Can time be used as a basis for E/M code selection in regards to add-on psychotherapy services?

Answer: 
No. Time may not be used as the basis of E/M code selection. The E/M code billed should be chosen based on the elements of the history and exam and decision making required for the complexity and intensity of the patient's condition.
Additionally, prolonged services may not be reported when psychotherapy with E/M add-on codes 90833, 90836, 90838 are reported. For a listing of code definitions, please see the current CPT code book.

Resource: MLN Article SE1407 - Psychiatry and Psychotherapy Services (PDF, 99 KB)

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