The benefits of attending a 2017 ACS Surgical Coding Workshop

Each year, the American College of Surgeons (ACS) hosts a series of two-day workshops on correct reporting of Current Procedural Terminology (CPT)* codes with an emphasis on codes commonly used by general surgeons. Led by ACS practice management consultants, these programs include practical explanations for reporting changes, real-life case examples, and educational materials developed by the American Medical Association (AMA).

Who should attend an ACS Surgical Coding Workshop?

The workshops are beneficial for surgeons, administrators, managers, coders, and reimbursement staff. Team attendance is strongly encouraged to ensure accurate, consistent, and complete coding. If the physician is an ACS member, team members or practice employees may attend the workshop at the ACS member rate.

Why should I attend a coding workshop?

When accurate coding is aligned with a clear understanding of payment policies, practices tend to improve their profit margins. Attending an ACS coding workshop increases participants’ knowledge of coding principles and helps them to reduce coding errors and the risk of an audit. The workshop also provides information regarding new codes and audit trends. Furthermore, attendees have the opportunity to share their different coding and practice management ideas, knowledge, and experiences with the other attendees.

What is covered each day of the workshop?

In 2017, the first day of the workshop will focus on correct coding. Topics for discussion include the following: reviewing the accuracy of evaluation and management (E/M) coding against Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services benchmarks; assessing the built-in coding features of your electronic health record system for risks; using the 10th revision of the International Classification of Diseases codes to enhance payment; monitoring and managing your online reputation; addressing deficiencies in practice accounts receivable management; and sharpening your ability to review financial reports.

The second day of the workshop centers on surgical case coding. The instructor will discuss the information that should be included in an operative note if a surgeon is seeking reimbursement for an operation performed with an assistant or co-surgeon.

Other topics that will be discussed on the second day include the following:

  • The difference between CPT and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services rules for coding and billing
  • Services included in the global surgical package and what should be reported separately
  • Use of modifiers and their effects on reimbursement
  • How to report and get paid for unlisted procedures
  • Coding for excisional breast biopsy or partial mastectomy
  • How to initiate a successful appeal when receiving incorrect payment
  • When and how to report E/M services for major and minor procedures, especially trauma
  • The difference between returning a patient to the operating room to treat a surgical complication and a staged procedure
  • Procedures correctly documented and reported that are unrelated to operations done previously in the global period

Do we need to attend another workshop in 2017?

The College recommends attending a workshop once a year because the AMA updates the CPT code set annually. Moreover, improvements in coding constructs, additions of new technology, and changes to coding and reimbursement rules and payment policies make it beneficial to attend regularly.

Can I earn CME credit?

Physician attendees are eligible to receive Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits through the ACS. Physicians are eligible for 6.5 CME credits for each day of attendance. In addition, nonphysician attendees who are members of the American Academy of Professional Coders are eligible for 6.5 continuing education units for each day of attendance.

When and where will the 2017 ACS surgical coding workshops take place?

Dates and locations are as follows:

  • January 26–27: Las Vegas, NV
  • May 11–12: Oak Brook, IL
  • August 10–11: Nashville, TN
  • November 10–11: Chicago, IL

How do I register?

Register for the two-day workshop online on the ACS website or by phone at 312-642-8310. The College offers a special rate for members and their coding staff, but ACS membership is not a requirement for attendance. The member price is $650 per course or $995 for both days. The nonmember price is $750 per day or $1,095 for both days. ACS Fellows and their staff should have their ACS member number available and enter it for each individual registering.

For hotel reservations, contact the hotel that is hosting the workshop. For special pricing, indicate that you are attending the ACS Surgical Coding Workshop (see Table 1).

Table 1. 2017 Surgical Coding workshops

City Date Hotel/venue Hotel phone Rate Hotel cut-off date
Las Vegas, NV January 26–27 The Venetian Las Vegas 888-283-6423
Code = RKARZ
$241 1/4/2017
Oak Brook, IL
(Suburban Chicago)
May 11–12 The Hyatt Lodge at
McDonald’s Campus
888-421-1442 $149 4/19/2017
Nashville, TN August 10–11 Loews Vanderbilt Hotel 800-336-3335 $184 7/19/2017
Chicago, IL
November 10–11 Hyatt Chicago
Magnificent Mile
888-591-1234 $199 10/20/2017

The College also offers airfare discounts on United Airlines. Contact an ACS travel counselor at 800-456-4147 or, or contact United Airlines by phone at 800-521-4041 or online at When booking individual travel, be sure to indicate the name of the meeting and refer to the ACS file numbers provided for any applicable discounts. The ACS file numbers are Agreement Code: 973454; ZCode: ZTEZ.

What other coding resources does the College offer?

To assist surgeons in their efforts to address coding questions, the ACS offers the following resources:

  • The Coding Hotline (800-227-7911): Available Monday–Friday (except holidays), 9:00 am−6:00 pm Eastern time, Coding Hotline staff will answer five free coding questions per year for each Fellow of the ACS. For additional information about the ACS Coding Hotline, visit the ACS website.
  • Coding and practice management corner: This column, published periodically in the Bulletin, provides tips on a range of reimbursement-related issues. Topics covered in past years have included coding for hernia and other complex abdominal repairs, debridement, and sentinel lymph node mapping and its relation to biopsy. This month’s column focuses on modifier 25 (see related article in this issue). These and other articles are available on the ACS website.

*All specific references to CPT codes and descriptions are ©2015 American Medical Association. All rights reserved. CPT and CodeManager are registered trademarks of the American Medical Association.


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