2011 brings a new coding option when reporting the middle day of observations that last longer than two days. Check out this expert advice on how CPT additions will affect your FP’s observation care services coding starting on Jan. 1, 2011.
Until this point, coding for the “middle days” of an observation service caused problems. Although not the norm, there are times when a physician admits a patient to observation and she remains in that status for three or more days. CPT 2011 addresses these middle days between admission and discharge by introducing three new E/M codes. The additions parallel the hospital subsequent care series in terms of component requirements and time frames:
- 99224 – Subsequent observation care, per day, for the evaluation and management of a patient, which requires at least 2 of these 3 key components: Problem focused interval history; Problem focused examination; Medical decision making that is straightforward or of low complexity. Counseling and/or coordination of care with other providers or agencies are provided consistent with the nature of the problem(s) and the patient’s and/or family’s needs. Usually, the patient is stable, recovering, or improving. Physicians typically spend 15 minutes at the bedside and on the patient’s hospital floor or unit.
- 99225 — … an expanded problem focused interval history; an expanded problem focused examination; Medical decision making of moderate complexity. Counseling and/ or coordination of care with other providers or agencies are provided consistent with the nature of the problem(s) and the patient’s and/or family’s needs. Usually, the patient is responding inadequately to therapy or has developed a minor complication. Physicians typically spend 25 minutes at the bedside and on the patient’s hospital floor or unit.
- 99226 — … a detailed interval history; a detailed examination; Medical decision making of high complexity. Counseling and/or