What Are CPT Codes And Why Do They Matter

What Are CPT Codes

Working as a medical coding specialist, you need to know a whole variety of abbreviations used in the healthcare system.

Usually, most medical assistants can be confused with a whole bunch of medical terminologies such as PERRLA, VS, HR, OD, and OS.

However, administrative medical assistants should be able to deal with all these mysterious terms easily.

Below you can find some information that will be useful for those who want to learn about medical coding.

What Are CPT Codes?

Vocational Training, Education, Medical Coding, Medical Assistant

Are CPT Codes and ICD-10 Codes the Same Thing?

There are two main types of medical coding:

  • International Classification of Disease Codes or ICD-10 codes are used to identify injuries, illnesses and their symptoms as well as medical conditions. It is used between insurance companies and healthcare providers.
  • Current Procedural Terminology that is also known as CPT codes, is used to identify services and procedures and services provided by healthcare facilities and professionals.

Medical, surgical, laboratory, radiological and diagnostic services can be described with the help of CPT codes.

They are widely used by healthcare facilities, medical professionals and insurance companies.

The aim of this coding system is to standardize reimbursements and payments from insurance companies.

ICD-10 codes and CPT codes are closely related as the first ones aim to describe symptoms and diagnosis according to which different services are provided.

The American Medical Association created Current Procedural Terminology codes in the 1960s.

It was made in order to create a standard system that will help to organize medical records where procedures and services are listed.

There are about 10 000 different CPT codes that consist of 6 digits.

They range between 00100 and 99499 but sometimes two-digit modifying codes may be added in order to specify some procedures and services.

Sometimes, more than one code is used in order to describe only one service as it consists of several procedures.

It is very important to know all these codes and be very attentive and precise while working with them.

That is the main reason why numerous healthcare facilities all over the country tend to hire well-trained specialists.

If you are interested in this career, you can apply for a special training program on medical coding and billing.

It’s very important to get properly trained as the system of CPT codes is very complex and develops constantly.

It means that new codes appear rapidly while old codes may change so they fit new technologies, medical practices, and rules.

It is the CPT Editorial Panel that constantly monitors changes in the field and makes adjustments according to those changes.

The members of this panel gather three times a year so they can learn data provided by physicians, medical devices manufacturers, senior professionals, and researchers from all over the country.

They learn all the submitted requests about various coding changes and make a decision about their acceptance or rejection.

To submit a change request, a medical professional should fulfill a special form that can be found on the American Medical Association website and send it to the Panel within the identified deadline.

Every year, the CPT Editorial Panel receives about 350 requests.

There are four possible outcomes for each of these requests.

It can be accepted and the panel will add new code or revise an old one.

Also, it can be left for further evaluation, postponed to the next meeting, or completely rejected.

From first sight, it seems that CPT codes are very complex and difficult but the truth is that they can significantly simplify the medical billing process.

Administrative medical assistants are closely related to this process so they need to know all these codes well.

If you want to be a qualified medical assistant, you need to know all these codes and update your knowledge constantly.

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