Outpatient FAQ October 2018

on Tuesday, 02 October 2018. All News Items | FAQ

Is this a PICC line?


We have documentation that a PICC line nurse inserted a “PIV” in the patient’s right lower arm with a 20-gauge needle / angiocath. If the nurse had also documented the vein as the cephalic, basilic, or dorsalic, could we report this as a PICC line insertion, CPT code 36569?


This sounds like a regular IV start that happened to be done by the PICC nurse.

Usually, if the PICC nurse puts in a true PICC line, they will specifically call it a PICC line. In your question, the PICC nurse calls it a PIV = peripheral IV, and they used a 20-gauge needle.

In order to report a PICC line, you would also need documentation of the final position of the catheter tip in a central vessel or right atrium – per CPT guidelines.

We usually see this documented by a chest x-ray or with a tip confirmation system like Sherlock.

Based on the details stated in the question, and assuming the PIV will be used for medications and/or IV fluids, there is not a CPT code to report.

It’s just an IV start - - even if it was difficult and required the skills of a PICC nurse.

Article by Jeff Gordon

Jeff Gordon, RN, MSN, CCA, COC is the Manager of Outpatient Medical Review at Medical Management Plus, Inc. Jeff has over thirty-five years of experience in healthcare including Critical Care, Infection Control, Quality Assurance, Medical Necessity, Outpatient Coding, Medicare Claims data analysis and Medical Record review. You may contact Jeff at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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