Medical Coding Books FAQs

  • CPT® – Current Procedural Terminology
  • ICD-9-CM – International Classification of Diseases, ninth revision, Clinical Modification.
  • HCPCS Level II – Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System
  • ICD-10-CM – International Classification of Diseases, tenth revision, Clinical Modification
  • ICD-10-PCS – International Classification of Diseases, tenth revision, Procedure Coding System

CPT® codes are used to describe the procedure or treatment the patient actually received. and ICD-10 codes are the diagnostic codes and describe the patient’s medical condition or symptoms. HCPCS Level II are used to identify products, supplies, and services such as ambulance services and durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies (DMEPOS) when used outside a physician's office.

Learn more about the different code sets.

CPT®, HCPCS Level II, and ICD-10 coding books are used in physicians’ offices, facilities, and payer organizations to perform accurate coding.

The CPT®, and HCPCS Level II code books are universal for both physicians and hospital organizations. The ICD-10 book you use (CM or PCS) is chosen based on the type of organization where you work or plan to work.

Professionals working for a physician office or free-standing or facility-affiliated outpatient facility will only need the ICD-10-CM code book to document diagnoses. Inpatient facilities need both the ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS books. The CM is used to document diagnoses that will be used to determine the patient’s diagnostic related grouping (DRG); the PCS book is used to document procedures performed in hospitals.

Many professionals add the Procedural Coding Expert book to their set of core books. This book contains the official AMA CPT® codes and descriptions, CMS’ rules and guidelines, Relative Value Units (RVUs), HCC codes, and other valuable features, but excludes the AMA’s rules and guidelines. The Procedural Coding Expert book is a great supplement to your AMA CPT® book.

Every October 1, the upcoming year's ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS code books are implemented for the following 12 months. All other codebooks such as CPT® and HCPCS Level II are implemented in the healthcare industry every January 1.

Since the code sets for each coding book are updated every year, it's essential for coders to have the current year’s books to ensure accurate performance. Reporting wrong codes can lead to denied claim submissions and substantial penalization. It's clearly very important to get an education on the annual code set updates and to obtain new code books every year.

All AAPC exams are based on the current calendar year's code sets, so we strongly suggest you use the current year's books. The previous calendar year’s books may be used on an exam, but you would be at obvious disadvantage doing so. The upcoming year's books are not allowed for exam use. The exams are updated every January for the new code sets.

In other words, all exams administered in 2019 are based on the 2019 code sets, and we strongly recommend using the 2019 code books. Code books from 2018 may be used on the 2019 exams, but doing so puts the success of your exam at risk. Code books from 2020 may not be used on 2019 exams.

Our expert editions of the ICD-10-CM and HCPCS Level II code books are the highest quality versions and loaded with additional information. These books are enhanced with unique features often including additional tables and crosswalks, code alerts, icons and appendices, definitions, rules, and references. All of these features help coders to eliminate costly errors and code more accurately and efficiently. The expert version is also equipped with spiral binding which makes it easier to use.

Customers purchasing AAPC code books receive code updates and other important code information each month in our code update email newsletter.

We no longer include guidelines at the beginning of each chapter, because Official Guidelines come out after these books are sent to be printed. Now, you can find updates on our website on the Medical Coding Books Updates support page. This way, you always have access to the most current guidelines.

 

Index

FM

Tabular

Appendix

ICD-10-CM

7pt

8pt

7.5pt

7pt

ICD-10-PCS

8pt

9pt

8pt

8pt

PCE

8pt

9pt

9pt, 8pt

8.5pt

PDR

-

9pt

8pt

-

HCPCS

8.5pt

8.5pt

8.5pt

8.5pt

Tab dividers are included in our ICD-10-CM, ICD-10-PCS, HCPCS, Procedure Desk Reference (PDR), and Procedural Coding Expert (PCE).

The Procedure Desk Reference (PDR) is the only AAPC book printed in black and white. All other code books are printed in color.

ICD-10-CM codes can occasionally be used to report signs and symptoms. In the outpatient setting, signs and symptoms can be reported as the first listed diagnosis if a definite diagnosis is not established. Signs and symptoms can also be reported as secondary diagnoses if they are not part of the first listed condition.

It is much less common to report signs and symptoms as the principal diagnosis in the inpatient setting, but a few exceptions may apply. Refer to the Official Guidelines for specifics.

The International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition, Clinical Modification (ICD-10-CM) is a code set used to classify diagnoses in both the inpatient and outpatient setting.

The International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition, Procedure Coding System (ICD-10-PCS) is a coding system used to classify procedures performed in the inpatient setting.

