Pallative Care Z515 code use

I am reaching out in hope someone can provide information about the use of this code in inpatient situations.  We were visited by Health Grades this week and told we are the only facility they see exclusively using this code for "end of life care", "comfort care", "home w/ hospice", "terminal wean from vent", and "terminally ill patients". Our inpatient coders have based this decision on Coding Clinic 3rd quarter 2010 Comfort Care.

Our Health Grades representative says that all other systems they see are using code Z515 when palliative care is being used in chronic condition management regardless of code status.

Any information would be greatly appreciated.


Amy Fenton, R.N.

Clinical Documentation Specialist

Bronson Healthcare Group

Patient Safety and Quality



  • Did you receive my email on this topic?
  • Yes Paul, Thanks so much.  I am hoping to receive input from somewhere that is using it as chronic condition management as I am wondering how they are justifying it.

  • Can someone please share their input on the use of Z515 under the following scenarios:
    1. Comfort care only.
    2. Curative care is being provided, but not treating underlying illness (for e.g. multiple myeloma patient not receiving chemotherapy, but having surgery for lumbar fracture).
    3. Aggressive care delivered to patient, but Palliative Medicine has been consulted. 

    Many thanks.

  • What about hospice consult or patient agreed to hospice? Would you code z51.5 as a secondary code.
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