with chest pain in morning and physician perform one view of chest x ray 71010. Now, in afternoon the same patient come to physician and the physician places a central venous catheter tunneled 36561 in chest. After placing the central venous catheter physician again perform a chest x-ray 71010 to check proper placement of catheter, then this chest x-ray exam is coded with Modifier 76. If we don’t assign 76, the insurance companies will think the exam is duplicated to increase the dollar value, hence 76 is used.Now, if you are very much clear with that I will create a little confusion here. As a learner what I will conclude from above example is same CPT codes performed on same day by same physician will get Modifier 76. However, it is not possible for every scenarios and CPT as well. Let learn more about modifier 76 in detail.
Do not use Modifier 76 to same CPT codes
As I have told you, Modifier 76 can be used only when the same procedure is performed same day. However, in Medical coding we give same CPT codes even for different procedure. We have limited CPT codes so there are few CPT codes used again if a same kind of procedure is performed but on different anatomic location. For example, CPT code 93970 and 93971 are the best example for above scenario. When Duplex ultrasound is performed on vein of bilateral lower extremity we assign 93970 CPT code and for bilateral upper extremity as well 93970. Therefore, in such scenario we cannot use modifier 76. Here we will assign modifier 59 or XS, because there is difference in anatomic structure and location. Hope you would have got a clear idea about Modifier 76. It is easy to apply if you have gain sufficient experience in coding.
Don’t confuse between Modifier 76 and 77
Their is very little difference between 76 and 77 modifier. Just go through the description for both modifiers below.
Modifier 76 – Repeat Procedure or Service by Same Physician or Other Qualified Health Care Professional
Modifier 77 – Repeat Procedure by Another (different) Physician or Other Qualified Health Care Professional
So, always check the physician before assigning 76 and 77 modifier. If the same physician repeat the procedure, use 76 and when different physician repeat the procedure same day, use modifier 77.
Hope, now you will be able to code 76, 77 and 59 modifier confidently along with procedure codes. Do share the article if you liked it and share your thoughts about these modifiers in the comment section.