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Thread: Injections and E/M Code Modifier

  1. #1

    Default Injections and E/M Code Modifier

    AAPC: Back to School
    If the patient is scheduled for an injection 20610 and the Physician performs a complete examination of the patient. We charge the appropriate level E/M do we need to modify the E/M with a 25?

    My Physician is Telling me since the patient was scheduled for the injection that a Modifier 25 cannot be used. However she performs a complete exam with the patient and her documentation shows this.

    I think we should modify the code, I need some advice!

  2. #2


    In this case i would check whether the E&M service was medically necessary for the patient before injecting and no matter whether patient was scheduled or not. Even for the same diagnosis for an E&M with a procedure on same day we can bill the E&M with a 25 modifier. No CPT guidelines restrict this.

    From my point of view if you have a clear medical documentation of the E&M service which shows its significant then you can attach a 25 modifier.
    Dr.Raja CPC
    Coding Auditor

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Milwaukee WI

    Default E/M must be Significantly SEPARATE

    To correctly use the -25 modifier, the E/M service should be not only significant, but also significantly SEPARATE from the procedure (in this case the 20610 injection).

    The RVUs for procedures include some examination / evaluation of the patient as a part of the procedure.

    Perhaps your physician believes that while the exam was well documented it was not over and above what is required for this procedure. If that is correct, then she is right ... the E/M service is NOT a significantly separate service so should not be coded.

    If on the other hand, the history, exam, etc in this case went beyond what was required for the injection (perhaps the patient had other issues beyond the joint problem that required the 20610), then you have a significantly separate E/M and can code that service and use the -25 modifier.

    F Tessa Bartels, CPC, CEMC
    Last edited by FTessaBartels; 01-09-2009 at 09:15 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    San Diego


    I agree with F Tessa. The e/m doesn't need to be "significant" but rather "significantly idenitifiable and separate" to the same dos procedure being rendered.

    Hope this helps...good luck!
    Sylvia Thompson, CPC
    Billing Supervisor
    San Diego, CA

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Greeley, Colorado


    If the patient was scheduled for the injection then an E/M should not be coded - unless of course the E/M meets the "significant, separately identifiable" definition.
    Lisa Bledsoe, CPC, CPMA

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    St.Petersburg, Fl


    Did the Dr. actually give the injection?? He usually just orders it and the nurse gives the injection, from my experience you don't use the 25 modifier for injections because it's the nurse that administrates it.
    Alecia Peck CPC

  7. #7


    Thats a blind guess!!! Nurses won't give major joint injection (20610).

    My opinion is to check with the medical records whether the E&M service is distinct and if its you can use 25 mod. otherwise leave it off..
    Dr.Raja CPC
    Coding Auditor

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Des Moines, Iowa

    Question E&M with 25 Modifier with Injection

    Help me clarify how you distinguish significant, separately identifiable service. I have a new patient who comes in with pain and stiffness in a joint. The Dr reviews symptoms, does the PFSH, an exam, xrays and then discusses options with the patient. The decision to give the injection was made by the patient. Can we bill the E&M and 20610? Previous chats indicated that even if the patient is new, an E&M is built into the 20610 or any minor procedure for that matter.

  9. #9


    I realize this is an old thread, but I to would like to know what Lynnsherwood asked. The part that is confusing me mostly is that if I can't bill both the E/M and the injection and can only bill the injection, we get paid less for doing more. Normal office visits for a new patient are being coded as 99204 as of right now which has a much higher RVU than 20610. So if my Doctor does and E/M and no injection he gets paid more than if he does an E/M and injection because he can only bill for the injection?

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