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Resolved Ahhh! Dual coding with ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS


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I am in a Coding III class at a university currently. I have successfully learned the basics of CM and PCS. I am very good with PCS and know my way around a bit with CM. We started doing case studies where you code for both and I don't know why I am struggling so hard. Has anyone else run into this? I do not know where I am going wrong or what I am having issues with specifically. Any suggestions to help improve my coding game or is it normal to struggle like this when integrating two or more systems in a case at first?
Thank you!
Medical coding can be challenging, especially when you have to deal with complex cases involving multiple systems. It is normal to struggle at first, but with practice and perseverance, you can improve your skills and accuracy. Here are some suggestions to help you with your medical coding game:

  • Review the basics. Make sure you have a solid understanding of the anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, coding guidelines, and modifiers for each system.
  • Use your coding books. The CPC exam is open book, so you should be familiar with how to use your ICD-10-CM, CPT, and HCPCS
  • Practice coding scenarios. The best way to improve your medical coding game is to practice coding real-world scenarios. You can use the AAPC’s Practicode platform to access hundreds of cases from different specialties and settings. You can also join a study group or a local chapter to exchange coding tips and feedback with other coders.
  • Follow a coding process. To code accurately and efficiently, you should follow a systematic coding process: review the header of the report, review the CPT codebook, review the report/documentation, make a preliminary code selection, review the guidelines, and add any needed modifiers. You can also use the seven steps to correct surgical coding for more specific guidance on coding surgical procedures.
  • Manage your time. The CPC exam has 100 questions and you have 4 hours to complete it. That means you have an average of 2.4 minutes per question. You should practice coding under time pressure and develop a strategy to prioritize and skip questions.
  • Believe in yourself. Medical coding is a rewarding career, but it requires hard work and dedication. You should have a positive attitude and a growth mindset. You should also seek support from your peers, mentors, and instructors. Remember that you have what it takes to pass the CPC exam and become a certified professional coder.
Thank you Darcy for responding! I appreciate the sage advice and wisdom. When you are freaking out sometimes you need someone to help ground you and remind you of these things. I've got this! Slowly gaining momentum again.
Another reason it is hard to go from PCS to CM is with PCS the root operations do not mean the same thing they do in the other codes sets. This can be triping you up.