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Condition of the patient for Critical care

  1. Default Condition of the patient for Critical care
    Medical Coding Books
    I have been having many discussions with my attendings. To bill for critical care does the physician need to state the condition of the patient. I have many putting that the condition of the patient is serious and then they include this scripted text: Diagnosis and plan discussed with the family and all their questions answered. This patient with a critical illness requires constant monitoring and multiple assessments by a critical care specialist. Constant attendance of a critical care intensivist provides urgent interventions and management. This promotes maximal support for organ systems as well as the entire individual. Failure to provide this level of care could result in severe life-threatening deterioration.

    They would like to bill CC time for this. I do not see where it meets the guidelines.

    I just need to know if there is any resource out there that states that the physician documentation needs to include the condition of the patient.

    Thanks for any help.

  2. #2
    Daytona Beach, FL
    Correct documentation for Critical Care is crucial especially in the event of an audit. If Critical Care is not established in the documentation the visit will be downcoded.

    According to the CPT guidelines critical care is defined as "...critical illness or injury acutely impairs one or more vital organ systems such that there is a high probability of imminent or life threatening deterioration in the patients condition;" critical intervention involving “…high complexity decision making to assess, manipulate, and support vital organ system failure;” and, time, defined as “…time spent engaged in work directly related to the individual patient’s care whether that time was spent at the immediate bedside or elsewhere on the floor or unit.” In order for critical care services to be coded and billed, documentation to support all three components of the definition (severity of the illness, the care provided and the amount of time) must be present in the medical record, accompanied by the physician’s attestation that critical care was provided.

    A simple statment from your providers saying the patient's condition is serious would not establish that this patient is critical if that is all that they are documenting. Their documentation should include a statement covering the nature of the illness and show the medical necessity of the critical care. Also they must the total time spent in critical care as anything under 30 minutes cannot be billed as critical care.

    Our doctors are instructed to document the condition and the reason the patient is considered critical and what they have done to provide the critical care along with the time spent in providing critical care.

    There are links out there that discuss what is required - here are a couple that I found that discusses what is needed:

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by jdibble; 07-14-2011 at 09:45 AM.
    Jodi Dibble, CPC

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