Follow-up Inpatient Consults

May 1, 2006

I work at an inpatient mental health facility doing consultations on the patients there. It is not unusual for me to be consulted on the same patient two or three times per stay. I notice that the 99261 range of codes for follow-up inpatient consultation has been deleted effective January 1, 2006. What code should be used for follow-up inpatient consultations now?

Question: I work at an inpatient mental health facility doing consultations on the patients there. It is not unusual for me to be consulted on the same patient two or three times per stay. I notice that the 99261 range of codes for follow-up inpatient consultation has been deleted effective January 1, 2006. What code should be used for follow-up inpatient consultations now?

Answer: Coding expert Emily Hill says the instructions in CPT state: "For follow-up inpatient consultation, see 99231-99233, 99307-99310." In the case of inpatient services, the subsequent hospital care codes are reported (99231-99233). Most payers will only reimburse for one E&M service for the same patient by the same physician on a single date of service. Therefore, the level of care reported should incorporate the work of all the services provided on that day.