Consultation versus New/Established?

reneegrass

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Okay I have a question regarding consultations.

What is the deciding factor in assuming responsibility for the patient's condition?

I have a general surgeon that is consulting for a primary care. The patient has abdominal pain and the primary care wants the surgeon to consult. If my surgeon orders diagnostic testing but doesn't 'treat' the patient, that's still a consult right? If, in the course of the exam, the surgeon decides that he needs to do an appendectomy, that wouldn't be a consult?

Our surgeon is wanting to bill a consult for every patient that is coming in from another physician and I'm just having trouble. I'm just not sure where the line is.

thank you,
Renee
 

mmelcam

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Yes, you can perform diagnostic testing and it is still a consult. As far as deciding that the patient needs an appendectomy, I would still say this is also a consult. If the PCP has asked for a consult due to abdominal pain and you decide that the patient needs surgery during your exam of the patient, as long as you are sending a letter back to the PCP as to your findings and what you think is the correct course of treatment, I would think this is still a consult. I am curious to see what some other coders think of this situation.
 

Cottrell

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consult vs referral

To eliminate some of the problems with this, our practices have a form that we have sent to other physicians that are sendingus patients. I has 2 different boxes on it, 1 that says Requesting consultation of _______ problem and the other says Referral for _________. This way there is no confusion when it comes to the billing.
Hope this helps.

Wendy
 

reneegrass

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This is still confusing for me.

Under Consultations in the CPT Manual, it says " If subsequent to the completion of a consultation the consultant assumes responsibility for management of a portion or all of the patient's condition, the appropriate E and M codes should be reported."

If the surgeon has diagnsosis appendicitis and has decided to do the surgery, aren't they assuming responsibility during the consultation?
 

meganpoelzer

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It is my understanding that you would bill for a consult, if the MD decides to have the patient return for a follow up visit, then you would not use consult code. Consults should only be billed if you have a written request so if the referring doctor didn't send another request for opinion, then it is not a consult. Hopefully this makes sense.
 
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