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Psychiatric Practice and Managed Care
CPT Q&A: Coding for Crisis Interventions
Psychiatric News
Volume 42 Number 1 page 13-13

Q:I specialize in therapy for patients with addiction disorders. A psychiatrist who was seeing a young man with substance abuse problems referred the patient's parents to me. I met with the parents for 50 minutes, discussing primarily their son's case. The son subsequently became my patient, and I am seeing him regularly. My question is, How do I code for the initial session with the parents?

A: The most appropriate code for you to use in this case is 90801 (psychiatric diagnostic interview exam), choosing one of the parents as the patient for billing purposes. you should not use a consultation code because you are not writing a report for the psychiatrist who referred the parents to you. Neither should you use a family therapy code (90846-family psychotherapy, without the patient present). While the family therapy code might seem to be the most appropriate, it does not apply since the son was not yet your patient when you saw the parents.

If you have specific questions about how to code, submit them to APA's coding network by e-mail at hsf@psych.org or fax at (703) 907-1089.

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