If my patient is registered in the emergency department and I am asked to see him/her, may I submit the emergency service?

Answer
If a physician advises his/her own patient to go to an emergency department (ED) of a hospital for care and the physician subsequently is asked by the ED physician to come to the hospital to evaluate the patient and to advise the ED physician as to whether the patient should be admitted to the hospital or be sent home, the physician should bill as follows:

  • If the patient is admitted to the hospital by the patient’s personal physician, then the patient’s regular physician should bill only the appropriate level of the initial hospital care (codes 99221 - 99223) because all evaluation and management services provided by that physician in conjunction with that admission are considered part of the initial hospital care when performed on the same date as the admission. The ED physician who saw the patient in the emergency department should bill the appropriate level of the ED codes.
  • If the ED physician, based on the advice of the patient’s personal physician who came to the emergency department to see the patient, sends the patient home, then the ED physician should bill the appropriate level of emergency department service. The patient’s personal physician should also bill the level of emergency department code that describes the service he or she provided in the emergency department. If the patient’s personal physician does not come to the hospital to see the patient, but only advises the emergency department physician by telephone, then the patient’s personal physician may not bill.

If the ED physician requests that another physician evaluate a given patient, the other physician should bill an emergency department visit code. If the patient is admitted to the hospital by the second physician performing the evaluation, he or she should bill an initial hospital care code and not an emergency department visit code.

Resources: CMS Medicare Claim Processing Manual (Pub. 100-04), Chapter 12, Section 30.6.11 E and F (PDF, 1.5 MB)

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