FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Virtual Webinar vs Online Self- Study

The Virtual Online Live Course is a live online course that meets up with an instructor every week for 12 weeks - 32 weeks. Students will meet on a specific day at a specific time. This class is similar to a classroom course.

The Online Self- study course is self-paced. Students will have up to 6 months to complete the course. Students will be assigned instructors and/ or coaches to assist them in completing the course.

Which certification is right for me?

AHIMA CERTIFICATION DESCRIPTIONS


Certified Coding Specialist (CCS®)

CCSs are skilled in classifying medical data from patient records, generally in a hospital setting.
These coding practitioners: 

• Review patients’ records and assign numeric codes for each diagnosis and procedure

• Possess expertise in the ICD-10-CM and CPT coding systems
• Are knowledgeable about medical terminology, disease processes, and pharmacology.

• Different facilities and institutions make use of a CCSs' skills:
• Hospitals and medical providers take the coded data created by CCSs to insurance companies—or to the government in the case of Medicare and Medicaid recipients—for reimbursement of expenses.

• Researchers and public health officials also use this data to monitor patterns and explore new interventions
• Coding accuracy is highly important to healthcare organizations, and has an impact on revenues and describing health outcomes. In fact, certification has become an implicit industry standard. Accordingly, the CCS credential demonstrates a practitioner's tested data quality and integrity skills, and mastery of coding proficiency.

Professionals experienced in coding inpatient and outpatient records should consider obtaining this certification.


Eligibility 

Candidates must meet one of the following eligibility requirements: 

• By Credential: RHIA®, RHIT®, or CCS-P® OR
• By Education: The following courses MUST be completed; anatomy & physiology, pathophysiology, pharmacology, medical terminology, reimbursement methodology, intermediate/advanced ICD diagnostic/procedural and CPT coding; OR

• By Experience: Minimum of two (2) years of related coding experience directly applying codes; OR
• By Credential with Experience: CCA® plus one (1) year of coding experience directly applying codes; OR
• Other Coding credentials from other certifying organization plus one (1) year coding experience directly applying codes.



CCS- P

CCS-Ps are coding practitioners who:
• Specialize in physician-based settings such as physician offices, group practices, multi-specialty clinics, or specialty centers
• Review patient records and assign numeric codes for each diagnosis and procedure
• Possess in-depth knowledge of the CPT coding system and familiarity with the ICD-10-CM and HCPCS Level II coding systems

• Are experts in health information documentation, data integrity, and quality
• Play a critical role in a health provider's business operations, because patients' coded data is submitted to insurance companies or the government for expense reimbursement.
• The employment outlook for CCS-Ps is highly favorable, considering the growth of managed care and the movement of health services delivery beyond the hospital setting. Professionals performing coding in a doctor's office, clinic, or similar setting should consider obtaining the CCS-P certification to testify to their capabilities. The CCS-P certification exam assesses mastery-level proficiency in coding rather than entry-level skills. 


Eligibility  
Candidates must meet one of the following eligibility requirements:
• By Credential: RHIA®, RHIT®, or CCS® OR
• By Education: The following courses MUST be completed; anatomy & physiology, pathophysiology, pharmacology, medical terminology,

reimbursement methodology, intermediate/advanced ICD diagnostic/procedural and CPT coding; OR
• By Experience: Minimum of two (2) years of related coding experience directly applying codes; OR
• By Credential with Experience: CCA® plus one (1) year of coding experience directly applying codes; OR
• Other Coding credential from other certifying organization plus one (1) year coding experience directly applying codes.



CCA
Certified Coding Associate (CCA®)
Based upon job analysis standards and state-of-the-art test construction, the CCA designation has been a nationally accepted standard of achievement in the health information management (HIM) field since 2002. More than 8,000 people have attained the certification since inception. The CCA, the CCS and the CCS-P are the only coding credentials worldwide currently accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).
The CCA credential distinguishes coders by exhibiting commitment and demonstrating coding competencies across all settings, including both hospitals and physician practices. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a shortage of more than 50,000 qualified HIM and HIT workers by 2015.  Becoming a CCA positions you as a leader in an exciting and growing market. CCAs:
• Exhibit a level of commitment, competency, and professional capability that employers are looking for Demonstrate a commitment to the coding profession
• Distinguish themselves from non-credentialed coders and those holding credentials from organizations less demanding of the higher level of expertise required to earn AHIMA certification.


How Does the CCA Compare with Other AHIMA Coding Credentials?
The CCA exhibits coding competency in any setting, including both hospitals and physician practices. The CCS and CCS-P® exams demonstrate mastery level skills in an area of specialty: hospital-based for CCS's and physician practice-based for CCS-Ps. 


Eligibility Requirements
• Required:
• High School Diploma or equivalent
• Recommended (not required)
• Training and Recommendations
• 6 months coding experience directly applying codes; OR

• Completion of an AHIMA approved coding program; OR
• Completion of other coding training program to include anatomy & physiology, medical terminology, Basic ICD diagnostic/procedural and Basic CPT coding



AAPC CERTIFICATION DESCRIPTIONS

CPC AND COC
Must demonstrate coding skills in ICD- 10CM, CPT and HCPCS
Medical Coding Certification Requirements
• We recommend having an associate’s degree.
• Pay examination fee at the time of application submission.
• Maintain current membership with the AAPC.New members must submit membership payment with examination application.

• Renewing members must have a current membership at the time of submission and when exam results are released.
• All exams will be reported with exact scores and areas of study (65% or less).

• Must have at least two years medical coding experience (member's with an apprentice designation are not required to have two years medical coding experience.) Membership is required to be renewed annually and 36 Continuing Education Units (CEU's) must be submitted every two years for verification and authentication of expertise.

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