Each year, the American College of Surgeons (ACS) hosts workshops to teach and reinforce accurate reporting of Current Procedural Terminology (CPT)* codes with an emphasis on codes commonly used by general surgeons. For the first time in 2018, the ACS offered a course for trauma and critical care coding and will continue to offer this course in 2019. These courses include information about annual changes to CPT codes, payor coverage, and examples of coding clinical scenarios.
Surgeons, practice administrators, managers, coders, and reimbursement staff will benefit from attending the workshops. The ACS encourages team attendance to ensure accurate, consistent, and complete coding. Team members or practice employees of ACS members may attend the workshop at the ACS member rate.
Benefits of attending
Attending an ACS coding workshop increases participants’ knowledge of coding principles and helps to reduce coding errors and the risk of audits. When accurate coding is aligned with a clear understanding of payment policies, practices tend to improve their profit margins. The workshops also present an opportunity to share coding and practice management ideas, knowledge, and experiences with other attendees.
Following is a day-by-day list of topics covered in the workshops.
Day 1: Spotlight on Office Procedure and Evaluation and Management (E/M) Coding
- E/M codes and documentation, including new telecommunication codes
- Common office procedures, including new biopsy and fine needle aspiration codes
- Reporting the correct diagnosis
- Payment policies—teaching physician rules, medical necessity
- Practice management—denials, deposits, dashboard
Day 2: Successful Surgical Coding
- New surgical codes for 2019
- Coding and documenting imaging
- Appropriately applying modifiers to surgical codes
- Documenting unlisted procedures
- Case review and coding for breast, hernia, endoscopy, colorectal, bariatric, gallbladder, liver, endovenous, and more
Day 3: Intensive Trauma and Critical Care Coding
- Coding E/M and procedures in the trauma bay and intensive care unit
- Appropriately applying modifiers to both E/M and procedure codes
- Coding for concurrent care
- Trauma diagnosis coding
- Teaching physicians and critical care coding
- Case review and applying trauma coding concepts
Surgeons and their coding staff who attended a 2018 workshop are encouraged to participate in a 2019 program. The American Medical Association updates the CPT code set annually, making it important to attend a workshop once a year. Furthermore, improvements in coding constructs, new technology, and changes to coding and reimbursement rules and payment policies make it beneficial to participate regularly.
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.
The 2019 ACS Surgical Coding Workshops are scheduled as follows:†
- February 28–March 2, 2019: Las Vegas, NV
- March 28–March 30, 2019: New York, NY
- May 9–May 11, 2019: Chicago, IL
- August 8–August 10, 2019: Nashville, TN
Register for the workshop online at or by phone at 312-642-8310. Although ACS membership is not a requirement to attend, the ACS offers a special rate for members and their coding staff. ACS Fellows and their staff should have their ACS member number available and enter it for each individual registering. For hotel reservations at reduced rates, contact the hotel that is hosting the workshop and indicate that you are attending the KZA/ACS General Surgery Coding Workshop.
*All specific references to CPT codes and descriptions are ©2018 American Medical Association. All rights reserved. CPT and CodeManager are registered trademarks of the American Medical Association.
†The trauma coding course will be presented on the third day of each workshop.