Each year the American College of Surgeons (ACS) hosts a series of two-day
workshops on the application
of changes to the Current
Procedural Terminology (CPT)*
code set with an emphasis
on codes commonly used by
general surgeons. Instructors
from the practice management
consulting firm KarenZupko
& Associates deliver practical
explanations for each change
using real case examples
and educational materials
developed by the American
Medical Association (AMA).
Who should attend an ACS
Surgical Coding Workshop?
managers, coders, and
reimbursement staff all report
benefiting from the workshops.
Team attendance is strongly
encouraged to ensure accurate,
consistent, and complete coding.
Registration discounts are
offered when three or more
team members enroll together.
Furthermore, if the physician
is an ACS member, team
members or practice employees
may attend the workshop
at the ACS member rate.
How often does coding change?
Should I plan to attend a
workshop each year?
Codes change frequently. In
fact, 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
a workshop each year.
What are the advantages of
attending an ACS Surgical
When accurate coding is aligned
with a clear understanding of
payment policy rules, practices
will improve their profit margins.
Attending an ACS coding
workshop increases participants’
knowledge of coding principles
and helps them develop the skills
needed to decrease coding errors
and reduce the risk of an audit.
The workshop also comprises
information regarding the new
codes for the year and audit
trends, and allows participants
to practice accurate coding.
Additionally, attendees have
the opportunity to share their
different coding and practice
management ideas, knowledge,
experiences, and backgrounds
with the group. Attendees can
learn how their colleagues are
handling coding, billing, and
practice management issues.
What will I learn?
Because the code set is updated
annually, the topics discussed at
an ACS coding workshop change
from year to year. However,
the focus of the first day of the
workshop is on how to code
correctly. Topics include selecting
the right type of code and level of
service in all situations, identifying
evaluation and management
(E/M) services that are part of the
global payment and those that
may be billed separately, and the
transition to ICD- 10 (see related
article, page 31). These topics are
addressed with an emphasis on
their effects on surgical practices.
The second day of the workshop
is dedicated to surgical case
coding. The instructor discusses
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 discussed include:
• The difference between CPT rules
and Medicare rules and how this
variance affects coding and billing
•Services included in the global
•Modifiers: how they are used and
how they affect reimbursement
by Sarah Kurusz and Molly Peltzman, MA
*All specific references to CPT codes and
descriptions are © 2014 American Medical
Association. All rights reserved. CPT and
CodeManager are registered trademarks
of the American Medical Association.
The benefits of attending a
2015 ACS Surgical Coding Workshop