Q&A: How to code for non-face-to-face E&M services

May 22, 2009

Codes 99441, 99442, and 99443 are used to report non-face-to-face evaluation and management services provided by a physician to a patient using the telephone.

A: Codes 99441, 99442, and 99443 are part of "non-face-to-face physician services," including "telephone service." These codes are used to report evaluation and management services provided by a physician over the telephone.

These encounters are initiated by the patient. If it is decided during this encounter that the patient will be seen within 24 hours or during the next urgent visit appointment, there is no chargeable service; rather, it is considered to be part of the pre-service work of that face-to-face visit.

Follow-up with the patient (reporting lab results, appointments with specialists, etc.) is a part of the E&M service rendered previously.

The author, vice president of operations for Reed Medical Systems in Monroe, Michigan, has more than 30 years of experience as a practice management consultant, and is also a certified coding specialist, certified compliance officer, and a certified medical assistant.