American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

Bulletin Advocacy Brief: April 8

NEW! Office/Outpatient E/M Coding Webinars Now Available on ACS Website

The American College of Surgeons Division of Advocacy and Health Policy, in collaboration with the College's General Surgery Coding and Reimbursement Committee, has released two in a series of webinars describing proper implementation of office and other outpatient evaluation and management codes, which were extensively updated for 2021.

Major Changes for 2021 Office E/M Coding, Part 1: A Surgeon's Guide to Prepare for New Guidelines and Avoid Claims Denials outlines revisions made to the office/outpatient E/M code set by the Current Procedural Terminology Editorial Panel, including new requirements related to history and physician examination, physician time, and medical decision-making (MDM) associated with E/M visits.

Major Changes for 2021 Office E/M Coding, Part 2: Implementation Tips describes proper office/outpatient E/M code level selection and documentation using MDM for common general surgery patient scenarios. 

To access the free webinar recordings and download the slides used during each presentation, visit the ACS Office/Outpatient E/M Coding Changes Resource Center. Contact Lauren Foe, Senior Associate for Regulatory Affairs, at lfoe@facs.org with questions.

Register for CPT On-Demand Coding Courses

Medicare and private payor policy and coding changes make it imperative that surgeons and their coding staff have accurate and up-to-date information to protect payor reimbursements, while also optimizing efficiency. Each year the ACS sponsors Current Procedural Terminology coding courses to ensure the most up-to-date material is available to Fellows.

Registration is now open for the 2021 ACS-sponsored CPT on-demand coding courses to help surgeons and their staff learn how to accurately code evaluation and management visits, general surgery procedures, trauma and critical care. On-demand courses allow you to learn at your own pace in a location that is convenient for you—a useful option with current travel limitations.

The 2021 on-demand coding courses and available CME credits are provided in the table below. The more courses you sign up for, the more you save.

Visit the course website for more information about the courses, including fees and how to register.

Course Titles

CME Credit

ACS The Art of Coding Office and Hospital Visits 3.00
ACS Accurate Coding for Office Procedures and Telehealth 3.00
ACS Successful Surgical Coding 6.25
ACS Intensive Trauma and Critical Care Coding 6.00

Questions about participating in the 2021 coding courses can be directed to practicemanagement@facs.org.

ACS Supports the Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act

Last week, the ACS joined a letter of support for the Ensuring Lasting Smiles (ELSA) Act (S. 754/H.R. 1916). Introduced by Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Drew Ferguson (R-GA), the bipartisan and bicameral legislation would address issues that prevent access to necessary diagnosis and treatment for patients with congenial craniofacial anomalies such as such as cleft lip and palate, skeletal and maxillofacial abnormalities, facial paralysis, microtia, hypodontia and craniosynostosis. ELSA would require all private group and individual health plans to cover medically necessary services that repair or restore a patient's anomaly.

For further information contact Kristin McDonald, ACS Manager of Legislative and Political Affairs, at kmcdonald@facs.org.

ACS Supports Firearm Research Funding

Federally funded research from the perspective of public health has contributed to reductions in motor vehicle crashes, smoking, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The ACS believes this same approach should be applied to firearm related injuries and gun safety.

Under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (H.R. 133), signed into law by President Trump on December 27, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health each received $12.5 million to study firearms research funding. The continued allocation marks only the second year that federal funding has been specifically designated to firearms research in more than 20 years.

This year, the College again joined more than 100 medical, public health and research organizations asking Congress to appropriate $50 million in funding for firearm morbidity and mortality prevention research. The College will continue its support for firearm injury prevention research as the federal funding appropriations process continues this year.

Read the ACS letters of support for the funding to the House and the Senate. For more information on trauma advocacy, contact Kristin McDonald, ACS Manager of Legislative and Political Affairs, at kmcdonald@facs.org.