Cracking the Code

Reporting PRN Medications

It is important for medical coders to understand when to accurately assign codes from category Z79, long-term (current) drug therapy. In order to assign a diagnosis from this subcategory, the provider’s documentation must support a patient receiving a medication for an extensive amount of time. If the provider’s documentation states a patient is receiving medication briefly to treat an acute illness or an as-needed basis (PRN), then it is NOT appropriate to capture a diagnosis from subcategory Z79.

Reference: References: AHA Coding Clinic First Quarter 2021 pages 12-13: Medications used on an as-needed basis
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