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Otolaryngology Coding Alert

Reader Question:

Find Out Who Can Perform History Element

Question: My coworker thinks an allergist must take a patient's history, but I think a nurse can perform this duty. Who's right?California SubscriberAnswer: Any employee can take the history. In fact, the E/M service documentation guidelines state that ancillary staff may record the review of systems (ROS) and/or past, family, and social history (PFSH). Although nurses often record this information, a front-desk staff member may even perform the function. The allergist or nurse practitioner, however, must complete the history of present illness (HPI).›› Be careful: The allergist must sign off on the patient's chart and must indicate that he reviewed the history notes. Documentation should include a notation supplementing or confirming the information that others recorded. Make sure the physician signs off on any incident-to services, such as 99211 (Office or other outpatient visit for the evaluation and management of an established patient ...), as well as higher-level E/M services [...]