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Diagnostic Assessment

Revised 12-19-2017

  • Overview
  • Eligible Providers
  • Eligible Recipients
  • Covered Services
  • Standard Diagnostic Assessment
  • Extended Diagnostic Assessment
  • Adult Diagnostic Assessment Update
  • Brief Diagnostic Assessment
  • Interactive Complexity
  • Noncovered Services
  • Authorizations
  • Billing
  • Legal References
  • Overview

    A diagnostic assessment (DA) is a written report that documents the clinical and functional face-to-face evaluation of a recipient’s mental health. The report must include the recipient’s:

  • • Nature, severity and impact of behavioral difficulties
  • • Functional impairment
  • • Subjective distress
  • • Strengths and resources
  • A diagnostic assessment is necessary to determine a recipient’s eligibility for mental health services.

    In addition, the provider may perform the DA with or without medical services. Medical services include:

  • • Prescription of medications
  • • Reviewing and ordering laboratory services
  • • Other diagnostic studies
  • Eligible Providers

    The following mental health professionals may enroll as a Minnesota Health Care Programs (MHCP) provider and render a diagnostic assessment:

  • • Clinical nurse specialist (CNS)
  • • Licensed independent clinical social worker (LICSW)
  • • Licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT)
  • • Licensed professional clinical counselor (LPCC)
  • • Licensed psychologist (LP)
  • • Psychiatric nurse practitioner (NP)
  • • Psychiatrist
  • In addition, the following individuals may render a diagnostic assessment:

  • • An individual certified by tribal council as a mental health professional, serving a federally recognized tribe
  • Mental health practitioners who qualify as clinical trainees
  • Clinical Supervision
    Clinical supervision" means the documented time a clinical supervisor and supervisee spend together to discuss the supervisee's work, to review individual client cases, and for the supervisee's professional development. It includes the documented oversight and supervision responsibility for planning, implementation and evaluation of services for a client's mental health treatment.

    For more information, see the following:

  • • Eligibility for Clinical Supervision: see MN Rule 9505.0371, subp. 4.
  • • Clinical Trainee: A mental health practitioner who meets the qualifications specified in Minnesota Rules, part 9505.0371, subpart 5, item C.
  • Eligible Recipients

    All MHCP recipients are eligible for diagnostic assessment.

    Covered Services

    To be eligible for MHCP payment, a diagnostic assessment must:

  • • Identify a mental health diagnosis and recommend services, or determine the recipient does not meet the criteria for a mental health disorder. This is used as the factual basis to develop the recipient’s treatment plan
  • • Include a face-to-face interview with the recipient and a written evaluation. Diagnostic assessments may be conducted using telemedicine technology when appropriate
  • • Meet the conditions of one of the following four types of DA. Include a description of which of these types of DA is used in the written report:
  • • Standard diagnostic assessment
  • • Extended diagnostic assessment
  • • Adult diagnostic assessment update
  • • Brief diagnostic assessment
  • Standard Diagnostic Assessment

    The following can perform a diagnostic assessment with medical services:

  • • Psychiatrists
  • • Clinical nurse specialist-mental health (CNS-MH)
  • • Psychiatric nurse practitioner (NP)
  • Providers conduct a standard DA in the cultural context of the recipient. It includes all of the components of the brief DA, and all of the following:

  • The reason for the assessment, including the recipient’s:
  • • Perceptions of his or her condition
  • Description of symptoms (including reason for referral)
  • History of mental health treatment (including review of recipient’s records)
  • Important developmental incidents
  • Maltreatment, trauma or abuse issues
  • History of alcohol and drug usage and treatment
  • Health history and family health history, including physical, chemical and mental health history
  • Cultural influences and their impact on the recipient
  • • An assessment of the recipient’s needs based on:
  • • Baseline measurements
  • • Symptoms
  • • Behavior
  • • Skills
  • • Abilities
  • • Resources
  • • Vulnerabilities
  • • Safety
  • • Assessment methods and use of standardized assessment tools
  • • Clinical summary, including recommendations and prioritization of needed mental health or other services
  • • Involvement of the recipient and recipient’s family in the assessment and his or her preferences or referrals to services
  • Sufficient data to support findings on all axes of the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), and any differential diagnosis
  • Providers must complete a new standard DA for a child:

  • • At least annually following the initial DA if additional services are needed
  • • When a child does not meet the criteria for a brief or extended DA
  • • When the child’s mental health condition has changed markedly since the child’s most recent DA
  • • When the child’s current mental health condition does not meet criteria of the child’s current diagnosis
  • Providers may use a new standard DA for an adult:

  • • At least every three years following the initial standard or extended DA for an adult who receives services
  • • When the adult does not meet the criteria for a brief DA or an adult update
  • • When the adult’s mental health condition has changed markedly since the adult’s most recent DA
  • • When the adult’s current mental health condition does not meet criteria of the adult’s current diagnosis
  • Extended Diagnostic Assessment

