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Thread: Family Psychotherapy

  1. #1

    Default Family Psychotherapy

    AAPC: Back to School
    In reference to the Family psychotherapy with patient present code 90847, I had a provider ask if the patient was present in the office but the spouse was on the phone would he still be able to bill the 90847? Does the family member have to be physically present in order to use this code. Any comments would be appreicated.
    Thanks Judy

  2. #2


    You mean the husband was in the room with the provider but the spouse was out in the hall on the the phone the entire sessison?

    Yes, both parties have to be in the room participating in the session in order to code 90847. If not, then it is individual therapy. RVUs are higher for 90847 to account for the multiple people in the room

  3. #3


    The patient was in the provider's office and they had the wife on speaker phone, she was in another city, and unable to attend, so the provider was counseling them with him present and her over the phone. Just not sure if family counseling would be correct in this situation.

  4. #4


    I would code it 90847. Documentation should be clear of where the spouse was and the phone dial in and particpation

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007


    CPT states in reporting psychotherapy, the appropriate code is chosen on the basis of the type of psychotherapy, the place of service (office vs inpatient), the face-to-face time spent with the patient during psychotherapy. The code 90847 is defined as family psychotherapy (conjoint psychotherapy) (with patient present). It would not be appropriate to bill family psychotherapy when one of the patients is participating by phone.

  6. #6


    90847 Family psychotherapy (conjoint psychotherapy) (with patient present)

    I get the point about face-to-face but have to disagree. The patient is present (husband) and the wife is participating by phone. This is not something that I would expect to see all the time. But as I said, the documentation should clearly show the wife's particpation and the reason wife dialed in.

    In joint/familty sessions there is always a "patient" and then there are the additional participating members. It is the "patient" that the appt is booked to and that the claim is filed to their insurance etc.

    I would still code 90847

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