Guide to the Latest E/M Coding Changes in Medical Billing

As of 2024, significant revisions have been made to E/M code selection criteria, reflecting an ongoing effort to streamline documentation requirements and reduce administrative burdens for healthcare providers. These changes not only impact how healthcare providers bill for their services but also aim to better reflect the complexity of patient care in today’s healthcare industry. Let’s dive into the details of these changes and understand how they affect various aspects of E/M coding:

Evolution of E/M Coding: A Brief Overview

  • Historical Context of E/M Coding:

Evaluation and Management (E/M) coding has long been the backbone of medical billing, providing a structured framework for healthcare providers to document and bill for their services. Historically, E/M codes were based on a combination of factors, including history, physical examination, and medical decision-making.

  • Previous Challenges and Areas for Improvement:

Over time, healthcare providers faced challenges with E/M coding, particularly regarding documentation requirements and code selection complexity. The previous system often led to inconsistencies and administrative burdens for providers.

  • Introduction of the Latest Revisions in 2024:

In response to these challenges, significant revisions were introduced in 2024 to simplify E/M coding and address documentation burdens. These revisions marked a fundamental shift in code selection criteria, focusing primarily on medical decision-making and total time spent on patient care.

Code Selection Criteria Overhaul

  • Medical Decision Making (MDM):

  1. Elimination of History and Physical Exam Elements:

The biggest change in the 2024 revisions is eliminating history and physical exam elements as factors for code selection. Instead, medical decision-making is now emphasized, reflecting the cognitive work required for patient evaluation and management.

1.1. Understanding the Shift in Code Selection Criteria:

This shift acknowledges that the complexity of patient care is better reflected in the medical decision-making process rather than the traditional elements of history and physical examination.

1.2. Importance of Still Documenting History and Physical Exam:

While these elements are no longer used for code selection, it’s crucial for healthcare providers to continue documenting the patient’s history and physical examination for clinical purposes, professional liability, and quality measurement.

  • Total Time:

  1. Expanded Definition of Time:

Another significant change is the expanded definition of time for code selection. Total time, including both face-to-face and non-face-to-face interactions, is now considered when determining the level of service.

1.1. Total Time as a Factor in Code Selection:

This allows healthcare providers to account for all the time spent on patient care, whether during a face-to-face encounter or through non-face-to-face activities such as reviewing records or coordinating care.

1.2. Inclusion of Both Face-to-Face and Non-Face-to-Face Time:

This inclusion recognizes the importance of non-face-to-face activities in patient care, particularly in today’s healthcare scenario, where telemedicine and electronic health records play a significant role.

Prolonged Service Codes Update

  • Inpatient Prolonged Care Codes Replacement:

  1. Removal of Codes 99354–99357:

As of January 1, 2023, inpatient prolonged care codes 99354–99357 were deleted and replaced by CPT add-on code +99418.

Split or Shared Visits Clarification

  • Definition and Implications of Split or Shared Visits:

A split or shared visit occurs when an E/M visit in a facility setting is performed in part by both a physician and a nonphysician practitioner (NPP). The reporting professional is determined based on the majority of time spent providing the service, whether face-to-face or non-face-to-face.

Introduction of G2211 Code

  • Purpose and Utilization of Add-on Code G2211:

In 2024, add-on code G2211 will be introduced to provide additional payment to primary care physicians for high-value, complex, continuous visits. This code recognizes the unique challenges and comprehensive care primary care physicians provide.

Impact on Specific E/M Services

The changes in E/M coding criteria affect a wide range of services, including:

  • Office or other outpatient services,
  • Inpatient and observation care services,
  • Consultations,
  • Emergency department visits,
  • Nursing facility services,
  • Home and residence services, and
  • Prolonged services.


The 2024 revisions to E/M coding criteria represent a significant shift in how healthcare providers document and bill their services. By focusing on medical decision-making and total time spent on patient care, these changes aim to simplify the coding process while accurately reflecting the complexity of patient care in today’s healthcare industry. As healthcare providers navigate the latest E/M coding changes in medical billing, it’s essential to recognize the need for outsourcing.

Outsourcing medical billing tasks to 24/7 Medical Billing Services can smoothen the journey of adapting to these changes effectively. These experts stay updated with the latest coding guidelines and regulations, ensuring accurate and compliant billing practices. By leveraging external expertise, healthcare providers can streamline their billing processes, optimize revenue cycle management, and adapt seamlessly to the changing guidelines of E/M coding.

See also: Medicare Billing Mastery: A Step-By-Step Guide


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