OIG sets sights on 'visit codes'

This year, auditors from the Office of the Inspector General are expected to begin work on a project to determine "whether physicians are correctly coding evaluation and management services in locations other than teaching hospitals and whether carriers are adequately monitoring physician coding," according to the agency's 1999 work plan. These additional locations include non-teaching hospitals, nursing homes, outpatient clinics, the home setting, and other locations at which physicians might visit patients, says Judy Holtz, spokeswoman for the OIG.

According to the work plan, "Previous work by OIG has found that physicians do not accurately or uniformly use visit coding." The audit report, originally scheduled for late 1998, "will build upon this previous work and add more definitive data on the accuracy of physician visits coding."