MDEdge GI Hep News: Prepare for major changes to E/M coding starting in 2021
New Evaluation and Management (E/M) codes are coming in 2021 –this could simplify documentation.
Here’s an excerpt:
1.Elimination of history and physical as elements for code selection
2. Choice of using medical decision making (MDM) or total time as the basis of E/M level documentation
- MDM. While there will still be three MDM subcomponents (number/complexity of problems, data, and risk), extensive edits were made to the ways in which these elements are defined and tallied.
- Time. The definition of time is now minimum time, not typical time or “face-to-face” time. Minimum time represents total physician/qualified health care professional time on the date of service
3. Modification of the criteria for MDM:
- Terms. Removed ambiguous terms (e.g., “mild”) and defined previously ambiguous concepts (e.g., “acute or chronic illness with systemic symptoms”).
- Definitions. Defined important terms, such as “independent historian.”
- Data elements. Re-defined the data elements to move away from simply adding up tasks to focusing on how those tasks affect the management of the patient (e.g., independent interpretation of a test performed by another provider and/or discussion of test interpretation with another physician).
4. Modifier/add-on code): GPC1X can be reported with all levels of E/M office/outpatient codes in which care of a patient’s single, serious, or complex chronic condition is the focus. CMS plans to reimburse GPC1X at 0.33 RVUs (about $12).
- AMA E/M Microsite: https://www.ama-assn.org/practice-management/cpt/cpt-evaluation-and-management
- 2021 E/M changes: https://www.ama-assn.org/system/files/2019-06/cpt-office-prolonged-svs-code-changes.pdf
- AMA E/M learning module: https://edhub.ama-assn.org/interactive/18057429
- AMA MDM table (see below): https://www.ama-assn.org/system/files/2019-06/cpt-revised-mdm-grid.pdf
“Contact your Electronic Health Records (EHR) vendor to confirm the system your practice uses will be ready to implement the new E/M coding and guidelines changes on Jan. 1, 2021.”
My take: The intent of these changes is logical. The goal of coding is to align the reimbursement with the degree of effort and not simply allow pre-formatted templates justify upcoding. They could lead to simplification of documentation and allow more documentation time for medical decision-making part of the visit.
Related blog posts:
- Rising ER Costs and Changes in Billing Codes
- Healthcare: “Where the Frauds Are Legal”
- Increased complexity of improper coding?
- Aptly titled “The Cost of Technology”
- What Went Wrong with EMRs: Death by a Thousand Clicks
- The Slow March of the Digital Health Revolution