Q: What is a split/shared visit? Can you provide an example?

A: A split/shared E/M visit is defined by Medicare Part B payment policy as a medically necessary encounter with a patient where the physician and a qualified NPP each personally perform a substantive portion of an E/M visit face-to-face with the same patient on the same date of service.
• A substantive portion of an E/M visit involves all or some portion of the history, exam or medical decision making key components of an E/M service.
• The physician and NPP both must be in the same group practice or employed by the same employer.

The split/shared E/M visit applies only to selected E/M visits and settings (i.e., hospital inpatient, hospital outpatient, hospital observation, emergency department, hospital discharge, office and non-facility clinic visits, and prolonged visits associated with these E/M visit codes). The split/shared E/M policy does not apply to critical care services or procedures.

Common split/shared visit scenarios

• Hospital inpatient/outpatient/emergency room setting:

• When a hospital inpatient/hospital outpatient or emergency department E/M is shared between a physician and an NPP from the same group practice and the physician provides any face-to-face portion of the E/M encounter with the patient, the service may be billed under either the physician’s or the NPP’s Provider Transaction Access Number (PTAN).

• If there was no face-to-face encounter between the patient and the physician (e.g., even if the physician participated in the service by only reviewing the patient’s medical record) then the service may only be billed under the NPP’s PTAN.

• Payment will be made at the appropriate physician fee schedule rate based on the PTAN entered on the claim.
• Office/Clinic setting:

• In the office/clinic setting when the physician performs the E/M service the service must be reported using the physician’s PTAN.

• When an E/M service is a shared/split encounter between a physician and a non-physician practitioner (NP, PA, CNS or CNM), the service is considered to have been performed “incident to” if the requirements for “incident to” are met and the patient is an established patient.

• If “incident to” requirements are not met for the shared/split E/M service, the service must be billed under the NPP’s PTAN, and payment will be made at the appropriate physician fee schedule payment amount.

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