accordance with applicable requirements
and data set definitions.
3. Assign and report, in any format, only
the codes and data that are clearly and
consistently supported by health record
documentation in accordance with applicable code set and abstraction conventions
4. Query and/or consult, as needed, with
the provider for clarification and additional documentation prior to final code
assignment in accordance with acceptable
healthcare industry practices.
5. Refuse to participate in, support, or change
reported data and/or narrative titles, billing data, clinical documentation practices,
or any coding-related activities intended to
skew or misrepresent data and their meaning that do not comply with requirements.
6. Facilitate, advocate, and collaborate with
healthcare professionals in the pursuit
of accurate, complete and reliable coded
data and in situations that support ethical
7. Advance coding knowledge and practice
through continuing education, including
but not limited to meeting continuing education requirements.
8. Maintain the confidentiality of protected
health information in accordance with the
Code of Ethics.
9. Refuse to participate in the development
of coding and coding-related technology
that is not designed in accordance with
10. Demonstrate behavior that reflects integrity, shows a commitment to ethical and
legal coding practices, and fosters trust in
11. Refuse to participate in and/or conceal
unethical coding, data abstraction, query
practices, or any inappropriate activities
related to coding, and address any perceived unethical coding-related practices.
A closer look at Standard #1 (Apply accurate, complete, and consistent coding practices
that yield quality data) shows it states the
Coding professionals shall:
1.1. Support selection of appropriate diagnostic,
procedure, and other types of health service
related codes (e.g., present-on-admission indicator, discharge status).
1.2. Develop and comply with comprehensive
internal coding policies and procedures that are
consistent with requirements.
Example: Develop internal policies and procedures for the coding function such as Facility
Coding Guidelines that do not conflict with the
Requirements and use as a framework for the
work process, and education and training is
provided on their use.
1.3. Foster an environment that supports honest
and ethical coding practices resulting in accurate and reliable data.
Example: Regularly discussing the standards of
ethical coding at staff meetings.
Coding professionals shall not:
1.4. Distort or participate in improper preparation,
alteration, or suppression of coded information.
Example: Assigning diagnosis and/or procedure
codes based on clinical documentation not recognized in requirements (as defined above in
1.5. Misrepresent the patient's medical conditions
and/or treatment provided, are not supported
by the health record documentation.
Example: Permitting coding practices that
misrepresent the provider documentation for a
given date of service or encounter such as using
codes from a previous encounter on the current encounter (except with bundled payment
models or other methodologies).
Take the ethical coding standards document (for AHIMA members only; check