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Topics in Practice Management |

Critical Care in the Surgical Global PeriodCritical Care in the Global Surgical Period

Julie R. Painter, MBA, CCVTC
Author and Funding Information

From Medical Reimbursement Analysis & Solutions, Inc, Denver, CO.

Correspondence to: Julie R. Painter, MBA, CCVTC, 12301 Grant St, Unit 230, Thornton, CO 80241; e-mail: jrpainter@mac.com


For editorial comment see page 594

For related article see page 847

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians. See online for more details.


Chest. 2013;143(3):851-855. doi:10.1378/chest.09-0359
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This article explores the rules and regulations from Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) code set and US Medicare and Medicaid Services (Medicare) regarding multiple physicians reporting critical care services during the global period. The article takes into account the critical care definitions, regulations, documentation requirements, and services each provider can report to Medicare. A clinical scenario based on literature supporting the types of complications and care that might typically be included in the post-operative period for a patient who is surgically treated for a type A aortic dissection was analyzed. It was determined that multiple physicians may provide critical care services to a single patient during the global period. The physician who performed the primary procedure cannot report critical care separately unless documentation supporting use of modifier 25 (significant, separately identifiable services) or 24 (unrelated services) supports that critical care is unrelated to the global period. Other physicians may report critical care services separately if specific criteria are met. To report critical care services to Medicare, the patient’s condition must meet the Medicare definition of critical care and the physicians should generally represent different specialties providing different aspects of care to the critically ill or injured patient as defined by Medicare. There should be no overlap in time of services provided by each physician. Each physician’s documentation should clearly support medical necessity with the diagnosis demonstrating the critical nature of the patients’ illness, the total time spent providing critical care, the critical care service provided, and other contributing factors.


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