To the Editor:
In “Planning Group Visits for High-Risk Patients” [June 2000, page 33], the authors suggest using 99213 and 99214 to code group visits. We believe the appropriate codes are those suggested by Kent J. Moore in “Answers to Your Questions” [March 2000, page 21]: 99411 or 99412 for preventive group counseling or 99078 for counseling groups of patients with symptoms or established illnesses.
The group medical visits discussed in the June article are conceptually different from the group counseling sessions referenced in “Answers to Your Questions.” The group medical visits are for symptomatic patients with an established illness, seen in a group setting for evaluation, management and counseling related to their existing condition. Coding of these visits, also known as drop-in medical shared evaluation and management (E/M) services, is the subject of ongoing discussion by the CPT Editorial Panel. The panel appointed a work group to create a proposal describing the various models of group medical visits. Meanwhile, the panel strongly recommends that E/M code 99499, “Unlisted evaluation and management service,” be used.
The group counseling codes referenced in March should be used to describe group counseling for preventive purposes (99411 and 99412) or group counseling that is provided in addition to another service rendered by the physician (99078).