New or Established Patient

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Question:  

I am new to Otolaryngology. I am in a practice that employs a neuro-otologist and a rhinologist in addition to general otolaryngologists. Do the new patient rules apply to each of these specialties? For example, a patient is first seen by the general otolaryngologist and then is sent to the neuro otologist. Can the neuro-otologist bill a new patient visit because he is a different specialty.

Answer:

Welcome to the world of Otolaryngology. Your question is a good one. Medicare defines the specialty designations and the only specialty designated for your practice is Otolaryngology. So while they are subspecialists, they practice within the Otolaryngology specialty according to Medicare. In your scenario, the neuro-otologist will report an established patient visit if the patient is seen within 3 years.