Reviewer: LouAnn Schraffenberger, MBA, RHIA, CCS, CCS-P(Advocate Health Care)
Description: This is a textbook and reference for learning and using Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes for the reporting of physician and other professional healthcare provider services to insurance companies and others that require such reporting.
Purpose: According to the authors, the book is intended as an in-depth exploration of the rules and guidelines for applying the CPT code set. It can be used as a textbook to help educate users of the CPT code set. Insights are shared on CPT coding rules that have been developed over the years. The information is from the CPT coding perspective and conveys the intent of the CPT Editorial Panel. The book does not attempt to answer any payment-related questions about how a particular CPT code would be paid by an insurance company.
Audience: The audience would be either students in a traditional classroom course designed to teach CPT coding or coders already in practice who want a review book or reference tool to improve their coding knowledge and skills. The book is written by AMA staff members in the CPT Coding Division; the AMA is the most credible authority on the proper use of the CPT code set.
Features: The book follows the outline of the CPT code book with chapters dedicated to the codes related to evaluation and medicine services, surgery, pathology and laboratory, radiology services and anesthesia. The first two chapters are an introduction to CPT nomenclature and CPT nomenclature basics. Another chapter is devoted to modifiers or two-digit codes that are added to the main CPT code to add more information about the service provided. Coding exercises, specifically one-line procedure statements, are included at the end of most chapters. Appendix A contains the chapter exercise answers. Appendix B contains other published reference materials for the physician office.
Assessment: As an instructor who has taught CPT coding classes, I have considered using this book for a basic CPT coding class, but one reason I chose not to is that I did not find the style of the exercises useful for students who are completely new to the CPT coding process. I think the book is more useful to those who already have completed a CPT coding course and are looking for more detailed information about CPT coding rules and code usage. This is an excellent reference book for the coding department. Coders often have questions about the proper use of a CPT code and this has been helpful to me to find such answers. I prefer to use the book as a reference, rather than a basic coding textbook.