Effective January 1, 2010, the consultation codes are no longer recognized for Medicare Part B payment. Physicians shall code patient evaluation and management visit with E/M codes that represent where the visit occurs and that identify the complexity of the visit performed. In the inpatient hospital setting and the nursing facility setting all physicians (and qualified nonphysicians where permitted) who perform an initial evaluation and management may bill the initial hospital care codes (99221 – 99223) or nursing facility care codes (99304-99306). As a result of this change, multiple billings of initial hospital and nursing home visit codes could occur even in a single day.
Modifier “-AI,” defined as “Principal Physician of Record,” shall be used by the admitting or attending physician who oversees the patient’s care, as distinct from other physicians who may be furnishing specialty care. The principal physician of record shall append modifier “-AI” in addition to the initial visit code. All other physicians who perform an initial evaluation on this patient shall bill only the E/M code for the complexity level performed. NOTE: The primary purpose of this modifier is to identify the principal physician of record on the initial hospital and nursing home visit codes. It is not necessary to reject claims that include the “-AI” modifier on codes other than the initial hospital and nursing home visit codes (i.e., subsequent care codes or outpatient codes). Follow-up visits in the facility setting may be billed as subsequent hospital care visits and subsequent nursing facility care visits as is the current policy. In all cases, physicians shall bill the available code that most appropriately describes the level of the services provided.