Top 10 Commonly Missed Codes (archive)


Physicians may not be aware of codes they are missing in their practice. This webinar highlights 10 commonly missed codes to empower neurosurgical practices to be confident that their coding is thorough, accurate and that no revenue is left unclaimed.


  • John K. Ratliff, MD, FAANS
  • Luis M. Tumialan, MD, FAANS
  • Mark E. Oppenlander, MD, FAANS
  • Clemens M. Schirmer, MD, PhD, FAANS99
  • Joseph S. Cheng, MD, MS, FAANS
  • Anand Veeravagu, MD, FAANS
  • Cheerag D. Upadhyaya, MD, FAANS

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this activity participants should be able to:

  • Identify commonly missed codes in routine neurosurgery procedures.
  • Improve revenue cycle by not "leaving money on the table."
  • Describe best practices for coding correctly.


AANS Member$49

John K. Ratliff, MD, FAANS

Co-director, AANS Managing Coding Program

Dr. John Ratliff is Professor and Vice Chair of Neurosurgery, Departmental Quality Officer, and Co-Director of the Spine and Peripheral Nerve Surgery Division. As a spine surgeon, he treats a diverse array of degenerative spinal conditions. He has a specific research emphasis on quality improvement, decreasing complications in spine surgery, and improving surgical treatment of intramedullary spinal cord tumors.

Dr. Ratliff has served on the Executive Committee of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons and the Joint Section of Disorders of Spine and Peripheral Nerves, is Treasurer for the Council of State Neurosurgical Societies, and is on the Board of Directors of Neuropoint Alliance. He is immediate past-chairman of the joint AANS/CNS Neurosurgery Quality Council.

Luis Manuel Tumialán, MD, FAANS

Co-director, AANS Managing Coding Program


Dr. Tumialán received his medical degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine. He completed an internship at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego and completed his residency training at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. He spent an additional two years at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego upon the completion of his residency as a staff neurosurgeon before joining the Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI) in Phoenix. Dr. Tumialán specializes in minimally invasive spine surgery and cervical and lumbar arthroplasty. He is currently a member of the AANS/CNS Coding and Reimbursement Committee.

Mark Oppenlander, MD, FAANS

Dr. Mark Oppenlander is a neurosurgeon and clinical assistant professor at the University of Michigan department of neurosurgery. He specializes in complex spinal operations, including spinal deformity, scoliosis, spinal tumors, thoracic disc disease, craniovertebral junction surgery, robotics in neurosurgery and more.

Dr. Oppenlander attended the University of Michigan, where he graduated with Highest Distinction and a Bachelor of Science in cellular and molecular biology. He went on to earn his Doctor of Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School. In 2008, Dr. Oppenlander moved to Phoenix, where he completed a seven-year residency training program in neurological surgery at the Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI). He also spent time at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, where he obtained fellowship training in Complex Spine Surgery. In addition, Dr. Oppenlander was awarded the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh Overseas Training Sponsorship, providing opportunity to travel to London for further fellowship training in Complex Spine Surgery and Spinal Oncology at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery at Queen Square.

Dr. Oppenlander has published numerous peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and abstracts, as well as participated in conferences at the state, national and international level with multiple invited presentations. He acts as a Neurotrauma Consultant for the National Football League. Additionally, Dr. Oppenlander is an active member of the AANS, the CNS, the North American Spine Society (NASS) and the AANS/CNS section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves.

Clemens M. Schirmer, MD, PhD, FAANS


Dr. Schirmer earned his medical degree and a doctorate in medical research from Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, Germany and at Harvard Medical School under the auspices of the Harvard Munich Alliance for Medical Education. He then completed his residency in neurosurgery and fellowship in interventional neuroradiology at the Tufts Medical Center program in Boston. ABNS board certified in neurological surgery and holding CAST certificates both in neuroendovascular surgery and neurocritical care, he currently serves as vice chair in the department of neurosurgery and is professor of neurosurgery and neuroscience in the unmodified research track at the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. Dr. Schirmer also serves as the system director of the Geisinger Comprehensive Stroke Centers and System Director of Cerebrovascular and Endovascular Neurosurgery, specializing in the treatment of stroke and related vascular disorders of the brain and spine using surgery, endovascular and radiation modalities. He is the program director of the Geisinger Neurosurgery residency training program and the CAST Neuroendovascular Fellowship program.

His research interests focus on the quality metrics, variation of care, shared decision making and patient centered outcomes, genomics and biomarkers of stroke, machine learning and data analytics. He serves as principal investigator of several clinical trials in the stroke arena aiming to bringing novel and innovative therapies to the market and creating premier Geisinger initiatives.

He serves as chair-elect of the AANS/CNS Cerebrovascular Section and the executive committee of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons where he is co-chair of the International Division and on the board of the CNS foundation, chair of the public relations and communications subcommittee of the AANS/CNS Washington Committee and Advisor to the AMA RBRVS RUC Committee. He has been appointed to MEDCAC and appointed to the Premier Group Purchasing Organization Member Cardiovascular Advisory Committee and multiple CMS/Acumen Cost- and Medicare Spending per Beneficiary- Measure Development Panels.

