Wound fillers are dressing materials which are placed into open wounds to eliminate dead space, absorb exudate, or maintain a moist wound surface.
Wound fillers come in hydrated forms (e.g., pastes, gels), dry forms (e.g., powder, granules, beads), or other forms such as rope, spiral, pillows, etc. For certain materials, unique codes have been established – i.e., collagen wound filler (A6010, A6011, A6024), alginate or other fiber gelling wound filler (A6199), foam wound filler (A6215), hydrocolloid wound filler (A6240, A6241), hydrogel wound filler (A6248), and non-impregnated packing strips (A6407). Wound fillers not falling into any of these categories are coded as A6261 or A6262.
It may not be appropriate to use some combinations of a hydrating dressing on the same wound at the same time as an absorptive dressing (e.g., hydrogel and alginate). Because composite dressings, foam and hydrocolloid wound covers, and transparent film, when used as secondary dressings, are meant to be changed at frequencies less than daily, appropriate clinical judgment should be used to avoid their use with primary dressings which require more frequent dressing changes. When claims are submitted for these dressings for changes greater than once every other day, the quantity in excess of that amount will be denied as not reasonable and necessary. While a highly exudative wound might require such a combination initially, with continued proper management the wound usually progresses to a point where the appropriate selection of these products results in the less frequent dressing changes which they are designed to allow. An example of an inappropriate combination is the use of a specialty absorptive dressing on top of non-impregnated gauze being used as a primary dressing.
The units of service for wound fillers are 1 gram, 1 fluid ounce, 6 inch length, or one yard depending on the product. If the individual product is packaged as a fraction of a unit (e.g., 1/2 fluid ounce), determine the units billed by multiplying the number dispensed times the individual product size and rounding to the nearest whole number. For example, if eleven (11) 1/2 oz. tubes of a wound filler are dispensed, bill 6 units (11 x 1/2 = 5.5; round to 6).
For some wound fillers, the units on the package do not correspond to the units of the code. For example, some pastes or gels are labeled as grams (instead of fluid ounces), some wound fillers are labeled as cc. or ml. (instead of fluid ounces or grams), some are described by linear dimensions (instead of grams). In these situations, the supplier must contact the manufacturer to determine the appropriate conversion factor or unit of service which corresponds to the code.