Successful Surgical Coding


  • Time pressed surgeons will find distance learning keeps them abreast of up to date coding and documentation rules.
  • Since we can not travel, this is a great option.
  • Get KZA’s expert coding education from the comfort of your own home or office.
  • Receive the same great workbook and alumni resources.
  • Participate live by submitting questions to speakers and participating in polling.
  • Earn up to 13 CME or CEU credit hours.


Successful Surgical Coding – THURSDAY, APRIL 16, 2020
Course begins at 8 AM CST and adjourns at 4 PM CST

Course Information

New codes, new guidelines! The 2020 ACS surgical procedure coding course sifts through all that is new and important in general surgery coding and packs it into an intensive, fast-paced day. This year’s agenda covers all you need to know to code and document accurately and efficiently in 2020 and beyond.

Real-life cases and discussions that link clinical procedures to the selection of CPT codes make this course ideal for surgeons and coding staff. Forget boring slides and a mind-numbing list of CPT codes. This course is rich with clinical scenarios and a comprehensive workbook that will become your first-response coding resource. 

The course provides in-depth and interesting instruction on coding for endoscopy, colorectal, breast, hernia, appendix, gall bladder, liver, intraabdominal tumor, pancreatic, and endocrine procedures.

The course describes why documentation is as essential as the code selected and how to capture all potential revenue by improving your notes. We’ll show you the correct way to use surgical payment modifiers so that you optimize payment. You’ll leave armed with ideas and techniques for setting up systems that reduce denials and increase successful appeals.

Learning Objectives

  • Distinguish different categories of codes and how payment differs
  • Describe what is included in a global surgical package and what can be reported separately
  • Distinguish what surgical modifier to report
  • Describe documentation requirements for unlisted codes
  • Demonstrate correct coding and documentation for radiology services
  • Describe coding for different surgical approaches
  • Identify when to report mesh and reinforcement implants
  • Demonstrate correct coding for a variety of general surgery procedures


Friday Only

ACS Member: $795

Non-member: $945 

Combo Thursday & Friday

ACS Member: $1,375
Non-member: $1525

The American College of Surgeons is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™

The American College of Suegeons designates this live activity for a maximum of 6.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. 

Of the AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ listed above, a maximum of 6.5 credits meet the requirements for Self-Assessment.

2020 AAPC Accreditation

This program has the prior approval of AAPC for 6.5 continuing education hours. Granting of prior approval in no way constitutes endorsement by AAPC of the program content or the program sponsor. 

After registering you will receive an initial confirmation with details for the workshop. Approximately one week prior to the event you will receive and email from with login instructions. Additional reminder emails will be sent on the morning of the event. The emails from are necessary to participate in the workshop. Check your spam folder in case the email is directed to that folder. It is important that you provide the email address of the person who will be participating in the event. Each separate participant requires a unique email address.

Technical support will be available one hour prior to the start of the workshop, during the virtual meeting, and 30 minutes after the course concludes. Support is offered in the form of live chat, email or phone assistance.

Additionally, once you receive your login information you can test your connection on the device you will be using for the virtual meeting. We suggest you do this a few days in advance of the workshop so that you can reach out to the tech support if there are any issues.

You will receive a physical workbook(s) prior to the livestream by Fed Ex. The workbooks will be sent to the address provided in the order. If staff will be attending from home please indicate where the book should be sent. If they should be sent to a different address please email and we will update the address.

Even though you aren’t in the room with the instructor you will still have the opportunity to ask questions.  There will be designated Q&A segments for each course during which both in-person and remote attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions. These questions will be submitted through a panel on the virtual meeting player.

The workshop content is copyrighted property of KarenZupko & Associates, Inc.  Any rebroadcast, reproduction, or other use of the pictures, content and accounts of this workshop or the accompanying workbook without the express written consent of KarenZupko & Associates, Inc. is prohibited.


*agenda subject to change


7:00 - 8:00 AM

Help Line and Customer Support

8:00Am - 9:45am CST

Definition Kick-off 

  • The basics: defining coding vs. reimbursement
  • Types of codes: primary, add-on, Category III
  • What is a separate procedure per CPT?

The Global Surgical Package

  • What’s included in the global package, and what can be separately reported?
  • Deconstructing the global payment: surgical splits, RVUs. and physician time

Surgeon Role Modifiers

  • Co-surgery vs. assistant: Are you reporting these correctly?
  • Payor expectations for co-surgery and assistant surgery documentation
  • Reimbursement: difference between co- and assistant surgeon

Same-Day Procedure Modifiers

  • Modifier 22: What justifies modifier 22? and how to increase your chances of payment
  • Modifier 50: Which procedures accept a bilateral modifier?
  • Modifier 51 vs. 59: How do you know which one to use? How does reimbursement differ for each?
  • Modifier 52 vs. 53: What is the difference, and how are they used in general surgery?

