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What are physician codes?

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Quick Answer

Physician codes are given to doctors by medical boards to certify them as specialists in a field, according to the New York State Workers' Compensation Board. For example, a physician using the code OPS is certified as a surgeon.

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Physicians who have a certified rating in their specialties use a "C" as a prefix in their codes, the New York State Workers' Compensation Board explains. The "C" in codes stands for "consultant" for a physician's specialty field. The American Board of Medical Specialties or the American Osteopathic Association grant physicians the consultant distinction. Physicians who do not have this prefix in their codes are qualified in their medical specialties but have not attained certification status through these boards. For example, a physician with a code CS is defined as someone who is a board-certified consultant in surgery. A physician with a code of S is defined as a qualified surgeon who has not been board-certified.

Physician codes include hyphenated letters to define practices within medical specialties, the New York State Workers' Compensation Board reports. For example, a physician who is qualified as an osteopathic specialist has a code of OP. When the physician focuses on general practice, or GP, the code is written as OP-GP. A physician who is qualified in hand surgery has the code OPS-HS, with OPS meaning general surgery, and HS meaning hand surgery.

Common physician codes include DC for chiropractors, P for pediatricians and CD for dermatologists, the Compensation Board states.

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