Can you bill an admission and discharge on the same day?

Answered by Edward Huber

You can bill an admission and discharge on the same day, but there are certain requirements that need to be met in order to do so. Generally, a patient must be in observation status for at least eight hours for a physician to bill a same-date admission and discharge code.

It is important to note that the rules for billing same-day admission and discharge codes can vary between different payers, such as Medicare and private insurance companies. While the instructions in the CPT code book may provide some guidance, it is always advisable to check the specific billing rules of the payer you are dealing with.

In my experience, Medicare rules often differ from the instructions in the CPT code book for this scenario. Therefore, it is important to familiarize yourself with the specific guidelines provided by Medicare when billing same-day admission and discharge codes.

To ensure compliance with Medicare rules, it is crucial to document the medical necessity and rationale for admitting and discharging the patient on the same day. This documentation should clearly explain why the patient required observation services for at least eight hours and why it was appropriate to admit and discharge them on the same day.

When documenting the medical necessity, it is helpful to include details about the patient’s condition, the need for close monitoring or additional testing, and the expected clinical course. This information can support the decision to admit the patient and can demonstrate that the observation services were necessary and appropriate.

In addition to meeting the time requirement of at least eight hours of observation, it is also important to ensure that all other relevant documentation requirements are met. This includes documenting the appropriate level of care, the services provided, and any applicable diagnoses or symptoms.

Billing a same-day admission and discharge code requires careful attention to the specific guidelines and requirements of the payer you are dealing with. It is essential to have a clear understanding of the documentation and medical necessity requirements in order to bill accurately and avoid potential denials or audits.

Remember to always stay updated with the latest guidelines and regulations regarding billing practices, as these can change over time. Consulting with coding and billing experts, attending relevant educational sessions, and staying informed through professional organizations can all help ensure accurate and compliant billing practices.