Modifiers for Additional Procedures Performed During the Global Surgical Period

  • Modifier 58: Documenting staged procedures: Do they always need to be preplanned? What about repeating a resection after pathology shows more margins?
  • Modifier 79: What defines an unrelated procedure? Is a different diagnosis essential?
  • Modifier 78: Does this apply to in-office procedures? How do I report in-office treatment of postoperative complications?

Revenue Optimization; Charge Entry Tips of the Trade

Strategic Appeals: What to Do If You Hit a Brick Wall NEW!

Documentation for Unlisted Procedures

  • How to report and get paid
  • Template letter for reporting unlisted codes
  • Case scenarios

9:45AM – 10:00AM


10:00AM — 12:00PM

Surgical Coding and Documentation

Radiology Coding and Documentation for Surgeons

  • Fluoroscopy and ultrasound: Is a separate report required? What about intra-operative imaging?
  • Documenting imaging with central lines: fluoroscopy, ultrasound, or both?

Surgical Approaches and Code Selection; Percutaneous vs. Open vs. Laparoscopic – Does it Matter?

Coding for Robotic Assistance NEW!

  • Using the HCPCS code
  • Setting a fee and getting paid

Operative Note Documentation Best Practice Op Note Format NEW!

  • Documentation to optimize coding accuracy and revenue

Hernia Surgery

  • Hiatal/paraesophageal hernias: Type 1, 2, 3, 4.
  • Open/laparoscopic hernia repair
  • Reporting mother procedures with hernias codes – CPT rules vs. payor realities
  • Reporting mesh placement
  • Reporting mesh removal; infected and non-infected mesh
  • Component separation release/abdominal reconstruction
  • Case scenarios

Abdominal Reconstruction/Component Separation

  • Documentation imperatives
  • Myocutanoeus flaps vs. Rives Stoppa

All About Implants

  • Biological vs. non-biological: knowing which to report

12:00PM — 1:00PM

Lunch (provided)

1:00PM — 2:00PM

Procedure Coding (continued)

Endoscopy Overview

  • General concepts in endoscopy coding; completion endoscopy – billable or not?
  • Moderate sedation: are you documenting enough?
  • Upper GI endoscopy overview
  • Colonoscopy: sigmoidoscopy vs. colonoscopy: How far is far enough?
  • Case scenarios

Colorectal Surgery

  • Approach matters: laparoscopic vs. open vs. robotic
  • What’s the difference between colostomy and coloproctostomy? A sigmoid colectomy and a low pelvic anastomosis?
  • Total and subtotal colectomy; Is there a difference?
  • Stoma creation, revision, and closure
  • Case scenarios

Appendix Surgery

  • Lap vs. Open
  • Laparoscopic repair of a ruptured appendix
  • Case scenarios

Gallbladder and Liver Surgery

  • Cholecystectomy. When can a cholangiogram be separately reported?
  • Liver biopsy: percutaneous vs open
  • Liver resections – How many hepatectomies (47120) are too many?

Breast Procedures NEW Guidelines!

  • Breast biopsy: percutaneous, incisional, and excisional
  • Sentinel node mapping and excision
  • Lymph node dissection: How does this change coding?
  • Mastectomy coding: lumpectomy, simple and radical mastectomies
  • Reporting closures and local advancement flaps
  • Can placement of a marker in a lumpectomy cavity be reported?
  • Case scenarios

2:00PM — 2:15PM


2:15PM — 4:00PM

Procedure Coding (continued)

Pancreatic Resection NEW!

  • Whipple procedures
  • Other pancreatic resections
  • Intra-abdominal vein reconstruction in abdominal procedures

Intra-abdominal Tumor Resection

  • What can be separately reported?
  • Coding HIPEC and getting paid

Endocrine Surgery

  • Thyroid
  • Parathyroid
  • Adrenal



THURSDAY, April 16, 2020
Follow the virtual meeting online.

Registration ends April 14.



Jennifer Bell


Consultant and Speaker


Deborah Grider


Consultant, Author and Speaker


Betsy Nicoletti


Consultant and Speaker

Consultant - Teri Romano

Teri Romano


Consultant and Speaker


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