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Thread: Should family therapy be billed on intent or who's present

  1. #1

    Default Should family therapy be billed on intent or who's present

    AAPC: Back to School
    I am getting mixed information on this code. I have info from Medicare that indicates that 90847 should be used moreso based on the intent of the visit and how the fmaily affects treatment of patient, etc. But i recently went to a seminar where the presentor said that you bill based on who is present for the visit. If patient is alone, its individual, if patient has a parent there, then its automatically family therapy.

    I don't know which way to go with it??? I normally look for the intent of the visit when I am auditing, but this conference threw me for a loop..help please

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Temple, TX


    I would go by what is documented. If the family and patient was present and it is documented that the issues were discussed with patient and family members then yes, go for the family counseling.
    At times we have it documented that the family (mother/father present w/patient) was present but that it was individual pt counseling and the session mainly was about the patient him/herself. The start and stop or total time is noted to support the individual psychotherapy.

    Hope this helps,

    The Oracle

  3. #3


    Thats exactly where I am struggling, is when parent is there with child. They discuss child issues and behaviors and also talk to parents on how to change behaviors, so is it family?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Temple, TX


    The provider may need to be more specific in documenting who he spent time with and for how long to make it more clear on which codes to use.
    If the provider states, 20 minutes spent with mother and patient, and one-on-one with patient for 30 minutes you could code for family and individual psychotherapy.
    The discussion of plan of care with the mother would be included in family psychotherapy.
    I'm drawing a blank right now. There is one more code, discussing issues with parents, family members explaining the patient's condition and how to assist the patient. I think it is 90887. I don't have my coding books at home... See if this code may be more appropriate to represent what happened during the visit.
    The Oracle

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