Annual depression screening code G0444
Medicare pays primary care practices to screen all Medicare patients annually for depression. The service must be provided in a primary care setting, in place of service office, outpatient hospital, independent clinic or in a state or local health department.
This service is paid using HCPCS code G0444, annual depression screening, 15 minutes. The reimbursement is relatively low, about $18 for the screening.
Who can perform the service?
This service could be done by a physician or non-physician practitioner (NPP). However, Medicare allows it to be done by staff members.
It must be done in a primary care setting with “staff-assisted depression care supports in place.” What does that mean? From the MLN Matters article:
“At a minimum level, staff-assisted depression care supports consist of clinical staff (e.g., nurse, Physician Assistant) in the primary care office who can advise the physician of screening results and who can facilitate and coordinate referrals to mental health treatment.
More comprehensive care supports include a case manager working with the primary care physician; planned collaborative care between the primary care provider and mental health clinicians; patient education and support for patient self-management; plus attention to patient preferences regarding counseling, medications, and referral to mental health professionals with or without continuing involvement by the patient’s primary care physician.”
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