tci General Surgery Coding Alert - 2003 Issue 4

Reader Question: 99356-99357 OK for Unresponsive Patient

Question: If a patient has had a stroke and cannot communicate or is otherwise unresponsive, and the physician has spent additional time for the care of the patient beyond the regular E/M codes for inpatient care (talking to the family, consulting with other physicians), may we report prolonged services (99356-99357)? Minnesota SubscriberAnswer: If you provide and document the appropriate services, you may report +99356 (Prolonged physician service in the inpatient setting, requiring direct [face-to-face] patient contact beyond the usual service [e.g., maternal fetal monitoring for high-risk delivery or other physiological monitoring, prolonged care of an acutely ill inpatient]...

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