This article relates to the 1995/1997 documentation guidelines, and not to office/outpatient codes 99202–99215 in 2021. Continue to use the 1995/1997 guidelines for E/M services, except for codes 99202–99215.
E/M codes are defined by the level of key components performed and documented.
A significant difference between the 1995 and the 1997 guidelines is in the exam area. The 1995 exam guidelines are less specific and more open to auditor interpretation than the 1997 guidelines. In the 1997 guidelines, there are also single specialty exams that are useful to some clinicians, particularly Psych, ENT and Eye.
Used to describe the E/M codes in the medicine section of the CPT® book.
Billing and Coding Rules for Documenting Exam
The 1995 exam is divided into body areas and organ systems. For a comprehensive exam, 8 organ systems (not body areas) are required:
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