Welcome to the Industry: We Have Resources Galore!
When it comes to medical coding resources to make your job easier, AAPC delivers.
AAPC wants members to have access to all the tools and resources they need for a successful career in the business of healthcare. We pride ourselves on being the go-to place for every resource you may ever need to do your job, and do it well. There is a lot of information to tap into, and you may feel overwhelmed and not know where to start. Here is a comprehensive list of AAPC resources, as well as outside information, all in one convenient location.
Arm Yourself With Gold Standard Code Books
AAPC’s ICD-10-CM/PCS and HCPCS Level II code books, and the American Medical Association’s (AMA) CPT® code book, are the best in the industry:
- CPT® codes are used by clinicians to report healthcare procedures. The codes are defined by the AMA’s Editorial Panel, which updates and publishes the official CPT® code book annually. You can take the current year’s CPT® code book into the Certified Professional Coder (CPC®) exam (and into most of our certification exams) for reference.
- ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS Expert code books feature diagnosis and facility procedure codes, respectively. You may take the current year’s ICD-10-CM code book into most AAPC certification exams. The ICD-10-PCS book is allowed in the Certified Inpatient Coder (CIC™) exam.
- HCPCS Level II codes capture durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies (DMEPOS), including injectables, Medicare services, ambulance services, etc. You can bring the current year’s code book into most AAPC certification exams, as well.
These code books house codes, descriptions, guidelines, annotations, reference tables, colored illustrations, coding tips, and clinical examples you need in a color-coded, tabbed, spiral-bound format. They are specially designed by coders for speed and accuracy. To see all the features of these coding books, read the article “2020 Code Books Will Knock Your Socks Off” on pages 40-41 of the September 2019 issue of Healthcare Business Monthly. AAPC code books may be purchased here.
It’s also important to have a good medical dictionary such as Mosby’s Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing & Health Professions. Medical dictionaries provide a quick way to look up human anatomy and terminology, medical instruments, procedures, and diseases.
If you go to AAPC’s Medical Coding and Billing Free Tools webpage, you’ll find all sorts of free stuff, from Mentorship Program information to the E/M Utilization Tool, to the Salary Survey, RVU, and MIPS Score Calculators, to Risk Adjustment and CPT® Code Searches. Other resources include:
AAPC Coder: This is the go-to resource for quick CPT®, HCPCS Level II, and ICD-10 code lookups online. Visit our website to get a free trial.
Knowledge Center: The Knowledge Center is a great place to search for articles on the most current medical coding news and other pertinent information. You can also browse through past Healthcare Business Monthly articles here. Just hover your mouse over the “View More” link under “Hot Topics” in the lower right corner of the page and click on “Healthcare Business Monthly”.
Webinars: AAPC webinars provide education and continuing education units (CEUs) from experts in our industry, at a great price. You can pay for them individually, purchase a year’s worth on demand, or purchase a multiuser subscription. From orthopedics to artificial intelligence, there’s a webinar for you.
Workshops: Workshops are held in a virtual classroom learning environment from your home or office computer. AAPC workshops provide in-depth information on timely healthcare topics. Learn through interactive exercises and online discussions from subject matter experts and interact with presenters to discuss your challenges. Workshop recordings are available on-demand shortly after the live presentations are completed.
Job and Networking Resources
After you pass an AAPC certification exam, reality sets in and you know you need to find a job in your field. The good news is that AAPC has job resources to start your employment search. This is just one of the perks of being a member. You also have access to local chapters, conferences, online forums, Project Xtern, and the AAPC Facebook page. Start networking today!
Local chapters and conferences: The best way to get a job is to be social and network. Attend local chapter meetings, AAPC conferences, and other social events. Look online to find your local chapter officers, meeting times, and dates. Through local chapters and conferences, you can network with healthcare professionals, discover local job opportunities, and earn a lot of CEUs.
Project Xtern: This program helps newly certified coders qualify for a medical coding job by providing work experience that can be applied to resumes and toward the removal of an “apprentice” designation.
Practicode: This is an online rapid proficiency testing tool that uses real, redacted medical records. You gain real-world coding experience that you can apply to a new job or to advance your career. You can also use it to help remove an apprentice designation.
AAPC Facebook page: There are medical coding and billing jobs posted on the AAPC Facebook page, and you can post that you are looking for a job. You can also ask questions about the field, events, and exams. AAPC members and moderators are quick to respond.
Forums: Our discussion boards are a great place to post jobs and resumes, find upcoming local chapter events, and for general employment discussions with other AAPC members.
Live chat: Still can’t find what you’re looking for on the AAPC website? Start a live chat with an AAPC representative via the website’s Contact Us page by clicking the “Chat Now” button.
Find Authoritative Coding Guidance
As a professional coder, you must help your employer stay compliant with payer rules and government regulations. Part of your job is knowing where to go for authoritative healthcare guidelines and reliable coding information. Here is a list of no-cost reliable resources to aid in making correct coding decisions:
- The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS): www.cms.gov offers information for Medicare and Medicaid claims processing forms, manuals, and other directives. Here are a few important resources on the CMS website:
- Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS): The MPFS lists CPT® and HCPCS Level II physician services and procedures reimbursed under Medicare Part B. The relative value units (RVUs) are calculated according to physician work, practice expense, and professional liability insurance. The MPFS provides payment indicators on each procedure code, such as global surgery, multiple surgery, co-surgery/assistant surgery, bilateral procedures, RVUs, etc.
- Internet-Only Manuals (IOMs): IOMs provide day-to-day operating instructions, policies, and procedures based on statutes, regulations, guidelines, models, and directives for Medicare and Medicaid providers and contractors.
- Transmittals: Transmittals communicate new or revised policies or procedures incorporated into the CMS Online Manual System.
- National Correct Coding Initiative (NCCI) edits: These are updated quarterly according to AMA’s coding conventions, national and local policies and edits, national society coding guidelines, analysis of standard medical and surgical practices, and current coding practices. NCCI policies may be different from the CPT® code book. Use these guidelines and bundling rules to ensure proper Medicare and Medicaid billing.
- Medicare Learning Network® (MLN): MLN is a source for free educational materials, training, news, and updates for healthcare professionals on CMS programs, policies, and initiatives.
- Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) resources: MAC handbooks, regulations, compliance guidance, and processing standards can be found here.
Office of Inspector General (OIG) Work Plan: The OIG assesses relative risks in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ operations and programs to identify and target areas most in need of compliance attention. You can use the risk items on their list as an auditing tool to review your own provider billing activities and compliance plans.
Medical societies: Do not rule out seeking guidance offered by specialties on their websites. Although specialty societies’ guidance doesn’t rank over code book authority, AMA and CMS routinely base their own guidelines on recommendations from specialty societies. For more info on medical societies, go to “Your Guide to Specialty Society Webpages” in the November 2019 issue of Healthcare Business Monthly.
An Information Smorgasbord Awaits You
We’ve given you a lot of resources and tools to digest, but you chose this field because you like to research medical procedures, codes, regulations, and guidelines to ensure proper coding and reimbursement is carried out. Healthcare is an endless array of information — dive in and enjoy!
- Don’t Dismiss Juvenile Arthritis as Growing Pains - July 1, 2020
- Welcome to the Industry: Know Your Role in Compliance - July 1, 2020
- Welcome to the Industry: Sharpen Your Electronic Software Skills - June 1, 2020
AAPC's annual salary survey gives a good understanding of the earning potential within the medical coding profession.
See what actually is going on in the healthcare business job market.