In and Out

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Inpatient and Outpatient
Rona Bowker
HCR 230
October 16, 2011
University of Phoenix

Inpatient and Outpatient
Inpatient and outpatient services are both similar in the sense that they both are used in the medical field, but they are different because of the facilities, coding, and time span. Although they both are handled at the hospital or a treatment facility they have two very different meanings.

“Inpatient means that the procedure requires the patient to be admitted into the hospital immediately for monitoring and treatment. Outpatient means that the procedure does not require hospital admission and may also be preformed outside of the premises of a hospital. If the procedure is performed in a treatment facility they must be staffed with qualified nurses and doctors. (Imaginis).”

Inpatient and outpatient use the medical codes differently for billing purposes; Inpatient billing uses the principal code first and the primary diagnosis second. Outpatient uses the primary diagnosis first and the principal code second.

The other big difference is “outpatient coding is done while the patient is still present in the treatment facility and inpatient coding is done when the patient is discharged from the hospital (WiseGEEK).”

Another determining factor you should use to find the type of care is the time the patient spent in the facility. “If the patient is in the facility for more than 24 hours than it is inpatient care, if it is less than 24 hours than it is outpatient care (Associated Content from Yahoo!).”

The last example is that most “medical coders start out as outpatient billers because inpatient billing is very complex and us usually done by more experienced medical coders (Medical Coding Training Information for Healthcare Industry Certification).” Bibliography

Imaginis - The Women's Health & Wellness Resource Network. <http://www.imaginis.com>. WiseGEEK: Clear Answers for Common Questions...
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