CPT Coding

I.     Course Prefix/Number: HIT 170

       Course Name: CPT Coding

       Credits: 2 (2 lecture; 1 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

Minimum grade of C in any of the following: HIT 112, BIO 231 and BIO 232, or BIO 114, also with consent of HIT instructor or department chair.

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course covers basic principles and guidelines of CPT coding in both hospital-based and ambulatory care environments.  Students develop skills in using CPT to report reimbursable services.

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. Explain the history and development of the HCPCS coding system.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of the organization, guidelines and conventions that are essential to the mastery of CPT coding.
  3. Explain the purpose and format of the CPT category codes.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to assign modifiers correctly.
  5. Interpret the coding guidelines stated in the AHIMA Standards of Ethical Coding.
  6. Define the definitions of terms in the E/M services section of CPT.
  7. Explain how E/M codes are assigned under the Ambulatory Payment Classification (APC) system in outpatient services.
  8. Apply the guidelines for correct usage of HCPCS Level II codes.
  9. Apply guidelines and correct coding principles for the Anesthesia section of CPT.
  10. Interpret guidelines and correct coding principles for each of the subsections of the Surgery section in CPT.
  11. Assign the correct CPT codes(s) based upon the documentation in operative reports and other medical scenarios from health records.
  12. Evaluate a series of coded cases retrospectively for correct surgery code assignment.
  13. Apply guidelines, correct coding principles, and reimbursement methodologies for Radiology, Pathology, and Laboratory sections.
  14. Apply guidelines and correct coding principles for the Medicine section.
  15. Assign codes from the Medicine section.
  16. Explain methodologies utilized in the hospital outpatient prospective payment system (OPPS).
  17. Explain reimbursement methodologies for Ambulatory Surgery cases.
  18. Explain the purpose of the Medicare Outpatient Code Editor (OCE).
  19. Calculate the RBRVS payment system for physician reimbursement.
  20. Identify data fields on the UB-92 and CMS-1500 claim forms which require CPT codes.
  21. Examine a set of operative reports and outpatient scenarios, and assign ICD-10-CM diagnosis codes and HCPCS procedure codes.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. Introduction to HCPCS Physician’s Current Procedural Terminology (CPT)
  2. Modifier usage
  3. Coding E/M Services
  4. Coding from the Surgery Section
  5. Coding from the Radiology Section
  6. Coding from the Pathology and Laboratory Section
  7. Coding from the Medicine Section
  8. Coding from the Anesthesia Section
  9. HCPCS Level II
  10. Reimbursement Issues

VII.  Methods of Instruction

The class will follow a participative lecture-discussion format.  In-class exercises will be utilized to practice and build CPT coding skills.  Class discussions of student’s code selection on various assignments will help develop confidence and demonstrate correct application of coding principles.  Lab activities may involve group work and computer usage.

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course. Students are expected to attend classes, complete assignments, do required readings and participate in class discussions. Students will be expected to prepare for each class by completing assigned readings and homework assignments. All assignments must be submitted on due dates provided by the instructor, and should use Word or Excel formats.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Required Texts:

CPT 2017, The American Medical Association.
Basic Current Procedural Terminology and HCPCS Coding 2016, Edition, Gail Smith, AHIMA.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Evaluation methods include examinations and assignments.

A = 94%
B = 88%
C = 82%
D = 76%
F = Below 76%

XI.   Other Course Information

Attendance:  Attendance is required. Absences should be reported to the instructor before the class begins. Messages should be left on the instructor’s voicemail or by email. It is the student’s responsibility to arrange for make-up work and to find out what assignments were missed. For each absence during the term the final grade will be reduced by 1% of the total points.

Code of Student Conduct:  Refer to college catalog.

Make-up of Exams - There will be only one exam make-up allowed and only when the student contacts the instructor prior to the exam being given. Make-up exams must be taken before the next class session. There will be no make-ups allowed for quizzes.

Incomplete Grades - It is the student's responsibility to initiate requests for an incomplete and to follow through with the procedures to remove the incomplete grade.

Late Assignments - It is expected that assignments will be turned in on the due date. If a late assignment is accepted by the instructor, it must be turned in prior to the next class session. The grade on late assignments will be reduced by 7%. No late assignments will be accepted after the next class session.

CAHIIM HIM Associate Degree Entry Level Competencies Domains

  • I.A.1. Classification Systems
  • I.A.2. Classification Systems
  • V.B.4. Coding

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at www.oakton.edu/title9/.

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at www.oakton.edu/lgbtq.

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.