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Chapter 4.5. Division of Workers' Compensation
Article 5.3. Official Medical Fee Schedule

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§9789.16.2. Surgery - Billing Requirements for Global Surgeries.

To ensure the proper identification of services that are, or are not, included in the global package, the following procedures apply.

(a) Procedure Codes and Modifiers

Use of the modifiers in this section apply to both major procedures with a 90-day postoperative period and minor procedures with a 10-day postoperative period (and/or a zero day postoperative period in the case of modifiers “-22” and “-25”).

(1) Physicians Who Furnish the Entire Global Surgical Package.

Physicians who perform the surgery and furnish all of the usual pre-and postoperative work bill for the global package by entering the appropriate CPT code for the surgical procedure only. Billing is not allowed for visits or other services that are included in the global package.

(2) Physicians in Group Practice.

When different physicians in a group practice participate in the care of the patient, the group bills for the entire global package if the physicians reassign benefits to the group. The physician who performs the surgery is shown as the performing (rendering) physician.

(3) Physicians Who Furnish Part of a Global Surgical Package

Where physicians agree on the transfer of care during the global period, the following modifiers are used:

• “-54” for surgical care only; or

• “-55” for postoperative management only.

Both the bill for the surgical care only and the bill for the postoperative care only, will contain the same date of service and the same surgical procedure code, with the services distinguished by the use of the appropriate modifier.

Physicians need not specify on the claim that care has been transferred. However, the date on which care was relinquished or assumed, as applicable, must be shown on the claim. This should be indicated in the remarks field/free text segment on the claim form/format. Both the surgeon and the physician providing the postoperative care must keep a copy of the written transfer agreement in the beneficiary's medical record.

Where a transfer of postoperative care occurs, the receiving physician cannot bill for any part of the global services until he/she has provided at least one service. Once the physician has seen the patient, that physician may bill for the period beginning with the date on which he/she assumes care of the patient.


• Where a transfer of care does not occur, occasional post-discharge services of a physician other than the surgeon are reported by the appropriate evaluation and management code. No modifiers are necessary on the claim.

• If the transfer of care occurs immediately after surgery, the physician other than the surgeon who provides the in-hospital postoperative care bills using subsequent hospital care codes for the inpatient hospital care and the surgical code with the “-55” modifier for the post-discharge care. The surgeon bills the surgery code with the “-54” modifier.

• Physicians who provide follow-up services for minor procedures performed in emergency departments bill the appropriate level of office visit code. The physician who performs the emergency room service bills for the surgical procedure without a modifier.

• If the services of a physician other than the surgeon are required during a postoperative period for an underlying condition or medical complication, the other physician reports the appropriate evaluation and management code. No modifiers are necessary on the claim. An example is a cardiologist who manages underlying cardiovascular conditions of a patient.

(4) Evaluation and Management Service Resulting in the Initial Decision to Perform Surgery.

Evaluation and management services on the day before major surgery or on the day of major surgery that result in the initial decision to perform the surgery are not included in the global surgery payment for the major surgery and, therefore, may be paid separately.

In addition to the CPT evaluation and management code, modifier “-57” (decision for surgery) is used to identify a visit which results in the initial decision to perform surgery.

If evaluation and management services occur on the day of surgery, use modifier “-57,” not “-25.” The “-57” modifier is not used with minor surgeries because the global period for minor surgeries does not include the day prior to the surgery. Moreover, where the decision to perform the minor procedure is typically done immediately before the service, it is considered a routine preoperative service and a visit is not separately payable in addition to the procedure.

(5) Return Trips to the Operating Room During the Postoperative Period for Treatment of Complications.

When treatment for complications requires a return trip to the operating room, physicians must bill the CPT code that describes the procedure(s) performed during the return trip. If no such code exists, use the unlisted procedure code in the correct series, e.g., 47999 or 64999. The procedure code for the original surgery is not used except when the identical procedure is repeated. In addition to the CPT code, use CPT modifier “-78” for return trips (return to the operating room for a related procedure during a postoperative period).

The physician may also need to indicate that another procedure was performed during the postoperative period of the initial procedure. When this subsequent procedure is related to the first procedure, and requires the use of the operating room, report this circumstance by adding the modifier “-78” to the related procedure.

(6) Staged or Related Procedures. Use modifier “-58” for staged or related surgical procedures done during the postoperative period of the first procedure. This modifier is not used to report the treatment of a problem that requires a return to the operating room.

