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Thread: ER length of stay

  1. #1

    Default ER length of stay

    AAPC: Back to School
    Hello to all...
    My name is Heidi and I code for a Radiological group. We are running into some question of whether or not some patients have actually been admitted to the hospital or not. Our confusion is based upon being admitted to the ER, or Critcal Care, or even Observation status. Is there a particular time frame in which they automatically become Hospital admits?
    Meaning, if someone is admitted to the ER and they are there for over 24 hours, do they automatically become a hospital inpatient? If anyone could direct me to any info regarding this in the CPT book, I would really appreciate it.

    Thank you for your help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007


    First of all no one is "admitted" to the ED, you just wait your turn for treatment as long as it takes. I have heard of some very busy ED's having 24 hour wait times. As far as critical care and observation status the physician has to document this on the patient medical record. It is the physician's decision as to the status of the patient no one is ever "automatically" admitted. He may keep the patient in observation or critical care as long as he feels necessary, there are codes in the CPT for every stage of this care. I hope this helps. I am an emergency room coder if you have any more questions you may email privately.

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