Q. Do I need to create an account?
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 and to send the official response to you.
To create an account, hit Log In and you will be prompted to enter your name and e-mail address. The system will check for potential duplicate records. If any are found, please review or if there are no matches continue through the registration process.
The following fields are required: your name, organization, address, password and security question.
Q. I can't find my tracking number. How do I request it?
Click Request My Tracking Number
located in the bottom left corner of the home page. 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.
Q. Can I submit multiple questions at one time?
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.
Q. What types of supporting documents should be included as part of the question
Include documents that provide context to the question being submitted. Do not submit
any document that contains Personal Health Information (PHI), physician name or
hospital name. Any question submission or related document that includes PHI, physician
name or hospital name will be immediately rejected. The question will not be accepted
Q. How long does it take to process a question?
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 on the Editorial Advisory Board, click here: http://www.ahacentraloffice.org/ahacentraloffice/shtml/EditorialAdvisoryBoards.shtml.
Q. Is there a fee to submit a question?
All questions submitted are processed free of charge.
Q. Are there questions that the AHA Central Office does not process?
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 A-codes, except those for ambulance services and radiopharmaceuticals,
and Q-codes Q0136 through Q0181. These questions will be referred to the Statistical
Analysis Durable Medical Equipment Regional Carriers (SADMERCs).
- 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 types of questions
for ICD-9-CM, ICD- 10-CM/PCS or HCPCS:
- Questions related to payment or coverage issues
- Questions related to 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 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 sent to: Donna Pickett, RHIA, Medical Classification Administrator, Office of Planning and Extramural Programs, National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control, 3311 Toledo Road, Hyattsville, MD 20782
- 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: Patricia Brooks, RHIA, Technical Advisor, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Division of Acute Care, Mail Stop C4-08-06, 7500 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21244-1850
Q. How do I track the status of a question?
Click Check Question 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 in the bottom left corner.
Q. What is the AHA Central Office?
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
- 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
- Develop educational material and programs on ICD-9-CM
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, click here. http://www.ahacentraloffice.org/ahacentraloffice/index.shtml
Q. How are questions processed?
Please click here for information on how questions are processed: http://www.ahacentraloffice.org/ahacentraloffice/shtml/RequestCodingAdvice.shtml.
Q. Is the AHA Central Office accepting questions on ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS?
Yes. The AHA Coding Clinic will start to publish ICD-10 related questions and answers
in the Fourth Quarter of 2012.
Q. When will the AHA Central Office no longer accept questions on ICD-9-CM?
After 30 years of providing ICD-9-CM coding advice, the AHA Central Office will shift its
attention to ICD-10-CM/PCS and will no longer accept nor respond to requests for ICD-9-CM
coding advice. Any ICD-9-CM questions received by December 31, 2013, will be answered by
AHA staff based on existing previously published advice or previously approved EAB decisions.
Effective January 1, 2014, the AHA Central Office will no longer accept questions on ICD-9-CM.
Q. If I already mailed or faxed a question, can I resubmit it online now?
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.
Q. Are questions submitted online answered first or more quickly?
Questions are received more quickly but does not necessarily mean it will be answered
faster. The time it takes to process an official response is dependent upon its
complexity. Please visit the AHA Central
Office website for more information on how questions are processed.
Q. Why did I receive an error message when I entered 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 firstname.lastname@example.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
Q. Can I access the official answer through this website?
No. All official answers will continue to be provided in writing and mailed to your
Q. What do the different status types mean?
- 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 email@example.com
- 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 timeframe, 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.
Q. I made a mistake with my question submission.
I forgot to include the attachment I referenced in the question submitted.
I omitted some important information from the question
Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.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.
Q. How do I retrieve my password?
Click here to be taken to the login page and then use the "Lost password?" option. If you are unable to remember the answer to your security question please contact the AHA Central Office at email@example.com
Q. How do I change my email address?
Your e-mail address is integral to your login. Please contact the AHA Central Office at firstname.lastname@example.org to submit any change to your e-mail address.
Q. How do I change my organization name?
Please contact the AHA Central Office at email@example.com to submit any organization changes.