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Current Procedural Terminology

CPT codes, or Current Procedural Terminology codes describe medical,  surgical, and diagnostic procedures provided by physicians and other health care professionals. These codes are also known as, Level I HCPCS codes. These codes were first published in 1966,  have been developed, maintained, and copyrighted by the American Medical Association (AMA).  There are over 10,000 CPT codes!

The CPT code set was designated by the Department of Health and Human Services as the national coding standard for physician and other health care professional services and procedures under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).  



The introduction of the CPT manual offers instructions and valuable information, such as the definitions of terms (as used in the book) as well as an explanation of symbols and modifiers. 

Illustrations & References

The introduction is followed by helpful references, such as medical terminology tables, anatomical illustrations, and E/M tables. 



Five-Character Codes (4 or more digits)



  • Level I Modifiers

    • Category I Modifiers 

    • Category II Modifiers


  • AMA​ (updated annually) 




The CPT manual is divided into three main CPT Categories:

​Category I codes are the most widely used and are divided into six main sections. 

Category II codes are a set of optional, supplemental tracking codes used to measure performance.

Category III codes are a set of temporary codes used for emerging technology, procedures, services, and service paradigms.   

Each section has its own set of guidelines.  


The back of the manual has sixteen appendices, ranging from A-P, which provide valuable references to modifiers, clinical examples, grouped code lists, and more.    


Last but not least, the manual ends with an alphabetic index, complete with instructions. 

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