3 Easy Steps to Finding the Right E/M Level Using an E/M Calculator

Have you checked out our free, new E/M Calculator yet? Using it is straightforward, but having a guide can be handy when a tool is new. Here’s how it works.

1. Access the E/M Calculator

If you’re going to use a tool, the first step is to get to it! If you aren’t a subscriber to one of our online coding packages, you can open the calculator by following the directions on our E/M Calculator page.

For those of you who use our online coding packages, the calculator is included with your subscription. After you sign in, look at the left-side menu on your home page. You’ll see the link to the E/M Calculator on the menu.

2. Use the Tabs to Find the Code Level

The E/M Calculator includes these tabs:

  • Patient Data: In this section, enter the type of service (like office/outpatient) and the date. There’s no personal patient data here, so you can rest easy about compliance.
  • History: Make your way through the checklist for chief complaint, HPI, ROS, and PFSH. Click the CMS buttons to see Documentation Guidelines (DGs) for that area.
  • Examination: Choose the 1995 or 1997 exam criteria to work your way through the requirements. Watch for helpful pop-ups with abbreviations of commonly used terms!
  • MDM: Fill in the boxes and review more CMS DGs to help asses the Medical Decision Making component for the visit.
  • Time-Based Coding: For times when you’re going to code based on time, use this tab to be sure you meet the requirements. Enter the time to see the final code level.
  • Critical Care Services: When you’re coding critical care, review the rules on this tab and enter time to determine the appropriate code level.
  • Final Code Level: Check the E/M level based on the data you entered. Watch for alerts that help ensure optimal coding, such as a note that using different exam criteria (1995 vs. 1997) would raise your level.

Tip: Click the “Save” button after you complete data entry in each tab to allow the calculator to use the information in tabulating the final E/M level.

3. Start Your Next Calculation

On the Final Coder Level tab, there’s a button to “Start New Code Calculation.” Click to move on to the next case!

What About You?

Do you like using calculators to add some automation to finding E/M levels? What do you think of the CMS plans to change documentation requirements?

About 

Deborah works on a wide range of TCI SuperCoder projects, researching and writing about coding, as well as assisting with data updates and tool development for our online coding solutions. Since joining TCI in 2004, she’s covered the ins and outs of coding for radiology, cardiology, oncology and hematology, orthopedics, audiology, and more.

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