AAPC Social Hour: Pro Tips

AAPC Social Hour: Pro Tips

Code book and exam preparation you don’t want to miss.

Hot topics discussed during the AAPC Social Hour on Facebook Live, March 24, 11 a.m. MT included HEALTHCON 2021 and code book and exam prep do’s and don’ts. Joining moderator and AAPC Social Media Manager Alex McKinley was Raemarie Jimenez, CPC, CIC, CPB, CPMA, CPPM, CPC-I, CDEO, CANPC, CRHC, CCS, senior vice president of products at AAPC.

Join Us at HEALTHCON 2021

With less than a week until the commencement of HEALTHCON 2021, the first question McKinley asked Jimenez was if it’s too late to register for the hybrid event. She encouraged anyone interested to register, saying it’s not too late. AAPC is still taking registrations for both the in-person event at the Gaylord Texan in Dallas, Texas, and the virtual experience.

What Can Virtual Attendees Expect?

Jimenez went on to explain what virtual attendees can expect. “We will be live streaming from the conference. So, you will be watching presenters in their on-site rooms. We have virtual monitors in each one of the breakout sessions and in all the general sessions who will be monitoring the chats so that virtual attendees will be able to ask the presenters questions.”

To keep virtual attendees engaged, there will be virtual cafes open during the breaks where members from the National Advisory Board (NAB) and the AAPC Chapter Association Board of Directors will be leading important discussions. Topics include how to transition back to the office after COVID, how to take your career to the next level, and how to get your foot in the door.

Attendees should download the AAPC Conference app to join in games, networking challenges, and exhibits, Among the many benefits of the conference app is that it provides an opportunity for virtual attendees and on-site attendees to interact with each other, Jimenez pointed out.

Great Education at Your Fingertips

AAPC will be recording all conference sessions. Every year we release the handouts for all sessions, so whether you make it to a lecture or not, you have access to the complete library of slides, Jimenez explained. This year AAPC is also making available to all conference attendances the recordings for each session, so everyone will have access to the great education the sessions provide. Note: continuing education units (CEUs) will only be applicable to the sessions an attendee registers for.

Expert Advice on Exams and Preparing Your Code Books

McKinley then moved the conversation to code books. This is one of the hottest topics in the AAPC Facebook Group, he said. Questions most commonly posed are about recommendations on tabbing and marking up the code books. So, he asked Jimenez what examinees can do to best prepare their books for a credentialing exam.

When it comes to coding, attention to detail is imperative, she explained. You want to add things that will quickly draw your eye to important information so you’re not reading everything. Clearly mark code families. Highlight key words that differentiate one code from another. She went on to say, “This is a way for you to not only have a resource that’s well-marked and easy to navigate, but you’re also learning in the process of seeing what this information is.”

Tabs Save Time

Tabbing is one way to save yourself time during an exam, she noted. “Because it’s a time-based test, you want to manage your time effectively. So, the quicker you can turn to key sections in the code book, the quicker you’re going to be navigating your code book during the exam.” Tabbing enables you to get to important sections quickly so that they’re not flipping through so many pages.

Highlight Key Words

She explained that there is a lot of information within the code book, so highlighting and marking key words is also crucial. “Because it’s open book, the more familiar you are with those resources, the better off you’re going to be knowing and remembering exactly where to find key information.”

For example, when it comes to CPT®, there are a lot of guidelines that tell us — this is what you should do, and this is what you shouldn’t do. To help you easily see and differentiate these instructions, Jimenez recommends highlighting using one color to denote everything you can do per the guidelines and marking everything you can’t do in a different color.

What Can and Cannot Be in Your Book on Exam Day

Do highlight and add notes or tabs to elucidate problem areas to make sure you understand the codes and guidelines. Do not add questions from the study materials in your code books. Jimenez stated that the primary intent of allowing handwritten notes is to allow you to summarize what you learned when researching a topic. This way you don’t have to look it up every time, which can help to maximize your efficiency on the job. You can add definitions for the various medical terms or instructions on how to apply a particular guideline, as well.

She pointed out that this provides an opportunity to make helpful tips and distinctions in your code book. These allowances are not intended as a way for you to regurgitate all of the information from your study materials. Putting extensive material from study guides or practice tests will disqualify your book from being used during the exam, Jimenez warned.

Refer to Proctor-to-Examinee Instructions

To help future examinees determine what reference materials are allowed for AAPC exams, McKinley shared the Proctor-to-Examinee Instructions. Proctors read these instructions out loud to the examinees on test day. He said it’s a great resource that tells you what books are allowed and what is permitted to be in them. They went down the list, elaborating on the specific materials that you can use on test day for the different exams and why. McKinley and Jimenez rounded out the session by answering questions from the chat, providing further clarification on the do’s and don’ts as it relates to books and exams.

Catch the Next Social Hour

AAPC’s Social Hour on Facebook Live has become increasingly popular since its inception more than a year ago. The venue provides a great way for AAPC staff and NAB members to interact with membership, answer questions, and provide insight and guidance to healthcare business professionals. We hope to see you at the next Social Hour on April 14. Be sure to follow AAPC’s Social Hour so you can easily find and watch all the recorded sessions.

Stacy Chaplain

About Has 72 Posts

Stacy Chaplain, MD, CPC, is a development editor at AAPC. She has worked in medicine for more than 20 years, with an emphasis on education, writing, and editing since 2015. Prior to AAPC, she led a compliance team as director of clinical coding quality for a multispecialty group practice. Chaplain received her Bachelor of Arts in biology from the University of Texas at Austin and her Medical Doctorate from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. She is a member of the Beaverton, Oregon, local chapter.

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