Wound VAC doesn’t apply because a wound is healing slowly

I’m thinking of creating a pressure ulcer page on the blog … I get so many questions on these wounds! At the end of this post, you’ll see some key words in green … if you want to find all posts that deal with stage II pressure ulcers, click on that link and you will have the archive!

Question: We have a patient being recertified. She has a stage II pressure ulcer and has been coded as such up to now. There is a discussion as to how to appropriately code with the placement of a wound VAC. Some are saying to code 891.1, complicated open wound, to account for the VAC. I’m thinking that I will continue to code the pressure ulcer to the ankle with a code for the stage. There is no documentation of the wound being infected, it’s just slow to heal and is now being treated with the VAC. I didn’t think there was a code we could use to capture the VAC.

Any advice?

Lisa says: You are correct! The wound is still a pressure ulcer, and there is no code for wound VAC. Coding the wound with an 800 code is incorrect and is considered upcoding. The nature of a pressure ulcer is chronic. The 800 codes are used for trauma wounds.

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