Coding Shortcuts

November 1, 2004

We'd like to develop a coding system in which one code automatically populates all associated CPT codes for that service. For example, if a charge-entry person enters one code for a flu shot, the code for administration of the shot would also be automatically posted to the patient account. What do you think?

Question: We'd like to develop a coding system in which one code automatically populates all associated CPT codes for that service. For example, if a charge-entry person enters one code for a flu shot, the code for administration of the shot would also be automatically posted to the patient account. What do you think?

Answer: Shortcuts are fine as long as they don't create a compliance issue. A similar example is for the ICD-9 code for the patient's last visit to print on the current encounter form. Practices have generally stopped doing this, recognizing that the current visit may not be for the same purpose as the last, and the fact that many physicians would likely defer erroneously to the pre-printed diagnosis in the interest of time. In short, by all means, set up shortcuts, but make sure you also abide by the rules and regulations of coding and documentation. Training and periodic audits would be wise.