April 7, 2022
Medical Coding ABCs

The ABC’s of Medical Coding

By Janine Mothershed

Sometimes it is hard to know where to start when trying to get into Medical Coding. We compiled a list of some of the most common terms used in Medical Coding. If you are getting into the field, It is a very good idea to read and understand these words.

A – AAPC – The world’s largest Medical Coding training and certification association for Medical Coders. They set the standard for Medical Coding credentialing. Coding Clarified teaches an AAPC approved curriculum.

B – Brackets – Brackets [ ] are used in the Tabular List to include synonyms, adjectives or substitute wording. They are used in an alphabetic Index to show manifestation codes.

C – Coding Clarified – Coding Clarified provides a Medical Coding online and self-paced course to prepare you to become a Certified Professional Coder (CPC). In as little as 16 weeks, you will have all your schooling to be able to start your new career. We are a Medical Coding school that helps you every step of the way.

D – Default Code – This code is listed next to a main term in the ICD-10-CM and it is used when there is no specific code for the condition. In some cases it is referred to as an unspecified code.

E – Emergency Department Internship – Coding Clarified offers an ED Internship to the public that are not currently students. You must already be a CPC, or CPC-A Licensure. This will give you the experience that you need to land a better job in the Medical Coding field. See letter H if you are a current student of Coding Clarified.

F – Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) – A Federally Qualified Health Center is an organization that provides a wide range of medical care services for the less fortunate community. Services may include primary care, dental care, mental health services, etc. These claims should be coded using HCPCS code G0071 alone or  along with other G codes.

G – GHP – Group Health Plan – A means for one or more employers to provide health benefits or medical care to their employees.

H – HCC Internship- Hierarchical Conditional Category Medical Coding is a way for medical practices and hospitals to estimate a patient’s future health care costs. It is a concept closely tied with profitability and drives healthcare as a business. Coding Clarified offers an HCC Internship and it is open to all of our students.

I – ICD-10 – This is the 10th revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and related health problems. It is a medical classification list. You must understand this in its entirety to be a Medical Coder.

J – J-Codes – J-codes are a subset of the HCPCS level II codes that are used by hospitals, physicians, and other healthcare professionals. These have a high-order value and can classify specific drugs or other items.

K – K-Codes – Within ICD-10-CM K-codes are a sub-group. They include K00-K95. These codes are used for procedure, supply and  Durable Medical Equipment.

L – Local Codes – Local codes are specific to a state or other local divisions. These are commonly used with HCPC level III codes.

M – Medical Coding is the translation of medical reports into a short code used within the healthcare industry. These codes classify the reason why you are at a medical facility and what is involved.

N – NCHS – The National Center for Health Statistics is a government agency that tracks health information and is responsible for creating and publishing both the clinical modifications to ICD codes and their annual updates.

– Outpatient – The patient is typically treated in a clinic, office or facility and are there for only the day. They do not require an overnight stay. You may be hired as an Outpatient Medical Coder.

P – Practicode Program AAPC – Practicode is a web-based training program allowing new medical coders to gain the confidence of coding real-world cases in a variety of specialties. Completing the Practicode speeds up the process of dropping the apprentice title from CPC-A to a CPC. Learn more.

Q – Q codes – are temporary codes that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) establishes to represent services and supplies that do not yet have a permanent code. These codes are part of the HCPCS Codes from Q0035-Q9992.

R – Relative Value Unit (RVU) – These units define the value of a procedure or service. Understanding these will help you to ensure that you have chosen the correct codes and assist in accuracy.

S – Scholarships – Coding Clarified is proud to be partnered with a plethora of Workforces in many states to offer you scholarships. This lets you attend our program with no cost to you. See if your state is on the list and apply now.

T – Tabular List – A tabular list is a chronological list of ICD-10-CM that is categorized into chapters based on the ailment. You must use a tabular list when assigning a code. Completing the 7th character in the code can only be done with this.

– Upcoding – Referring to an illegal practice of submitting codes that are more serious or expensive for the purpose of increasing the reimbursement from the insurance payor.

V – V Codes – These are the codes that are used to identify any circumstances which might influence the care of a patient. These codes are used to identify conditions that are not considered a disease or injury.

W – Workforce – Many states and communities offer benefits to those who want to learn, better themselves or find employment. It also helps employers find employees. Coding Clarified partners with many Workforce offices around the nation to provide you with FREE Medical Coding schooling. Apply now for a scholarship through the Workforce. 

X – Placeholder X – When there are only six available characters for a code and a seventh needs to be added, it is done with the character of X. This fills in any spaces and completes the code in ICD-10.

Y – Y Codes – ICD-10-CM diagnosis codes in this category refer to diagnoses being present at the time of impatient admission.

Z- Z Codes – These are a special group of codes (Z00-Z99) that provide descriptions if the patient has symptoms, but the disorder is undetermined. The patient still needs treatment and these codes will replace the V codes in ICD-10. They are typically 3-6 characters in length. Sometimes insurance does not reimburse for these codes.

All of the above terms are essential to know and understand for your Medical Coding career. It is very helpful to study them.

If you are currently looking for a Medical Coding School, Coding Clarified would be happy to get you started in your new career path. First apply now for a scholarship.

If you already are a CPC and are looking to better your career with experience, learn more about our ED Internship.

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