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2021 ACS

Successful Surgical Coding


  • Learn at your own pace. Start and stop when it is convenient for you.
  • With travel limitations, this is a great option.
  • Earn CME and CEU credit hours with the completion of an online test.
  • Receive the same great workbook and alumni resources.
  • You will receive your workbook approximately four business days after you register.


Course Information

New codes, new guidelines! The 2021 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 2021 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

Successful Surgical Coding

ACS Member: $695

Non-member: $845 

2021 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. 

Credit is available after completion of an evaluation and a 40 question test.

AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™

The American College of Surgeons designates this enduring activity for a maximum of 6.25 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 6.25 credits meet the requirements for Self-Assessment.

You will receive a physical workbook(s) approximately four business days after you register.  Workbooks will be shipped via FedEx to the address(es) provided in the order.  If staff will be viewing from home, please indicate where the workbooks should be sent.

After registering you will receive an initial confirmation with details for the workshop. Additionally, you will receive an email with login instructions. This is 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.

*You will have access to the content for 30 days from the time you receive the access information. Please email education@karenzupko.com if you have questions.

Once you receive your login information you can test your connection on the device you will be using for the on-demand workshop. 

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

1 hour 45 minutes

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

15 minutes


2 hours

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

1 hour


1 hour

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

  • 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

15 minutes


1 hour 15 minutes

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



If you have questions about the on-demand workshop or need assistance registering please email education@karenzupko.com



Jennifer Bell


Consultant and Speaker


Deborah Grider


Consultant, Author and Speaker


Betsy Nicoletti


Consultant and Speaker

Consultant - Teri Romano

Teri Romano


Consultant and Speaker

Across the 3 courses 99% of participants agreed or strongly agreed
that they would recommend the courses to a colleague.


Presented by

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