If the patient cannot participate in medical decision making, then a visit with the designated decision maker can be billed using time in counseling/coordination of care rules. HOWEVER ... this should be a very rare occurence.
Your documentation must include:
1. total time spent face-to-face with "patient" (parents or family member)
2. Amount of time spent in counseling/cooridnation of care (must be more than 50% of total time)
3. Substance of the counseling/coordination
4. if the patient is unable to participate you must state WHY the patient is unavailable (e.g. patient in coma, patient w/ Alzheimer's, infant is nonverbal)
Given all that, it is still preferable to have the patient at least present even if that patient in unable to participate.
Remember, this is a very rare occurence. In my eight years in pediatrics I've seen this used exactly THREE times. (And two of those were inpatients where the dicussion was held in a conference room at the hospital, while the child remained in his/her hospital room.)
F Tessa Bartels, CPC, CEMC
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