By Jeffrey D Lehrman, DPM, FASPS, MAPWCA, CPC, CPMA
To ensure the efficiency and profitability of your practice, provide high-level care to your patients, and properly manage your risk, coding with precision is a must. Precise coding requires the appropriate resource. The APMA Coding Resource Center is the finest podiatric coding reference that exists — and luckily, access is included for free with your CPMA membership! Learn more about this cutting-edge tool below:
What Is the Coding Resource Center?
The APMA Coding Resource Center (CRC) is an online resource that contains the most recent information any podiatrist needs for accurate coding, regardless of procedure and insurance. This allows you to access ICD-10 codes, CPT® codes, HCPCS codes, Medicare documentation guidance, CCI edits, and much more anywhere you access the internet. You can open this online tool on your desktop computer during office hours or on the go with the mobile-friendly version for tablets and smartphones. Find immediate access to coding information whenever you need it, wherever you are, without the need to ever purchase or transport heavy books.
APMA prides itself in keeping the CRC current, meaning if something changes today, you can find the information in the CRC today. The ICD-10 and CPT® code sets change annually. Every year these changes include updates pertinent to podiatrists. Too many providers make coding errors and experience payment clawbacks and denials as a result of using outdated coding books and references. If you are using a 2017 coding book, there is inaccurate information in there! Because the CRC is always current, you never run the risk of encountering outdated information.
There are now over 75,000 ICD-10 codes. With this large volume of codes, it can be difficult to find the right one, making errors commonplace. When using an unreliable resource, providers often choose ICD-10 codes that are not specific enough, unspecified, incomplete, or even expired. These errors often occur when doing online searches for ICD-10 codes instead of using an official reference. The CRC provides a list of the ICD-10 codes most often used by podiatrists in alphabetical order of pathology. This makes it easy for users to find the ICD-10 code they need without having to sift through over 75,000 options while instead just scrolling down to the pathology being treated in alphabetical order. The CRC also indicates when an ICD-10 code is complete versus when additional characters or even additional codes are required to complete the coding for the pathology being treated. For those that prefer to search through the entire ICD-10 code set, that is also listed in the CRC under a different tab. For those that prefer a “superbill,” the CRC provides a sample “superbill” containing the ICD-10 codes most commonly used by podiatrists.
The CRC lists only the CPT codes that are relevant to lower extremity care, so podiatrists do not have to look through the entire CPT book to find what they need. In addition, each CPT code listing is accompanied by the postoperative global period associated with that code, RVU’s, whether it is eligible for an assistant fee, and the medically unlikely edits (MUEs) associated with the code. Oftentimes, providers may locate the CPT code they need but wonder what ICD10 code(s) they should point to that CPT code. That is why the CRC provides a “CPT to ICD” list for every CPT code. This provides a list of ICD-10 codes to consider using for each CPT code listed.
The CRC lists HCPCS codes for products most used by podiatrists. This includes skin substitute product codes, all the different ankle-foot-orthosis (AFO) codes, codes for surgical dressings, and much more.
Medicare Documentation Guidance
While Medicare is a national program, it is administered on a local level by Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs). In Connecticut, our MAC is National Government Services (NGS). NGS issues Local Coverage Determinations (LCDs) and Local Coverage Articles (LCAs) for certain services, such as ulcer debridement. These policies provide coding guidance, documentation guidelines, and other compliance considerations. They provide invaluable support as these policies can be difficult for most to find. However, the CRC lists these policies for each state. CPMA members can navigate to the CRC “Medicare” tab, choose Connecticut, and all the podiatry-relevant NGS policies are listed in alphabetical order, making finding your information a snap!
Codingline is an online coding Q&A forum where subscribers can enter any coding question or scenario they have and allow other subscribers to provide feedback and guidance. Subscribers can also search thousands of previous Q&A entries. A subscription to Codingline is included with all CRC subscriptions. Therefore, your CPMA membership provides you access to both the CRC and Codingline!
The many benefits of being a CPMA and APMA member now include a subscription to the APMA CRC. CPMA hopes its members take advantage of this benefit and use the CRC as illustrated above. Get started with the CRC here.