Physicians’ Current Procedural Terminology (CPT®) gives only partial guidance to the health care professional who sees a patient on the same date in one or more locations, who cares for patients in a series of changing relationships, or whose patient’s clinical condition is changing from one level of care to another. Coding confusion can exist when a patient is moved from one clinical area (eg, office, emergency department, critical care unit, inpatient unit) to another. CPT guidance also is unclear on how to report work that begins as one type of service (eg, consultation) and then moves rapidly into another form of relationship and work (eg, attending physician) with the same patient on the same day. This article will attempt to clarify some of these concepts and provide advice on how to report these services to payers. (CPT 2004 is the source of authoritative coding regulations and...

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