Inter-practice Consult

November 1, 2008

Can a family physician refer a patient to an internist in the same practice for a complex medical case? If so, would the internist bill that service as a consult?

Question: Can a family physician refer a patient to an internist in the same practice for a complex medical case?

If so, would the internist bill that service as a consult?

Answer: You can get consults from other physicians within the same practice in different specialties, yes.

What’s less clear to me is whether you really are asking for a consult - which means a written report and advice that comes back to you, and you continue holding primary responsibility for this patient’s problem. Or perhaps you want the internist to take care of this problem for the patient, which is a transfer of care. These are two different animals.

Transferring care is fine, too, but the IM would bill a new-patient visit E&M, not a consult.

Type “consult” into the Search box on the left side of the Web page for more articles clarifying this point.