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Family Practice Coding Alert

Reader Question:
Initiation of Observation

Question: When should I begin timing for eight-hour observations? Does this service begin when the patient is admitted or when the physician sees the patient?

Iowa Subscriber

Answer: The clock starts when the patient is admitted and the patient data sheet at the hospital is entered into the computer. The system generally logs the time, which is used to calculate the total time the patient spends under observation.


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