The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) continues to struggle with yet another set of documentation guidelines. Pediatricians are trying to work with the 1995 and 1997 guidelines. During the past year the government released an initial version of the 2000 Documentation Guidelines for evaluation and management (E/M) codes. These guidelines featured a large collection of vignettes that are to be used by physicians for comparison purposes when coding each E/M service. Medical specialty societies, via the American Medical Association (AMA), expressed extreme displeasure with these guidelines. The secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services put a stop to the project and announced the formation of a work group to study the many implications of documentation guidelines for E/M services. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has a representative in this work group.

As this article goes to press, the work group has not issued a work...

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