03/29/16 – Pain blocks for post-operative pain management


Question: Can orders for post-op blocks from the surgeon be verbal?

Answer: The surgeon may place a verbal order for a post-operative block, but the verbal order must be documented — and they can get lost. The best practice is to get a separate written order from the surgeon. Reminder – a block performed without a documented request may not be reimbursed if reviewed by the payor.


As auditors ramp up their scrutiny of anesthesia services, blocks performed without the request will be an easy target, but it may not take an audit to stop payments. For example, Cigna will not process a claim for a block without documentation that supports medical necessity.

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