Q&A: Billing for test results after the patient leaves

Q: We have patients that come to the emergency department (ED), are seen by a physician assistant, nurse practitioner, doctor of osteopathic medicine, or medical doctor, have tests ordered, then leave before the tests results are given to the patient. Can the facility charge an ED visit or not?

A: You would only not bill if the patient was not seen by a licensed provider. If the patient left, you still have an obligation to contact the patient with the test results, especially if they are abnormal or require follow up.


Editor's note: This question can be found in the coding and documentation category on the NAHRI Forums where you can find answers to questions on a variety of topics from billing and claims to compliance to reimbursement. This question was answered by Ronald Hirsch, MD, FACP, CHCQM, vice president, R1 Physician Advisory Services in Chicago.