Critical care services must be medically necessary and reasonable. Services provided that do not meet critical care services or services provided for a patient who is not critically ill or injured in accordance with the above definitions and criteria but who happens to be in a critical care, intensive care, or other specialized care unit should be reported using another appropriate E/M code (e.g., subsequent hospital care, CPT codes 99231 – 99233).

As described in Section A, critical care services encompass both treatment of “vital organ failure” and “prevention of further life threatening deterioration of the patient’s condition.” Therefore,  although critical care may be delivered in a moment of crisis or upon being called to the patient’s bedside emergently, this is not a requirement for providing critical care service. The treatment and management of the patient’s condition, while not necessarily emergent, shall be required, based on the threat of imminent deterioration (i.e., the patient shall be critically ill or injured at the time of the
physician’s visit).