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Family Practice Coding Alert

Reader Questions:

Pap Smear Shouldn't Trigger Annual Exam Code

Question: Should we always code a well woman exam when the family physician takes a Pap smear?

Ohio Subscriber

Answer: No. You should not automatically report a preventive medicine service (such as 99384-99387, Initial comprehensive preventive medicine evaluation and management of an individual ...; or 99394-99397, Periodic comprehensive preventive medicine reevaluation and management of an individual ...) whenever you report a Pap smear. The FP may take a Pap smear outside a well woman visit.

Example: The patient may be returning for a repeat Pap because her previous Pap smear was abnormal (such as 795.00 , Abnormal glandular Papanicolaou smear of cervix). In this case, the FP may take the Pap smear without performing a preventive medicine service. For the FP taking the smear, you would report a low-level E/M, (such as 99212, Office or other outpatient office visit for the E/M of an established patient ...), linked to 795.00.

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