Bronchial Washing vs Bronchoalveolar Washing coding

Can a Bronchoscopy with documented Bronchial Washing RUL be coded as a BAL/Bronchoalveolar Washing for a Surg DRG, or can only Bronchial Washing of RUL bronchus be coded for no impact in DRG?  I'm feeling  a query would be needed to have clarified if that Bronchial Washing included Bronchoalveolar Washing before could code as a BAL.  I have not been able to find any documented guidance in this so thought I post here.  Thanks for your assistance!


  • Correction Notice: Bronchoalveolar Lavage

    Coding Clinic, First Quarter 2017: Page 51

    Coding advice or code assignments contained in this issue effective with discharges March 13, 2017.

    Coding Clinic, First Quarter 2016, page 26, contained an error regarding the appropriate ICD-10-PCS code for bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL). Code 0B9B8ZX, Drainage of left lower lobe bronchus via natural or artificial opening endoscopic, is not the correct code. BAL involves washing out and sampling alveoli of the lung (small sacs within the lungs). The appropriate code assignment for a BAL is as follows:

    Drainage of left lower lung lobe, via natural or artificial opening endoscopic, diagnostic 

    The lung body part values more accurately capture the objective of bronchoalveolar lavage, and coding to the lung is consistent with the general PCS convention of coding treatment of a tubular body part to the furthest anatomical site reached. In this case it is alveolar (lung) tissue.

  • For what it is worth I tried the OB9JZX as a diagnostic and also tried it with no qualifier as OB9JZZ and I got DRG 168 both times.   (Using pneumonia as the pdx.)
  • So then can I assume that you are saying then that if a Bronchoscopy w/ "Bronchial Washing" is documented, it can be coded as Bronchoalveolar Washing for the Surg DRG?  Just want to confirm...thanks.

  • .......asking since your referenced codes 0B9JZX and 0B9JZZ are BAL codes.  My question refers to if physician documents "Bronchial Washing of RUL bronchus" instead of documenting Bronchoalveolar Washing (for BAL).  I'm thinking this cannot be coded as a BAL and looking for guidance.   Thanks again for any assistance, it is greatly appreciated.

  • We would code the bronchial washing of RUL bronchus as drainage of bronchus, right lower lobe (non-valid OR procedure).  If the lavage was documented as BAL or Bronchioalveolar we would code as drainage of lung, RUL, which is a valid OR procedure.
  • I agree with above. if the provider specifically says lavage of the bronchus- you need to apply the code for bronchus as opposed to documentation stating BAL.

  • Thank you for your input!  I will pass this on to our CDI team.
  • A diagnostic BAL (in which a sample is sent for analysis) is coded as 0B9C8ZX (a non-OR procedure).

    Interestingly, a BAL performed purely for therapeutic (non-diagnostic) purposes, typically for thick obstructing secretions, with no sample sent for analysis is coded 0B9C8ZZ which is an OR procedure assigned to a surgical DRG.

    Richard D. Pinson, MD, FACP, CCS
    Pinson & Tang
    CDI Educators and Advisers
    Authors of the CDI Pocket Guide

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