Modifier “-58” is added to the staged procedure when the performance of a procedure or service during the postoperative period was:

(A) Planned prospectively or at the time of the original procedure;

(B) More extensive than the original procedure; or

(C) For therapy following a diagnostic surgical procedure.

A new postoperative period begins when the next procedure in the series is billed.

(7) Unrelated Procedures or Visits During the Postoperative Period.

CPT modifiers “-79” and “-24” are used for visits and other procedures which are furnished during the postoperative period of a surgical procedure, but which are not included in the payment for the surgical procedure.

(A) Modifier “-79” reports an unrelated procedure by the same physician during a postoperative period. A new postoperative period begins with the unrelated procedure.

(B) Modifier “-24” reports an unrelated evaluation and management service by same physician during a postoperative period. Services submitted with the “-24” modifier must be sufficiently documented to establish that the visit was unrelated to the surgery. An ICD-9-CM code that clearly indicates that the reason for the encounter was unrelated to the surgery is acceptable documentation. A physician who is responsible for postoperative care using modifier “-55” should also use modifier “-24” to report any unrelated visits.

(8) Significant Evaluation and Management on the Day of a Procedure. Modifier “-25” is used for evaluation and management services on the day of a procedure for which separate payment may be made. It is used to report a significant, separately identifiable evaluation and management service by the same physician on the day of a procedure. The physician may need to indicate that on the day a procedure or service that is identified with a CPT code was performed, the patient's condition required a significant, separately identifiable evaluation and management service above and beyond the usual preoperative and postoperative care associated with the procedure or service that was performed. This circumstance may be reported by adding the modifier “-25” to the appropriate level of evaluation and management service.

(9) Critical Care. Critical care services provided during a global surgical period for a seriously injured or burned patient are not considered related to a surgical procedure and may be paid separately under the following circumstances. Preoperative and postoperative critical care may be paid in addition to a global fee if:

(A) The patient is critically ill and requires the constant attendance of the physician; and

(B) The critical care is above and beyond, and, in most instances, unrelated to the specific anatomic injury or general surgical procedure performed. Such patients are potentially unstable or have conditions that could pose a significant threat to life or risk of prolonged impairment.

In order for these services to be paid, two reporting requirements must be met:

• Codes 99291/99292 and modifier “-25” (for preoperative care) or “-24” (for postoperative care) must be used; and

• Documentation that the critical care was unrelated to the specific anatomic injury or general surgical procedure performed must be submitted. An ICD-9-CM code in the range 800.0 through 959.9 (except 930-939), which clearly indicates that the critical care was unrelated to the surgery, is acceptable documentation.

(10) Unusual Circumstances. Surgeries for which services performed are significantly greater than usually required may be billed with the “-22” modifier added to the CPT code for the procedure. Surgeries for which services performed are significantly less than usually required may be billed with the “-52” modifier. The biller must provide:

• A concise statement about how the service differs from the usual; and

• An operative report with the claim.

Modifier “-22” should only be reported with procedure codes that have a global period of 0, 10, or 90 days. There is no such restriction on the use of modifier “-52.”

(b) Date(s) of Service

Physicians, who bill for the entire global surgical package or for only a portion of the care, must enter the date on which the surgical procedure was performed in the “From/To” date of service field. This will enable the claims administrator to relate all appropriate billings to the correct surgery. Physicians who share postoperative management with another physician must submit additional information showing when they assumed and relinquished responsibility for the postoperative care. If the physician who performed the surgery relinquishes care at the time of discharge, he or she need only show the date of surgery when billing with modifier “-54.”

However, if the surgeon also cares for the patient for some period following discharge, the surgeon must show the date of surgery and the date on which postoperative care was relinquished to another physician. The physician providing the remaining postoperative care must show the date care was assumed. This information should be shown in Item 19 on the paper Form CMS-1500, or as specified in the ANSI ASC X12N 005010X222A1 Health Care Claim Payment/Advice (837) for electronic claims.

Note: Authority: Sections 133, 4603.5, 5307.1 and 5307.3, Labor Code. Reference: Sections 4600, 5307.1 and 5307.11, Labor Code.


1. New section filed 9-24-2013; operative 1-1-2014. Submitted to OAL as a file and print only pursuant to Government Code section 11340.9(g) (Register 2013, No. 39).

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