Concurrent care in the context of coding is the provision of similar services that are more than consultative to one patient by multiple physicians or other qualified health care professionals. The provision of similar services often involves subsequent evaluation and management (E/M) services in the inpatient hospital setting. Physicians of differing specialties often follow an inpatient throughout the admission, with each physician managing different conditions on the same date of service. However, billing and coding issues arise when physician’s services are too similar and do not distinctly show personal management of specific aspects of the patient’s care. This is becoming more common when hospitalists and specialists follow the same patient.

An underlying ethical and billing policy consideration is that all services billed must be medically necessary. The following scenarios illustrate when concurrent care may or may not be a billable service:

Johnny is admitted from the emergency department (ED) to...

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