The 2021 revision of office and other outpatient evaluation and management (E/M) codes (99202–99205, 99211–99215) divided guidelines into 2 groups: guidelines for selecting office E/M codes and guidelines for other E/M services, which are still selected based on criteria that was issued in the 1990s. However, there are still overarching E/M guidelines that apply to nearly all E/M services (with certain exceptions for services such as critical care services that have their own very specific coding instructions).

In this article, we review the following general instructions for Current Procedural Terminology (CPT®) code selection and guidelines and definitions that apply to most categories of E/M service.

Other articles in this issue discuss concurrent care and transfer of care and general instructions for use of time.

It is important to know the “Instructions for Use of the CPT Codebook” published in the Introduction section of American...

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