WHY THE -25 MODIFIER IS SO IMPORTANT TO MEDICAL CODING

DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE…
-25 Modifier

​Many times, a patient’s “Oh, by the way …” comment turns an encounter that was scheduled as a preventive medicine visit into something more.

According to CPT, separate, significant physician evaluation and management (E/M) work that goes above the physician work normally associated with a preventive medicine service or a minor surgical procedure is additionally billable. The code that tells the insurer you should be paid for both services is modifier -25. Used correctly, it can generate extra revenue.

Modifier -25 indicates that on the day of a procedure, the patient’s condition required a significant, separately identifiable E/M service.

***Unfortunately, not all insurers will pay you for the separate E/M service even if you code in compliance with CPT rules. Be sure to have your staff appeal any denied or bundled claims. A review of your documentation by the insurer may result in payment for your work.


The use of modifier 25 has specific requirements.

  1. The E/M service must be significant. The problem must warrant physician work that is medically necessary. This can be defined as a problem that requires treatment with a prescription or a problem that would require the patient or family to return for another visit to address it. A minor problem or concern would not warrant the billing of an E/M-25 service.
  2. The E/M service must be separate. The problem must be distinct from the other E/M service provided (eg, preventive medicine) or the procedure being completed. Separate documentation for the E/M-25 problem is helpful in supporting the use of modifier 25 and especially important to support any necessary denial appeal.
  3. The E/M service must be provided on the same day as the other procedure or E/M service. This may be at the same encounter or a separate encounter on the same day.
  4. Modifier 25 should always be attached to the E/M code. If provided with a preventive medicine visit, it should be attached to the established office E/M code (99211–99215).
  5. The separately billed E/M service must meet documentation requirements for the code level selected. It will sometimes be based on time spent counseling and coordinating care for chronic problems.