The following question is an example of a coding question often posed in one way or another due to what one might call an evaluation and management (E/M) coding myth:

I have been told that it is fraudulent to under-code my E/M services. However, the vagueness and complexity of the E/M guidelines often lead me to report a lower-level code due to lack of confidence that my documentation supports a higher level of service. Is this fraud?

No. Although you may see this stated in advertisements for coding products or education or just passed on from an incorrect source, this is not fraud. Fraud is obtaining something of value through intentional misrepresentation or concealment of material facts. However, there is the chance that an auditor could consider consistent undercoding an abusive practice. This seems unlikely unless a large-scale audit takes place. Of greater concern, if you truly are undercoding most...

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