Case: An 85 year old male with past history of CVA and GERD is admitted from home for RLL “community acquired” pneumonia (CAP) and treated with Rocephin and Zithromax.
Documentation throughout the record including discharge summary is CAP except ID consult on day 2 with impression “CAP due to aspiration” and Rocephin changed to Zosyn.
What is the principal diagnosis?
Answer: The principal diagnosis should be aspiration pneumonia. A query for clarification is not required even though the diagnosis of “CAP due to aspiration” is documented by a physician other than the attending. Rationale:
Also from Medicare’s MLN SE1121: “The failure of the attending physician to mention a consultant’s diagnosis is not a conflict…. As with all codes, clinical evidence should be present in the medical record to support code assignment.”
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