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Academy Introduces Reimbursement Resources for Residents

Apr 23, 2018

In April, AAPM&R launched a series of complimentary online video resources for residents called the Resident Coding Program – A Beginners Guide to Evaluation and Management Coding. The videos were developed by the Academy’s Reimbursement and Policy Review Committee (RPRC) and focus on the basic elements of Evaluation and Management Coding for physician offices as well as a variety of inpatient settings. Each session is approximately 15 minutes in duration and includes physiatry-specific examples for code assignment. 

The Academy talked with Annie Purcell, DO, FAAPMR, chair of the RPRC, to review the goals of the Resident Coding Program and why coding education is important for residents.

What can a resident expect to learn from the Beginners Guide to Evaluation and Management Coding?  What are some of the anticipated key takeaways?

Dr. Purcell: The E/M documentation requirements are extensive and confusing for physicians when they are finally out of residency and responsible for knowing them. Our goal with the Beginner’s Guide is to simplify the process for residents by showing the criteria with specialty-specific examples, using brief videos. We also wanted to make a resource that could be accessed repeatedly.  These requirements take time before they stick and most attendings still find some of it hard to remember and implement properly.

As you know, residents are extremely busy.  Why should residents prioritize coding education? 

Dr. Purcell:  Although residents are very busy, they may be surprised to find themselves even busier once they become attendings. I realized that spending more time on billing and coding education during training would have helped exponentially once I was out.  Although you are not thinking about your reimbursement while you are a resident, you will be thrust into caring about it significantly on your first day out. There are so many new stresses to deal with in this transition that learning it and practicing it during training is vital. 

Why did the Committee choose to specifically focus on Evaluation and Management coding for this program?

Dr. Purcell:  E/M audits are common and, unfortunately, a common way in which money physicians have already collected is taken back by the payers. We hope that our early-career physicians will be more prepared for this and be able to prevent it from happening, instead of learning the hard way. But E/M coding is just the beginning. We are planning to create additional video sessions for other aspects of billing and coding in the future.

Finally, can you tell us about the RPRC and the work your committee does?  Are you planning any future resources residents might be interested in?

Dr. Purcell:  The Reimbursement and Policy Review Committee is concerned with all aspects of helping our members with their bottom line. We educate members about billing and coding, work with payers to implement fair policies and are involved heavily in the CPT/RUC process, which is how our codes are developed and the value of our reimbursement is determined. We plan to have an Early-Career Reimbursement Toolkit section of the AAPM&R website where there will be multiple resources available in one place. We will also continue to do billing and coding education articles regularly in The Physiatrist (which are archived on the website for reference) and our monthly Coding Corner questions in the Connection e-newsletter.

Visit me.aapmr.org to access the Resident Coding Program today!

Want more reimbursement education? View more Academy-developed reimbursement resources.