Reporting prolonged physician services (99354–99359) has been addressed within articles that focused on guidelines for reporting evaluation and management (E/M) services. However, because prolonged physician services are often misunderstood, in this article the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT®) guidelines, intent for their use, and documentation requirements are described in more detail.

Prolonged services are used to report services performed by a physician that are beyond the usual service. What does beyond the usual service mean? It means that additional time to perform the service beyond the typical time of an E/M service is required. For example, CPT lists the typical time for 99213 as 15 minutes, but if the service requires 45 or more minutes (ie, 30 minutes beyond the typical time for the code), prolonged services were performed.

The first subcategory of prolonged physician service codes are reported only for prolonged services involving direct (face-to-face) physician-patient contact that...

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