How do I know whether to report an observation or inpatient evaluation and management (E/M) code? Is the initial service always reported on the date of the hospital admission? Do I need to report discharge management codes or can I report a subsequent hospital or observation visit? What is reported when a child is admitted and discharged on the same calendar day? How do I report both hospital visits if 2 of our physicians see the patient on the same day?

These are just a few of the questions frequently asked by pediatricians that are addressed by this article.

There are 3 categories of Current Procedural Terminology (CPT®) hospital E/M codes (excluding consultations): hospital observation services, hospital inpatient services, and observation or inpatient care same-day admission and discharge services.

Examples of how to use these codes are given in the Table.

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