    An extended DA includes all components of a standard DA, gathered over three or more appointments. The recipient requires significant additional assessment time due to complex needs, caused by:

  • • Acuity of psychotic disorder
  • • Cognitive or neurocognitive impairment
  • • A need to consider past diagnoses and determine their current applicability
  • • Co-occurring substance abuse use disorder
  • • Disruptive or changing environments
  • • Communication barriers
  • • Cultural considerations
  • For child recipients:

  • • Providers may conduct appointments outside the office, with or without the child present, for face-to-face consultation and information gathering with:
  • • Family members
  • • Doctors
  • • Caregivers
  • • Teachers
  • • Other providers
  • • May involve directly observing the child in various settings that the child frequents (home, school, care settings)
  • For children under age 5:

  • • Utilize the DC:0-3R diagnostic system for young children
  • • Early childhood mental status exam that assesses the child’s developmental, social and emotional functioning and style with the family and with the examiner. The exam includes:
  • • Physical appearance including dysmorphic features
  • • Reaction to new setting and people and adaptation during evaluation
  • • Self-regulation, including sensory regulation, unusual behaviors, activity level, attention span and frustration tolerance
  • • Physical aspects, including motor function, muscle tone, coordination, tics, abnormal movements and seizure activity
  • • Vocalization and speech production, including expressive and receptive language
  • • Thought, including fears, nightmares, dissociative states and hallucinations
  • • Affect and mood, including modes of expression, range, responsiveness, duration and intensity
  • • Play, including structure, content, symbolic functioning and modulation of aggression
  • • Cognitive functioning
  • • Relatedness to parents, other caregivers and examiner
  • • Other assessment tools as determined and periodically revised by the commissioner
  • Providers must complete a new extended DA for a child:

  • • At least annually following the initial DA if additional services are needed
  • • When a child does not meet the criteria for a brief or standard DA
  • • When the child’s mental health condition has changed markedly since the child’s most recent DA
  • • When the child’s current mental health condition does not meet criteria of the child’s current diagnosis
  • For adult recipients:

  • • Appointments may be conducted outside the office for face-to-face assessment with the adult
  • • May involve directly observing the adult in various settings that the adult frequents (home, school, job, service settings, community settings)
  • • May include face-to-face meetings with:
  • • The adult and family members
  • • Doctors
  • • Caregivers
  • • Teachers
  • • Social support network members
  • • Recovery support resource representatives
  • • Other providers
  • • Completion of other assessment standards for adults
  • Providers must complete a new extended DA for an adult:

  • • When the adult does not meet the criteria for a brief or standard DA
  • • Who has complex needs and requires at least three diagnostic appointments to complete the assessment, which allows further mental health services for one year
  • • When the adult’s mental health condition has changed markedly since the adult’s most recent diagnostic assessment
  • • When the adult’s current mental health condition does not meet criteria of the adult’s current diagnosis
  • • Documentation of covered services
  • • Medical necessity, individual treatment plan and progress note criteria the same as standard diagnostic assessment
  • Adult Diagnostic Assessment Update

    For adults 18 years old and over, use an adult DA update to revise a standard or extended DA that has occurred:

  • • Within the past 12 months
  • • Within the past 24 months, when a previous adult diagnostic assessment update has occurred within the past 12 months
  • An adult DA update must include:

  • • Review of the recipient’s life situation
  • • Significant new or changed information; or document where there has not been significant change
  • • Screenings for substance use, abuse or dependency
  • • Mental status exam
  • • An assessment of the recipient’s needs based on:
  • • Baseline measurements
  • • Symptoms
  • • Behavior
  • • Skills
  • • Abilities
  • • Resources
  • • Vulnerabilities
  • • Safety
  • • Clinical summary
  • • Clinical summary, including recommendations and prioritization of needed mental health or other services
  • • Involvement of the recipient and recipient’s family in the assessment and his or her preferences or referrals to services
  • • Diagnosis on all axes of the current DSM
  • • Documentation of covered services
  • • Medical necessity, individual treatment plan and progress note criteria the same as standard diagnostic
  • Brief Diagnostic Assessment

    A brief DA includes:

  • • Sufficient information to apply a provisional clinical hypothesis; the clinical hypothesis may be used to address the recipient’s immediate needs or presenting problem
  • The recipient’s current life situation, including the following:
  • Age
  • • Description of symptoms including reason for referral
  • • A mental status exam
  • • History of mental health treatment
  • • Cultural influences
  • • A clinical summary that explains the provisional diagnostic hypothesis
  • Providers may use a brief diagnostic assessment for:

  • • A new recipient
  • • An existing recipient who had less than 10 sessions of psychotherapy in previous 12 months and is projected to need 10 or fewer psychotherapy session in the next 12 months or
  • • An existing recipient who only needs medication management
  • • An annual assessment, if the recipient’s treatment history and provider’s clinical judgment suggest the recipient will need ten or fewer mental health sessions in the next 12 months
  • • Recipient who requires a language interpreter to participate in the assessment and meets the requirement of an existing client who needs fewer than 10 sessions of psychotherapy in a 12 month and is projected to need fewer than 10 sessions of psychotherapy in the following 12 months.
  • Providers cannot use a brief diagnostic assessment for the following:

  • • When a recipient or recipient’s family requires a language interpreter to participate: When a recipient is expected to need more than 10 sessions of mental health services in a 12 month period
  • • Documentation of covered services
  • • Medical necessity, individual treatment plan and progress note criteria the same as standard diagnostic
  • Clinical Supervision
    See Clinical Supervision of Outpatient Mental Health Services.

