Questions about ICD-9, HCPCS and CPT

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What do CPT, ICD-9 and HCPCS stand for?

CPT – Current Procedural Terminology

ICD-9 – International Classification of Diseases, ninth revision

HCPCS – Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System

What are the different codes used for?

CPT codes are used to describe the procedure or treatment the patient actually received.

ICD-9 codes are the diagnostic codes and describe the patient’s medical condition or symptoms.

HCPCS codes 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.

What books do I need to code effectively?

The 3 core coding books mentioned above are used in physicians’ offices, hospitals and payer organizations to perform effective coding. CPT and HCPCS manuals are universal for both physicians and hospital organizations; the ICD-9 book, though, needs to be chosen based on the type of organization you work at. If you work for physician office or outpatient facility, you’ll only need volumes 1-2 of ICD-9-CM manual. Hospitals and payers need to obtain ICD-9-CM Vol. 1, 2 & 3. Volume 3 is a system of procedural codes; it has been adopted for inpatient procedures reported by hospitals. You also may choose to add the Procedural Coding Expert book to you set of core books. This book contains the official AMA CPT® codes and descriptions, CMS’s rules and guidelines, PQRI designation, Relative Value Units (RVUs) 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.

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