Distance Learning Course of 12 Lessons
Take your first step toward a lucrative career as a medical coder! In this course, you’ll learn how to use the CPT manual and the ICD-10-CM to find medical codes for any disease, condition, treatment, or surgical procedure. This knowledge will help prepare you to work almost anywhere in the medical field—doctors’ offices, clinics, public health facilities, hospitals, labs, nursing homes, insurance agencies, or even the comfort of your own home.
We’ll go through each of the main systems of the human body—integumentary (skin), musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, endocrine, and male and female genitourinary—outlining the medical terminology, conditions, diseases, injuries, treatments, and procedures you’ll see most often in each of those systems.
Along the way, we’ll go through lots of real-world examples and coding exercises to get you using your coding tools in conjunction with your analytical skills to come up with just the right codes to describe any medical situation. In the process, you’ll get all the hands-on experience you’ll need to code medical insurance claims with confidence. By the end of this course, you’ll know how to find your way through both the CPT manual and the ICD-10-CM manual, and you’ll be well on your way to a career as a medical coder!
Jennifer Della’Zanna graduated from Albright College in Reading, PA with a Bachelor of Arts degree. With 15 years’ experience in the health care industry, she has worked as a medical transcriptionist, receptionist, medical assistant, practice administrator, biller, and coding specialist. She has written and edited courses and study guides on medical coding, transcription, and using technology in health care. She regularly writes feature articles about health issues for online and print publications. Jennifer is a member of the American Academy of Professional Coders and the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity.
This course run for six weeks, with a two-week grace period at the end. Two lessons are released each week for the six-week duration of the course. You do not have to be present when the lesson is released, but you must complete each lesson within two weeks of its release.
A new section of each course starts on the second or third Wednesday of each month. If enrolling in a series of two or more courses, please be sure to space the start date for each course at least two months apart.
Wednesday – Lesson 01
In our first lesson, we’ll explore the history of medical insurance and medical coding. After that, we’ll take a few minutes to get familiar with the coding books and tools that medical coders use. We’ll finish up the lesson with an important discussion about patient privacy and confidentiality.
Friday – Lesson 02
Today we’ll take a close look at how medical professionals use medical codes in the real world. We’ll get to know the common forms medical coders use and explore the different types of medical codes you’ll find in your coding books. By the time you finish this lesson, you’ll understand how the different types of codes come together on the claim form and how they tell the insurance company a complete story about any doctor-patient encounter.
Wednesday – Lesson 03
In this lesson, we’ll take a detailed tour through the CPT manual where you’ll find medical codes for the procedures and treatments doctors and other medical professionals provide their patients. You’ll learn all about the CPT symbols, modifiers, and unlisted procedures. By the end of this lesson, you’ll be looking up your first codes!
Friday – Lesson 04
Similar to our last lesson, today we’ll take a detailed tour through the other coding book we’ll use in this course, the ICD-10-CM, which is where you’ll find the codes for any disease, illness, condition, or symptom that a patient may have. You’ll learn all about the ICD-10-CM’s symbols, formatting, and other conventions; and you’ll learn where to find external cause codes and Z-codes. By the end of this lesson, you’ll begin to practice coding diagnoses.
Wednesday – Lesson 05
Today we’ll begin a series of lessons that will take us in depth into just one body system at a time so we can discuss specific medical coding situations for each area of the human body. In this lesson, we’ll explore the integumentary (skin) system. We’ll review the code categories for the most common skin conditions, infections, injuries, and procedures, and then we’ll practice coding cases that involve common skin problems.
Friday – Lesson 06
In this lesson, you’ll learn all about the musculoskeletal system and study some important musculoskeletal vocabulary. We’ll review the code categories for the most common muscle and bone conditions and injuries, and then you’ll learn how to code the procedures doctors use to treat common muscle and bone problems.
Wednesday – Lesson 07
Today we’ll review the respiratory system, and you’ll learn how to code the most common respiratory conditions and injuries. After that, you’ll practice coding the most common respiratory procedures that doctors use on their patients.
Friday – Lesson 08
We’ll explore the cardiovascular system in today’s lesson. You’ll learn how to code common heart, vein, and artery conditions and diseases, and then you’ll learn how to code the procedures doctors use most often to treat these common diagnoses. And as we always do, we’ll follow up our general discussion on cardiovascular diseases and procedures with lots of coding practice.
Wednesday – Lesson 09
In this lesson, you’ll learn all about the digestive system and the endocrine system. We’ll begin by studying some important vocabulary for both systems, and then we’ll review the code categories for the most common conditions, diseases, and injuries. After that, we’ll explore the procedures doctors perform to fix digestive and endocrine system problems. We’ll end up the lesson with some practice coding both systems.
Friday – Lesson 10
In the last of our system-specific lessons, today we’ll review the male and female genitourinary systems; and learn how to code common conditions, diseases, and procedures for both systems. We’ll also spend some time discussing maternity and childbirth and the special medical coding challenges you’ll need to consider in those cases.
Wednesday – Lesson 11
Ready to get to know Evaluation and Management codes? Today, you’ll learn the three key components of any E/M service, and I’ll provide you with some helpful charts you can use to narrow down an E/M code range to a final E/M code. And as you probably guessed, we’ll end up the lesson with plenty of E/M coding practice!
Friday – Lesson 12
In our final lesson, you’ll find out what’s included in a surgical package and what’s not. You’ll also learn all about modifiers, and find out why medical coders use them to let insurance companies know about special circumstances. Finally, you’ll put everything you’ve learned throughout the course together by coding some practice scenarios that incorporate all of the different types of codes!
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