Ask Caryl: Using Certified Coders in ASCs

Q: Do you recommend we use certified coders in our ASC?

Caryl Serbin: Most non-certified medical coders come from an office environment and typically work with a superbill (paper or digital) which lists most of the common procedures and codes used in their office. This limits their knowledge to a specific specialty, plus they rarely have the opportunity to code from an operative note.  

Conversely, certified coders have the advantage of being educated in all specialties in the following areas:

  • anatomy;

  • medical terminology;

  • how to associate CPT and ICD-10 codes with the appropriate procedures;

  • how to identify and bill for implants, supplies and special equipment; and

  • how to read and interpret an operative report.

Certified coders must also participate in annual continuing education programs to retain their certification. This helps keep them up to date with changes to codes and coding rules.

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