Fam Pract Manag. 2020 Jan-Feb;27(1):33.

Author disclosure: no relevant financial affiliations disclosed.



I am seeing patients with respiratory symptoms associated with vaping (e.g., cough or chest pain). What code should we report to indicate this?


Assign a code for the patient’s diagnosed condition or symptoms. For patients with acute lung injury but no further documentation of a specific condition, such as bronchitis or pneumonitis, you can assign ICD-10 code J68.9 for “Unspecified respiratory condition due to chemicals, gases, fumes, and vapors.” For symptoms attributed to exposure to vaping, also assign code Z77.29, “Contact with and (suspected) exposure to other hazardous substances.” If the patient is nicotine-dependent and using electronic cigarettes (i.e., vaping a nicotine product), also assign a code from category F17.29-(sixth character required) for “Nicotine dependence, other tobacco product.” At this time there is no diagnostic code specific to vaping, but that may change in the future.

Editor's note: Since this article was published, it has been announced that a new code for vaping-related illness, U07.0, will be added to ICD-10-CM effective April 1, 2020.



Our billing office has received calls from patients and families stating that our office is not allowed to bill them for the Medicare deductible and coinsurance amounts because the patient is a Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB). Is this correct? If so, how do we identify these patients?


This is correct. Federal law prohibits billing patients who are QMBs, which are Medicare recipients who meet certain income limits. This rule applies whether or not your practice accepts Medicaid (which covers out-of-pocket costs for some QMBs). QMBs may be covered by original Medicare Part B or a Medicare Advantage plan. For patients covered by Medicare Part B, your staff can verify QMB status prior


Cindy Hughes is an independent consulting editor based in El Dorado, Kan., and a contributing editor to FPM.

Author disclosure: no relevant financial affiliations disclosed.

Reviewed by the FPM Coding & Documentation Review Panel. Some payers may not agree with the advice given. Refer to current coding manuals and payer policies.


Send questions and comments to, or add your comments below. While this department attempts to provide accurate information, some payers may not accept the advice given. Refer to the current CPT and ICD-10 coding manuals and payer policies.


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