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Seven savvy tips for coding sepsis and SIRS

Many physicians say that systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) criteria are insufficient and confusing at best, and don't indicate whether a patient is truly sick. Some patients may meet necessary criteria for SIRS and truly have sepsis or another severe diagnosis. Others, however, may meet two of four criteria but not actually have SIRS. Where does all of this information leave coders? Often between a rock and hard place. Jennifer E. Avery, CCS, CPC-H, CPC, CPC-I, and Robert S. Gold, MD, offer seven tips for coders who need to negotiate tricky sepsis coding.

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