Evaluation and management codes: From current procedural terminology through relative update commission to Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Todd Dorman, Laura Loeb, George Sample

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Physicians should have a working knowledge of the process by which patient care codes are created and subsequently assigned values. The Society of Critical Care Medicine has representatives on the national committees that focus on code creation and definition and on assignment of relative value units. In addition, a better understanding of documentation requirements and the audit process will facilitate improved compliance and minimize liability. Discussion: The authors discuss the current procedural terminology (CPT) process for defining care codes and the relative update commission (RUC) process for assigning values to those codes, with each code assigned a separate value in three separate categories. Steps for managing any concern or dispute about billing, denials, or an audit are subsequently addressed. Tenets of proper documentation are discussed, and some future developments are identified that are likely to affect critical care. Conclusion: Knowledge of the procedures by which care codes are defined and valued is necessary for using these codes properly, as well as for addressing needs unmet by existing codes. Preventing audits is the best approach to proper coding and billing, and documentation is key.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S71-S77
JournalCritical care medicine
Volume34
Issue number3 SUPPL.
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2006

Keywords

  • Audit
  • Coding and billing
  • Compliance
  • Critical care
  • Current procedural terminology codes
  • Health care quality
  • Intensive care
  • Payors
  • Physician fee schedule
  • Public policy
  • Relative value update committee

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine

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