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Anesthesia Coding Alert

Reader Question:

Coding for Nurses

Question: Our practice group includes both anesthesiologists and certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs). We also have two registered nurses (RNs) who are studying for their CRNA certification. Does a medically directing anesthesiologist or CRNA have to be present with these RNs for billing purposes when theyre in clinicals?

Anonymous Arkansas Subscriber

Answer: There is no mechanism for billing for a students activities. The CRNA or anesthesiologist bills as if they personally have administered the anesthetic being given by the student.

However, if the student has graduated and is working under a temporary license while awaiting board results, the practice can bill by whatever mechanism is used in the facility in question. If there is any doubt in your mind, its usually better to be conservative and have an anesthesiologist or CRNA present for billing purposes. If it is a situation you run into fairly often, you may also want to check with your local carrier to learn what its guidelines are.