Top Ten CPC Exam Tips
2. Know the guidelines! This video helps explain how to read the Section references.
3. Know where everything is located in your manuals and tab them for easy access including adding any relevant notes in each section throughout the manuals such as: index, tabular, E code index, neoplasms, Category ll or lll codes, anatomy pictures, E/M, table of drugs and chemicals, appendixes for modifiers or vascular families just to name a few examples. Since understanding your manual is so important, we explain all the markup required, page-by-page in our BHAT® method which comes included with the Medical Coding Review Blitz or the CCO Club.
4. Pay attention to scenario specifics circling each term that may be relevant to choosing the correct codes on a quick read through such as: new or established patient, inpatient or outpatient for place of service, and the type of service received; routine, preventative, emergency, observation, after-care or follow-up, acute or chronic, closed or open, technical or professional, global or critical for examples. This video gives a quick overview of E/M Scenarios you might encounter.
5. For exam purposes, only skip referencing the index before the tabular in most exam questions only to save time when comparing the code choices given.
6. Be sure what is included or excluded in procedure codes such as anesthesia, contrast, injections, stents, image guidance, closure etc.
7. Pay attention to code specifics: 4th and 5th digits, includes, excludes, anatomic sites, age, sequencing, anesthesia, bilateral or unilateral, modifiers, add-ons, use additional, see also, code also, code first or any other special coding directions from the guidelines or from specific chapters.
8. The exam is broken into sections so start with the sections that are easiest for you or short sections like anatomy, terminology, compliance or HCPCS where you use only your knowledge or just one manual to complete the section. (Extra Tip: Some students have suggested the easier questions are near the exam when testing in-person.)
9. 3 HINTS: eliminate codes that appear in every answer, look at modifiers, sequencing mistakes.
10. There are many different questions that may be asked on the exams this was my personal list of things I felt I needed to know how to code properly for exam preparation:
• Abortion, pregnancy, childbirth
• Adjacent tissue transfers, grafts, lacerations
• Asthma, bronchitis, COPD
• Category ll and lll
• Complications, malfunctions
• Diabetes, types, secondary, insulin
• E-codes, accident, injury, poison
• E/M levels, consults, referrals, stand-by, critical, optical
• CKD, ESRD, Dialysis
• Heart disease, MI, pacemakers
• History, personal, family
• HIV, AIDS
• Impending, threatened, uncertain
• Injections, immunizations
• Late effects
• Lung, Spine, Thyroid, segments, lobes, interspaces
• Neoplasms, secondary, malignant or benign
• Panels, specimens
• Signs and symptoms
• SIRS, septicemia
• Ulcers, stages