Optimizing Advanced Practitioner Charge Capture in High-Acuity Surgical Intensive Care Units | Critical Care Medicine | JAMA Surgery | JAMA Network
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May 2011May 16, 2011

Optimizing Advanced Practitioner Charge Capture in High-Acuity Surgical Intensive Care Units

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Surgery, Hartford Hospital, Hartford, Connecticut.

Arch Surg. 2011;146(5):552-555. doi:10.1001/archsurg.2011.93

Objective  To determine the impact of standardized critical care documentation tools on charge capture by intensive care unit (ICU) advanced practitioners (APs).

Design  Prospective charge capture analysis of AP critical care charges (Current Procedural Terminology codes 99291 or 99292).

Setting  Neurosurgical, general surgical, and cardiothoracic ICUs in a level I, 800-bed hospital. The AP provider to patient ratio was 1:6, with 24-hour surgical intensivist oversight.

Participants  Advanced practice registered nurses and physician assistants in the ICU.

Interventions  Standardized templates were developed to simplify documentation and optimize billing of critical care. All APs participated in comprehensive educational sessions on billing compliance and documentation.

Main Outcome Measures  Charge capture was collected for 3 years, and comparisons were made between the first quarter before (fiscal year [FY] 2008), during (FY 2009) and after (FY 2010) implementation. The number of ICU patient-days, length of stay, and of beds was collected.

Results  During the implementation/education phase (FY 2009), there were no differences in charge capture compared with FY 2008. Each unit demonstrated an increase in charge capture after implementation, and an overall increase of 48% for all 3 ICUs was seen. The number of admissions and length of stay were not statistically different. The total number of ICU beds increased from 42 to 45 during the evaluation period. The salary offset for APs increased from 62% to 80%.

Conclusions  Advanced practitioners represent an important component of the critical care services provided to patients in high-acuity surgical ICUs. Standardized critical care documentation and comprehensive education on evaluation and management guidelines significantly increased charge capture.