Anand Veeravagu, MD

Dr. Anand Veeravagu is assistant professor of neurosurgery and assistant professor of orthopedic surgery, by courtesy, and director of minimally invasive spine surgery at Stanford. Dr. Veeravagu is focused on advancing minimally invasive surgical techniques for diseases of the spine and cares for patients with a wide range of spinal disorders. Dr. Veeravagu graduated from the Johns Hopkins University Biomedical Engineering program with a focus on spinal cord injury and regeneration. Committed to medical device development, neuroregeneration, and non-invasive imaging he accepted a position to complete his MD at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

After completion of his neurosurgical residency, Dr. Veeravagu was awarded the prestigious Neurosurgical Research and Education Foundation Post-Residency Clinical Fellowship Grant and completed his fellowship training in minimally invasive and complex deformity spine at Stanford University with both neurosurgical and orthopaedic training. He also completed a clinical scholar rotation at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, focused on endoscopic and robotic spine surgery.

Dr. Veeravagu’s research efforts are focused on the utilization of large national databases to assess cost, quality and effectiveness of various treatment algorithms as well as predictive analytics. Dr. Veeravagu is also an author and writes about current events, health policy, and public health-related topics for the San Francisco Chronicle, The Daily Beast, The BBC and the Huffington Post.

Joseph Cheng, MD, MS, FAANS

Chair, Department of Neurosurgery, University of Cincinnati

Dr. Cheng is the current Frank H. Mayfield chair of neurological surgery of the University of Cincinnati (UC) department of neurosurgery at UC College of Medicine. He completed his neurosurgical training at the Medical College of Wisconsin and continued there to complete his post-residency fellowship in complex spinal surgery. During that time, he also received a Master of Science in biomedical engineering at Marquette University with his thesis on Spinal Biomechanics and Modeling. His research interests include health policy, surgical outcomes, spinal biomechanics, spinal oncology, spinal deformity and minimally invasive spinal techniques. He has taught numerous courses on spinal surgery, published extensively with research papers and book chapters, along with being a well-known speaker and presenter. Dr. Cheng is an active member of many professional organizations and has been in leadership roles, including in the AANS, the AANS/CNS Spine Section, the AANS/CNS Trauma Section, the AMA, the AO, the CNS, North American Spine Society (NASS), the Wisconsin State Medical Society and the Tennessee Neurosurgical Society. He previously served as professor and vice chair in the department of neurosurgery at Yale University and previously as the director of the neurosurgery spine program at Vanderbilt University. He is currently chair of the AANS/CNS Coding and Reimbursement Committee and is the AANS CPT advisor and liaison. He has been past chair of the CPT Committee for the AANS/CNS Spine Section, as well as being past vice chair of the AANS/CNS Coding and Reimbursement Committee and past director of the AANS Coding Program.

Cheerag D. Upadhyaya, MD, FAANS

Dr. Cheerag D. Upadhyaya, is a fellowship-trained neurosurgeon specializing in complex and minimally invasive spine surgery. He is director of the spine program and surgical director for the Saint Luke’s Marion Bloch Neuroscience Institute. Prior to joining Saint Luke’s in May 2014, he had practiced at Kadlac Neuroscience Center in Richland, Washington.

After earning his medical degree from the University of Florida, Dr. Upadhyaya completed his neurosurgical residency at the University of Michigan. While there, he earned a master’s degree in clinical research from the University of Michigan.

Dr. Upadhyaya completed his fellowship in complex and minimally invasive spine surgery at the University of California San Francisco. His clinical research has appeared in numerous journals, books, videos, and at industry conferences.

Dr. Upadhyaya is a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Medicine.

The AANS controls the content and production of this CME activity and attempt to ensure the presentation of balanced, objective information.  In accordance with the Standards for Commercial Support established by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), speakers, paper presenters/authors and staff (and the significant others of those mentioned) are asked to disclosed any relationship they or their co-authors have with commercial interests which may be relate to the content of their lecture.

The ACCME defines “relevant financial relationships” as financial relationships in any amount occurring within the past 12 months that create a conflict of interest.  Relationship refers to receipt of royalties, consultantship, funding by research grant, receiving honoraria for education service elsewhere, or any other relationship to a commercial interest that provides sufficient reason for disclosure.

It is the policy of the AANS that all individuals in a position to affect the content of a CME activity disclose relationships that they or their spouse/partner have with commercial entities.  Further, should any such relationship be determined to be in possible conflict of interest as it relates to the individual’s proposed role in the CME activity, such conflicts of interest will be resolved prior to confirmation of the individual’s participation.

All potential conflicts of interest have been reviewed by an effective peer review committee to ensure the content is valid and aligned with the interest of the activity audience.

Speakers, paper presenters/authors and staff (and the significant others of those mentioned) who have disclosed a relationship with commercial interests whose products may have a relevance to their presentation are listed below.

NameDisclosureType of Relationship
*John Kevin Ratliff, MD, FAANSStryker Spine

Medtronic, NuVasive


Consultant Honorarium


*Luis Manuel Tumialán, MD, FAANS


 Medtronic, LessRay               


Consultant Honorarium

The AANS is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The AANS designates this live activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.


Select the "View On-Demand Recording" button to begin.
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8 Questions
5 Questions  |  2 attempts  |  4/5 points to pass
5 Questions  |  2 attempts  |  4/5 points to pass
1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM credit  |  Certificate available
1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM credit  |  Certificate available