critical illness or injury billing - Medicare cpt 99291, 99292

Issues Related to Critical Care Policy and Use of the Critical Care CPT codes 99291 and 99292

A. Definition of Critical Illness or Injury

The AMA’s CPT has redefined a critical illness or injury as follows:

“A critical illness or injury acutely impairs one or more vital organ systems such that the patient’s survival is jeopardized.”

Please note that the term “unstable” is no longer used in the CPT definition to describe critically ill or injured patients.

B. Definition of Critical Care Services

The CPT 2000 has redefined critical care services as follows:
“Critical care is the direct delivery by a physician(s) of medical care for a critically ill or injured patient...the care of such patients involves decision making of high complexity to assess, manipulate, and support central nervous system failure, circulatory failure, shock-like conditions, renal, hepatic, metabolic, or respiratory failure, postoperative complications, overwhelming infection, or other vial system functions to treat single or multiple vital organ system failure or to prevent further deterioration. It may require extensive interpretation of multiple databases and application of advanced technology to manage the patient. Critical care may be provided on multiple days, even if no changes are made in the treatment rendered to the patient, provided that the patient’s condition continues to require the level of physician attention described above.

"Critical care services include but are not limited to, the treatment or prevention of further deterioration of central nervous system failure, circulatory failure, shock-like conditions, renal, hepatic, metabolic or respiratory failure, post operative complications, or overwhelming infection. Critical care is usually, but not always, given in a critical care area, such as the coronary care unit, intensive care unit, pediatric intensive care unit, respiratory care unit, or the emergency care facility.”

C. Guidelines for Use Whenever Medical Review is Performed in Relation to Critical Illness and Critical Care Service

A clarification of Medicare policy concerning both payment for and medical review of critical care services is warranted, given the CPT redefinition of both critical illness/injury and critical care services.

In order to reliably and consistently determine that delivery of critical care services rather than other evaluation and management services is medically necessary, both of the following medical review criteria must be met in addition to the CPT definitions.

Clinical Condition Criterion

There is a high probability of sudden, clinically significant, or life threatening deterioration in the patient’s condition which requires the highest level of physician preparedness to intervene urgently.

Treatment Criterion
Critical care services require direct personal management by the physician. They are life and organ supporting interventions that require frequent, personal assessment and manipulation by the physician. Withdrawal of, or failure to initiate these interventions on an urgent basis would likely result in sudden, clinically significant, or life threatening deterioration in the patient’s condition.

Claims for critical care services must be denied if the services are not reasonable and medically necessary. If the services are reasonable and medically necessary but they do not meet the criteria for critical care services, then the services should be re-coded as another appropriate evaluation and management (E/M) service (e.g., hospital visit).

Providing medical care to a critically ill patient should not be automatically determined to be a critical care service for the sole reason that the patient is critically ill. The physician service must be medically necessary and meet the definition of critical care services as described previously in order to be covered.

1 comment:

medical billing training said...

We know well that Critical care services require direct personal management by the physician.

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