Frequently Asked Questions

Question Submission

Yes, you must create an account before submitting a question to the AHA Central Office. The AHA Central Office needs complete contact information in order to request additional information, when needed, and to send the official response. To create an account, click create an account and you will be prompted to enter your name and email address. The system will check for potential records that may already exist. If you are found, please review the information presented and proceed. If no matches are found continue through the registration process. 

The following fields will be required: your name, organization (place of business), address, phone number, password, and security question selection and security question answer. If there are no matches to your organization in our database, please select "create new" from the drop-down list and enter the business information. Once your account is created, please allow up to three business days for your account to be activated. 

The time it takes to process a question depends upon its complexity*. The AHA Central Office staff will conduct thorough research to determine a response. If necessary, the question may be forwarded to the Editorial Advisory Board for review and comment. In the latter case, processing may take up to six months for resolution. For more information, please visit the Editorial Advisory Boards page.

*Due to the increased volume of ICD-10-CM/PCS coding advice, the response time for coding advice requests has increased, and the time can vary. We apologize for this delay. We would like to assure you that The Central Office on ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS is working diligently to get your request(s) answered as soon as possible.*

The AHA Central Office will not respond to the following HCPCS codes:

  • Inquiries from physician providers related to CPT-4. These questions will be referred to the American Medical Association (AMA).
  • Questions related to HCPCS level II codes except for A-codes, for ambulance services and radiopharmaceuticals, C-codes, G-codes, J-codes and Q-codes other than Q0136 through Q0181.
  • The remainder of the body of Level II HCPCS codes related to durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and other supplies. These questions will be referred to Durable Medical Equipment Regional Carriers (DMERCs) or their successors, the DME Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs). These codes do not apply to hospital or physician providers.

The AHA Central Office will not respond to the following ICD-10-PCS coding questions:

  • We regret that the AHA Central Office clearinghouse is not able to support requests for ICD-10-PCS coding advice related to outpatient procedures.  Such requests for coding advice will be returned unanswered. However, we are happy to assist you with HCPCS coding questions for outpatient procedures. The ICD-10-PCS code set was not designed to support the coding of most services that are performed by providers in the outpatient setting. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Administrative Simplification Modifications to Medical Data Code Set Standards (published in the Federal Register, Vol. 74, No. 11, pp. 3328-3362, January 16, 2009) adopted ICD–10–PCS for inpatient hospital procedure coding only.

The AHA Central Office will not respond to the following types of questions for ICD-9-CM, ICD-10-CM/PCS or HCPCS:

  • Questions related to payment or coverage issues
  • Questions related to the interpretation of medical record documentation, such as identifying the principal diagnosis—unless it relates to the application of specific coding guidelines or specific previously published coding advice
  • Questions related to DRG assignment or DRG shifts from ICD-9-CM to ICD-10-CM/PCS
  • Questions related to missing or incomplete documentation or validation of what is appropriate documentation (paper or electronic)
  • Questions related to clinical issues or clinical criteria for diagnoses or procedures
  • Questions related to mediating differences of opinion between providers and auditors or payers or any other third party reviewers—unless it relates to the application of specific coding guidelines or specific previously published coding advice
  • Requests for the Central Office to code the entire medical record or operative report or to validate code assignment.
  • Questions or recommendations related to ICD-10-CM Index or Tabular List problems or conflicting instructions. Such questions should be directed to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics at nchsicd10CM@cdc.gov
  • Questions or recommendations regarding ICD-10-PCS Index entries, ICD-10-PCS device definitions, ICD-10-PCS Reference manual or the General Equivalence Mappings (GEMS) should be sent to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) at ICDProcedureCodeRequest@cms.hhs.gov
  • Questions related to coding data elements such as etiological diagnoses or comorbidities on the Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility-Patient Assessment Instrument (IRF-PAI) or elements on the OASIS data set
  • Questions without supporting medical record documentation

The AHA Central Office was created through a written Memorandum of Understanding between the American Hospital Association (AHA) and the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) in 1963 to:

  • Serve as the U.S. clearinghouse for issues related to the use of ICD-9-CM before 2012 and ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS currently. 
  • Work with NCHS and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to maintain the integrity of the classification system
  • Recommend revisions and modifications to the current and future revisions of the ICD
  • Develop educational material and programs on ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS

In August 2005, CMS and AHA entered into an agreement for the establishment of an AHA clearinghouse for issues related to the use of certain HCPCS codes. Under this agreement, responsibilities of the AHA Central Office includes providing advice on the following:

  • Level I HCPCS (CPT-4 codes) for hospital providers.
  • Certain Level II HCPCS codes.

