A shared medical appointment, also known as a group visit, occurs when multiple patients are seen as a group, often for follow-up care or management of chronic conditions. These visits are voluntary for patients and provide a secure but interactive setting in which patients have improved access to their physicians, the benefit of counseling with additional members of a health care team (for example a behaviorist, nutritionist, or health educator), and the opportunity to share experiences and advice with one another.
The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) believes group visits are a proven, effective method for enhancing a patient’s self-care, increasing patient satisfaction, and improving outcomes.
Shared medical appointments should be documented in each participating patient’s medical record. That documentation should reflect the individual services provided to each patient as well as the services provided to the group as a whole at each encounter.
Shared medical appointments include individual evaluation and management of each patient as well as counseling with the group as a whole. This individual evaluation could take place either separately or within the group process, depending on the setting and group needs. Accordingly, the AAFP believes physicians who provide and document such appointments under fee-for-service should code for the services provided using applicable, existing, evaluation and management (E/M) codes found in Current Procedural Terminology (CPT). Third party payers should cover and pay for shared medical appointments and group visits. When third party payers opt to waive out-of-pocket costs to incentivize participation in shared medical appointments or group visits, the lost revenue to the practice should be paid by the payer. (2008) (October 2023 BOD)