2021 has brought on new CPT changes and they’re not just in E/M. We’ve compiled a list of 30 FAQ’s so that you can start your 2021 E/M office and other outpatient visit reporting off right. Continue reading below for the top 5 FAQ’s or click here for the complete list!
By Ginger Avery, CPC, CPMA, CRC
January 5, 2021
1.Where can the CPT E/M code and guidelines be found? The CPT E/M code and guideline changes for 2021 can not only be found on the American Medical Associations (AMA) site at this link, but they can also be found in their entirety within the 2021 CPT Code books themselves. These guidelines include the new level of medical decision-making table and the 22 new definitions that help clarify what the MDM terms mean.
2.Does pulling the lab results into the note constitute a “review of results” or do I need to document by stating that I have reviewed them? Moving forward information from old notes without comment does not add any value to the work that was performed and does not count. Did you review/analyze these results, what impact does this have on today’s visit? What is the clinical significance of this additional work?
3.When tests are ordered during one visit and reviewed the same test during the next visit, can that count as a data point for both visits? With the new guidelines, we no longer have data “points”. Both encounters would support Limited data (low) with Category 1. The first encounter supports Category 1 for ordering of the test, the follow up encounter would support Category 1 for review of the results.
4.Where does lifestyle counseling come into this? Preventive medicine counseling and/or risk factor reduction interventions (99401-99412) are time-based codes but do NOT follow the office visit E/M guidelines. Relevant visit details and total F2F time should be documented appropriately. Code selection is based on the F2F time spent with the patient.
5.When reporting for total time, is it just time spent with patient at the encounter? No, in 2021, time is defined as the total encounter time on the date of service. This includes both F2F work and non-F2F work personally performed by the clinician.
As a reminder, documentation is about painting a clear picture of today’s encounter. The power of storytelling is evident with these new revisions. Quality documentation (not quantity or checkboxes) provides details to support the medical necessity and appropriate complexity of each unique encounter, as well as improves overall patient care and clinical outcomes. Clinicians are encouraged to focus their energy and documentation on the cognitive clinically relevant details, regardless of the clinical setting. Document what you do, code what you document.
RT Welter provides robust coding and documentation training for these updates, as well as other topics. Please contact email@example.com to book your training now.