Makes NO difference whether the diagnosis is new or established.
A ESTABLISHED patient is one who has received any face-to-face service by the provider, OR another provider of the SAME specialty and SAME practice within the last three years.
Plastic surgery and dermatology are two distinct specialties.
Now to the specifics you pose.
You wrote: Patient sees dermatologist A & is referred within practice to plastic surgeon B for treatment. (emphasis added by FTB) If patient is sent for treatment, then treatment is probably all you can code. IF there is a significant, separately identifiable E/M service provided on that first visit to the plastic surgeon, the patient is a NEW patient (as long as the patient hasn't seen that plastic surgeon, or any other plastic surgeon in the same group practice within the past three years.)
The next time the patient shows up in either dermatologist or plastic surgeon office, WITHIN 3 YEARS of the first visit ... the patient is established. Whether you can code an E/M and a procedure depends on the documentation (as always).
Hope that helps.
F Tessa Bartels, CPC, CEMC
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