The hospital’s charge description master (CDM) is a master file built within hospital information systems, and designed to interface with other software applications or systems to support government-mandated standard billing requirements. It contains data elements such as charge descriptions, billing codes, pricing and many other necessary data elements. It is a comprehensive listing of items billable to a hospital patient or a patient’s health insurance provider. It is often described as the “backbone” of reimbursement. Effective management of a CDM can result in fewer days in AR and a decrease or elimination of the need to edit claims once submitted.

The procedure of developing, maintaining and monitoring the CDM is an on-going process. Charge data is constantly updated due to the addition of chargeable items or services, or to accommodate corrections or quarterly changes published by the government.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment in partnership with the Kansas Hospital Association and Kansas Hospital Education and Research Foundation is offering a training opportunity on September 27, 2019, for new and experienced Critical Access Hospital leadership focusing on an overview of the hospital CDM and tools for on-going maintenance. Specific topics covered in this training include:

  • Setting up standardized naming formats;
  • Methods to review CDM for errors and duplicates;
  • Alternate data, Revenue Codes/CPT codes
  • Medicare Cost Report implications of the CDM;
  • Compliance issues;
  • Steps to setting up a new hospital charge (including determining cost of service);
  • Computerized order entry and the CDM;
  • Using payer remittance advices to monitor your CDM; and
  • Transparency issues.

Please note: the information provided in this program will be specific to CAHs.  The program will be at the Courtyard by Marriott in Salina, Kansas.  See the brochure for more information.  You may register at

Charge Master