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Otolaryngology Coding Alert

Reader Questions:

No Inpatient Contact = No E/M Service

Question: I read "When reporting discharge day management service, you must provide and document a face-to-face encounter for that inpatient day." Does that mean that if an otolaryngologist does not provide a face-to-face service on the day of discharge, he cannot charge an E/M service?Wisconsin SubscriberAnswer: The otolaryngologist cannot report an inpatient service unless a face-to-face encounter occurs on that day. If the physician does not see the patient on the day of discharge, or any other day during the hospitalization, he may not report any E/M service. You should, however, report face-to-face services based on when the direct contact (face-to-face service) occurs. Here's how:1. If the physician sees the patient the day prior to discharge, the physician can report the appropriate subsequent hospital care code (99231-99233, Subsequent hospital care, per day, for the evaluation and management of a patient ...).2. If the physician sees the patient on the day [...]