Since the code sets for each book are updated every year, it's essential for coders to use the most current book to ensure accurate coding. Reporting wrong codes can lead to denied claim submissions and substantial penalization. It's imperative to stay up-to-date on new codes and changes and to obtain new code books every year.

All AAPC exams are based on the current year's code sets. The previous year's books may be used on an exam, but they may be inaccurate and result in errors. The upcoming year's books are not allowed for exam use.

For example, all exams administered in 2019 are based on the 2019 (versus 2020) code sets. Code books from 2018 may be used on the 2019 exams, but you risk using outdated or incorrect codes.

Refer to the chart below to find the books and resources allowed at various exams.

Allowed Reference Material

Manual calculators are allowed for all exams (No smart phones, smart watches or Fitbits)

Exam

Certification

Questions

Books*/References

Certified Professional Coder

CPC®

150

1, 2, 3

Certified Inpatient Coder

CIC

60 multiple choice,

10 inpatient cases (fill in the blank)

2 and ICD-10-PCS

Certified Outpatient Coder

COC

150

1, 2, 3

Certified Professional Biller

CPB

200

1, 2, 3

Certified Professional Medical Auditor

CPMA®

150

1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Certified Professional Compliance Officer

CPCO

150

*11

Certified Physician Practice Manager

CPPM®

200

No books are needed

Certified Risk Adjustment Coder

CRC

150

2

Certified Documentation Expert Outpatient

CDEO®

150

1, 2, 3, 4, 5,10

Specialty Certification

Exam

Certification

Questions

Books*/References

Ambulatory Surgery Center

CASCC

150

1, 2, 3, 10

Anesthesia/Pain Management

CANPC

150

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10

Cardiology

CCC

150

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 10

Cardiovascular/Thoracic

CCVTC

150

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 10

Dermatology

CPCD

150

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10

Emergency Department

CEDC

150

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10

Evaluation and Management

CEMC

150

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10

Family Practice

CFPC

150

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10

Gastroenterology

CGIC

150

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10

General Surgery

CGSC

150

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10

Hematology/Oncology

CHONC

150

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10

Obstetrics/Gynecology

COBGC

150

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10

Orthopaedic Surgery

COSC

150

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10

Pediatric

CPEDC

150

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10

Rheumatology

CRHC

150

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10

Urology

CUC

150

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10

Ophthalmology

COPC

150

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10

Interventional Radiology and Cardiovascular

CIRCC®

150

1,3,8

Instructor Certification

These exams are given two hours to complete

Exam

Certification

Questions

Books*/References

CPC Instructor

Approved Instructor

50

1, 2, 3

CPB Instructor

Approved Instructor

70

1, 2, 3

CPPM Instructor

Approved Instructor

70

No books are needed

CRC Instructor

Approved Instructor

50

2

CIC Instructor

Approved Instructor

50

2, ICD-10-PCS

COC Instructor

Approved Instructor

50

1, 2, 3

CPMA Instructor

Approved Instructor

50

1, 2, 3, 4, 5

CDEO Instructor

Approved Instructor

50

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10

Books*

  • CPT® (AMA Professional edition ONLY). No other publisher is allowed.
  • Your choice of ICD-10-CM. Also approved: The printed ICD-10-CM Official Guidelines. Highlighting, underlining and brief notations needed for day- to-day coding is permitted on the printed side of the page. Long passages of information are not permitted on the blank pages of the print out.
  • Your choice of HCPCS Level II.
  • The CMS 1995 and 1997 Evaluation and Management (E/M Documentation Guidelines.)
  • E/M Audit Worksheets of your choice.
  • ASA RVG.
  • CPT® crosswalk.
  • Anatomical charts or pictures of the vascular tree. These may have codes on them.
  • Both volumes of the Coding Companion.
  • One reference of your choice. This does allow Medical Dictionary.
  • OIG Supplemental Compliance Program Guidance for Hospitals.
    OIG Compliance Program for Individuals & Small Group Physician Practices.
    OIG Compliance Program Guidance for Third-Party Medical Billing Companies.

*Notes on printed sides of the OIG pages are allowed.

All AAPC exams require the ICD-10-CM medical code book

The codes are implemented each year on October 1.

For the AAPC exams, you may use your choice of ICD-10-CM. View the full list of allowed reference materials for all AAPC exams.

  • ICD-10-PCS Complete Code Set - August
  • ICD-10-CM Complete Code Set - September
  • AMA CPT Professional - October
  • Procedural Coding Expert (PCE) - November
  • HCPCS Level 2 - December

Preorders may be cancelled at any time prior to shipment. If your books have already shipped, please refer to our standard return policy, which states all returns must be submitted within 30 days of the shipment date. Call (800) 626-2633 to cancel or return your order.

Customers who purchase AAPC code books receive code updates and other important information in our monthly email newsletter.

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