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  • Reimbursement/Coding Ad Hoc Committee

  • The Reimbursement and Coding Committee was established by AAST Past President Grace Rozycki for the stated purpose “to help streamline the use of numerous codes within billing in order to maximize the reimbursement for Trauma and Acute Care Surgery procedures.”

    Toward that end, the committee developed and conducted a survey of the AAST membership regarding their training, knowledge, experience, and educational needs regarding professional coding and reimbursement. The survey produced 225 distinct items, which the committee categorized and consolidated into 90 educational topics that warranted development. The committee then further organized those topics into several categories that, together, contain coding, billing, and reimbursement issues:

    • The Global Period
    • Critical Care
    • Modifiers
    • Evaluation & Management (E&M)
    • ICD-10-CM
    • Bundling
    • Advanced Practice Providers
    • RVUs
    • Specific Coding Issues

    The committee’s list of titles under these categories now exists as writing assignments for the committee members:

    • Billing for Acute Care Surgery when Collaborating with Advanced Practice Providers
    • Capturing Reimbursement for Advanced Practice Providers
    • Critical Care Liberation from Global Domination
    • Billing for Trauma Activations & Resuscitations
    • How to Document for Critical Care vs. Daily Hospital Visits (i.e., Floor Care)
    • How to Say What You Need to Say for Critical Care Billing
    • It's a Critically Ill Patient (Not a Critical Care Bed)
    • Professional Billing for Critical Care Services
    • Timing is Everything: Critical Care Billing within and Beyond Your Specialty
    • All About E&M
    • Billing for Acute Care Surgery (Trauma, Emergency General Surgery, and Critical Care): A Textbook
    • Billing for Care in the ED
    • Coding for Daily Hospital Visits
    • Coding in the Clinic
    • Every Problem Has a Code
    • Helping Your Hospital's Bottom Line: What the Coders Need You to Write
    • Globally Speaking
    • What “ICD-10” Means to the Acute Care Surgeon
    • Effective Modifier Use in Trauma Care
    • Getting Legitimately Paid for Daily Postoperative Care: What You Can and Cannot Do
    • Getting Paid for Deciding to Operate
    • Why It's Difficult to Be Paid for Difficult Cases
    • Understanding and Optimizing Your RVUs
    • Bilateral Billing for Bronchs
    • Billing for Complex Surgical Procedures
    • Billing for Conscious Sedation
    • Billing for Nonroutine Postoperative Care
    • Billing for Rib Fracture Management and Repair
    • Billing for Trauma Laparotomy
    • Billing for VAP
    • Coding (and Documenting) the Conditions That Constitute Critical Illness
    • Coding and Billing for Reoperative Surgery
    • Coding for Soft Tissue Management in Trauma Surgery
    • Coding in the Trauma Bay
    • Coding the Retroperitoneum
    • Collaborative Care Billing in the ICU
    • Cutting Out Lumps
    • Documentation and Coding: The Redundancy vs. the Oxymoron
    • How to Bill for FAST (and Other Stuff in the Trauma Bay)
    • How to Code a Code
    • How Tracheostomy Affects Hospital Reimbursement
    • Optimizing Abdominal Reconstruction Payments
    • Payment for Nonoperative Injury Management
    • The Physician's Critical Role in Hospital Financial Solvency: How We Must Document to Keep Them Alive
    • Tracking How Well We're Doing
    • What Does "Subsequent" Mean in the Coding World?
    • When Two Heads Are Better Than One
    • Working (and Coding) at the Bedside


    The committee intends for the completed material to be available on the AAST website so that members will be able to use it as they identify a need.

    Also, at the request of the Board of Managers, and in collaboration with the AAST Acute Care Surgery Committee, we have developed an additional set of modules relevant to coding and billing concepts and issues for our fellowship trainees. Some of these modules are now available on the website in the Education section under the Acute Care Surgery tab on the AAST menu bar.

    The committee wants all AAST members to feel free to suggest any other topics that they would like to see information or guidance on with respect to coding, billing, and reimbursement issues. Given the increasing affiliation between acute care surgeons and their hospitals, our future efforts will focus on beginning to explain documentation requirements, quality metric reporting, and facility reimbursement. In addition, AAST members who have been challenged on their optimal coding for a complex case scenario should submit the experience to the Reimbursement and Coding Committee for review and analysis. We would like this dialogue to be similar to the already popular “Coder’s Corner” articles found in the AAST’s bimonthly the Cutting Edge newsletter. Any and all ideas on how the committee can best serve the AAST membership are welcome. Please e-mail your suggestions to our committee liaison, Sharon Gautschy at

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