American College of Physicians: Internal Medicine — Doctors for Adults ®


Policy Briefs

From the October 2000 ACP-ASIM Observer, copyright 2000 by the American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine.

ACP-ASIM comments on revised E/M guidelines

The College sent an Aug. 11 letter to HCFA commenting on the agency's latest efforts to streamline the evaluation and management (E/M) guidelines. The College said the draft guidelines are simpler to use, require less unnecessary documentation, involve less counting and will produce more consistent reviews than the current E/M guidelines.

The College submitted 40 different recommendations intended to ensure that documentation requirements do not interfere with physicians' ability to care for their patients. The suggestions include the following:

  • The content of the documentation guidelines must be consistent with the language in Current Procedural Terminology (CPT).
  • HCFA should add language recognizing that "the medical record should be first and foremost a tool of clinical care and communication."
  • HCFA should not require physicians to check countless boxes to indicate that systems were reviewed and were negative.

The full text of the College's comments is available at

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