Per CPT guidelines (2009 professional edition page 12, top of 2nd column / 2010 professional edition page 14, top of 2nd column)
When the patient is admitted to the hospital as an inpatient in the course of an encounter in another site of service (e.g. hospital emergency department, observation status in a hospital, physician's office, nusring facility) all evaluation and management services provided by that physician in conjunction with that admission are considered part of the initial hospital care when performed on the same date as the admission. (emphasis added by FTB)
So your doctors are on the right track ... it IS considered inpatient. But it is no longer a consultation. Once they make the decision to admit the patient it becomes the Initial Hospital Care code 99221-99223. Don't forget your -57 modifier if you'll be taking patient to the OR within the next day or two.
F Tessa Bartels, CPC, CEMC
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