For more information, please visit Our History & Role page.

 

You may submit up to three questions per one login session. Each question and related materials must be submitted separately in order to be assigned a unique tracking number and receive a response. 

Include documents that provide context to the question being submitted. Do not submit any document that contains Personal Health Information (PHI), physician name(s) or hospital name(s). Any question submission or related document that includes PHI, physician names, or hospital names will immediately be rejected. The question will not be accepted or answered. 

All questions submitted are processed free of charge.

After more than 30 years of providing ICD-9-CM coding advice, the AHA Central Office has shifted its attention to ICD-10-CM/PCS and no longer accepts nor responds to requests for ICD-9-CM coding advice.

No. Please do not submit the same question more than one way or more than once. This will create a duplicate in the system and significantly delay the processing of the original question. 

Please e-mail codingclinic@aha.org to notify us of the issue. Please include the tracking number. Do not send the missing information via e-mail, nor resubmit the question. Both will significantly delay processing the question.

Question Process

Please contact the AHA Central Office at codingclinicsupport@aha.org to submit any organization changes.

The response will be mailed to the address on file. The responses will be furnished to the organization on the account. If you still would like a response to a question, please resubmit the question after updating your account by contacting the AHA Central Office at codingclinicsupport@aha.org to submit any organization changes.

Question Status

Click "Check Status" and enter the tracking number received via e-mail after successfully submitting the question. If you do not have a tracking number or cannot find it, click "Request My Tracking Number" link.

Click "Request My Tracking Number." You will need to provide the following information: approximate timeframe question was submitted, method
of submission (e.g., mail), type of question (e.g., ICD-9-CM) and brief description. With that information, we will search the database and e-mail the tracking number that best matches the information provided.

Click "Check Status" and enter the tracking number received via e-mail after successfully submitting the question. If you do not have a tracking number or cannot find it, click "Request My Tracking Number."

Either the tracking number entered is invalid or the question was not submitted online. If you originally submitted your question online, please double check the tracking number and re-enter. If you continue to receive an error message, please e-mail codingclinic@aha.org for assistance.


If you mailed or faxed your question originally, please find your tracking number using the "Request My Tracking Number" option and in the question description section indicate that you want to track your status. Please consider submitting future questions online in order to track the status automatically.

No. All official answers will continue to be provided in writing and e-mailed to your organization.

  • Closed Answered – This status is active if the AHA Central Office has researched and answered the question. All official answers are provided in writing and mailed to your organization. If you have this status but have not received or lost your response, please e-mail codingclinic@aha.org.
  • Closed Missing Information – This status is active if the AHA Central Office requested additional information in order to process the question but the information is not received within 30 days of the request. The question is closed and unanswered. You will be required to submit your question again, and it will be assigned a new tracking number.
  • EAB Assigned – This status is active if the AHA Central Office has researched and determined that due to the nature of the question, it has been forwarded to the Editorial Advisory Board for review and comment.
  • Open – This status is active if a question has been submitted but has not yet been assigned. Each question is initially reviewed for completeness and appropriateness since there are questions the AHA Central Office does not field. Please see Are there questions the AHA Central Office does not process? in the FAQ section. Questions are assigned and reviewed in the order they were received.
  • Pending Additional Information – This status is active if the AHA Central Office has requested more information in order to research and process a response. Please submit the additional information via an attachment within 30 days of the request. If the additional information is not received within this time frame, the question will be closed and unanswered.
  • Review – This status is active if the question has been successfully submitted, accepted and is under review. The AHA Central Office staff is researching and processing the question at this time.