Q&A: How continuing education aids ethical coding

January 12, 2018
Medicare Web

Q: Our coding department has been reviewing the AHIMA Standards of Ethical Coding but were interested in learning more about standard seven. I didn’t realize that continuing education credits help with ethical coding. 

A: Standard seven in AHIMA’s Standards of Ethical Coding reads:

7. Advance coding knowledge and practice through continuing education, including but not limited to meeting continuing education requirements.

7.1 Maintain and continually enhance coding competencies in order to stay abreast of changes in codes, documentation, and coding requirements.

Example: Participating in educational programs, reading required publications, and maintaining professional certifications.

This identifies that to maintain your certifications, you should have continuing education hours or units that are required. You absolutely must maintain those. However, we sometimes have to stay abreast of even more things. It is important to read through the AHA Coding Clinic and the AMA CPT Assistant—these are required reading.

In October 2017, ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS changes were introduced—there’s between 300 and 400 in the ICD-10-CM and there’s over 3,000 changes in ICD-10-PCS. These updates require education, and part of your ethical responsibility as a coding professional to stay up-to-date with educational requirements.

Editor’s Note: Gloryanne Bryant, RHIA, CDIP, CCS, CCDS, answered this question during the HCPro webinar, “Achieve Compliance Through Ethical Coding Standards.” This answer was provided based on limited information. Be sure to review all documentation specific to your own individual scenario before determining appropriate action.

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