    CTSS Requirements
    CTSS requires an annual DA for children up to age 18 (CTSS annual DA exception). For adolescents age 18-21, only an annual adult DA update is required unless the mental health status has changed.

    Interactive Complexity

    Use the Interactive Complexity add-on code (90785) to designate a service with interactive complexity. Report interactive complexity for services when any of the following exist during the visit:

  • • Communication difficulties among participants that complicate care delivery, related to issues such as:
  • • High anxiety
  • • High reactivity
  • • Repeated questions
  • • Disagreement
  • • Caregiver emotions or behaviors that interfere with implementing the treatment plan
  • • Evidence is discovered or discussed relating to an event that must be reported to a third party. This may include events such as abuse or neglect that require a mandatory report to the state agency
  • • The mental health provider overcomes communication barriers by using any of the following methods:
  • • Play equipment
  • • Physical devices
  • • An interpreter
  • • A translator for recipients who:
  • • Are not fluent in the same language as the mental health provider
  • • Have not developed or have lost the skills needed to use or understand typical language
  • Medical Necessity
    Document the medical necessity for mental health services in the diagnostic assessment if it establishes a mental illness.

    Individual Treatment Plan (ITP)
    Document in the ITP the specific interventions, describing how the mental health professionals will use services to treat mental illness.

    Progress Notes
    Document the diagnostic assessment in progress notes, including the following information:

  • • Date of service
  • • Start and stop time of service
  • • Place of service
  • • Who was part of service
  • • Plan and action for next steps
  • • Date documentation in the recipient’s record
  • • Who rendered service
  • • Who supervised, if required
  • Noncovered Services

    Providers who are allied mental health professionals or adult mental health rehabilitation professionals cannot perform a DA.

    Authorization

  • • Refer to Authorization for general authorization policy and procedures. Authorization is required to exceed two diagnostic assessment sessions per calendar year
  • • When requesting authorization for services that are to be performed with interactive complexity, include the Interactive Complexity add-on code on the authorization request
  • To request authorization, submit the following:

  • MHCP Authorization Form (DHS-4695) (PDF) (except when using MN–ITS)
  • • Any past DA’s, or an explanation of why it is not available and any attempts to obtain
  • • Written explanation of why the new DA is needed
  • Billing

    Follow these guidelines for billing:

  • • Bill a diagnostic assessment (DA) online using MN–ITS 837P
  • • Complete all Diagnostic Assessment (DA) Report Components before billing a DA
  • • Enter the date of service for the DA as the date the written DA report is completed
  • • Enter the treating provider NPI number on each claim line
  • • Add appropriate modifiers for each type and when clinical trainees conduct the assessment
  • If a diagnostic assessment does not result in a diagnosis of mental illness or emotional disturbance, the provider is allowed to provide and bill for the following if performed:

  • 90887: One Explanation of Findings session
  • 96101, 96102, 96103: Psychological Testing
  • Do not bill for diagnostic assessment on the same day as:

  • • E/M services provided by the same provider
  • • Psychotherapy services (any type)
  • Use the following table for billing services with date of service on or after January 1, 2013:

    CPT Codes for Diagnostic Assessment

    Code

    Modifier

    Brief Description

    Unit

    Limitations

    90791

    Standard diagnostic assessment

    1 Session

  • • Maximum of four sessions, cumulative (90791 and 90792, all types) per calendar year
  • • A recipient may not receive more than two brief diagnostic assessments in a calendar year
  • • Interactive complexity add-on 90785 may be used with 90791 and 90792
  • • 90792 may be provided by:
  • • Clinical nurse specialist-mental health (CNS-MH)
  • • Psychiatric nurse practitioner (NP)
  • • Psychiatrist
  • • Clinical trainees associated with these mental health professional types
  • • Add modifier HN for services provided by a clinical trainee
  • 52

    Brief diagnostic assessment

    TG

    Extended diagnostic assessment

    TS

    Adult update diagnostic assessment

    90792

    Standard diagnostic assessment with medical services

    1 Session

    52

    Brief diagnostic assessment with medical services

    TG

    Extended diagnostic assessment with medical services

    TS

    Adult update diagnostic assessment with medical services

    Teaching hospitals may enter the GC modifier for services performed under the direction of a supervising physician.


    Legal References

    Minnesota Rules 9505.0370, 9505.0371, 9505.0372 Mental Health Services

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