AHIMA vs AAPC vs All the Rest

AHIMA vs AAPC vs All the Rest

CCS vs CPC   (Ahima v AAPC)  vs  ALL THE REST

 

You do not need a degree to become a CPC or a CCS!

RHIT and RHIA licensure does require 2 and 4 year degrees, respectively!

AHIMA CERTIFICATION CANDIDATE GUIDE

 

Certified Coding Specialist (CCS)

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CCSs are professionals skilled in classifying medical data from patient records, generally in the hospital setting.

These coding practitioners review patients’ records and assign numeric codes for each diagnosis and procedure

To perform this task, they must possess expertise in the ICD-10-CM and CPT coding systems

In addition, the CCS is knowledgeable in medical terminology, disease processes, and pharmacology. Hospitals and medical providers report coded data 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 coded medical data to monitor patterns and explore new interventions.  Coding accuracy is thus highly important to healthcare organizations because of its impact on revenues and describing health outcomes, and in fact, certification is becoming an implicit industry standard.

Accordingly, the CCS credential demonstrates tested data quality and integrity skills in a coding practitioner.

The CCS certification exam assesses mastery proficiency in coding rather than entry-level skills.

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

Certified Coding Specialist—Physician-based (CCS-P)

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The CCS-P is a coding practitioner with expertise in physician-based settings such as physician offices, group practices, multi-specialty clinics, and specialty centers.

He/she reviews patients’ records and assigns numeric codes for each diagnosis and procedure.  To perform this task, the individual must possess in-depth knowledge of the CPT coding system and familiarity with the ICD-9-CM and HCPCS Level II coding systems.

The CCS-P is also an expert in health information documentation, data integrity, and quality.  Because patients’ coded data is submitted to insurance companies or the government for expense reimbursement, the CCS-P plays a critical role in the health provider’s business operation.

With the growth of managed care and the movement of health services delivery beyond the hospital, the employment outlook for this coding specialty looks highly favorable.

The CCS-P certification exam assesses mastery-level proficiency in coding rather than entry-level skills Professionals performing coding in a doctor’s office, clinic, or similar setting should consider obtaining the CCS-P certification to attest to their capabilities.

CCS and CCS-P Eligibility Requirements

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Candidates must meet one of the following eligibility requirements:

By Credential:  RHIA, RHIT, or CCS/CCS-P;

OR

By Education:

Completion of a coding training program that includes anatomy and 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.

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Certified Professional Coder (CPC®)

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AAPC’s Certified Professional Coder (CPC®) credential is the gold standard for medical coding in physician office settings and held by more than 80,000 coding professionals. CPC’s are critical to compliant and profitable medical practices and typically earn 20% more than non-certified coders* The CPC increases your chances of being hired and retained in a competitive job market.

A Certified Professional Coder has proven by rigorous examination and experience that they know how to read a medical chart and assign the correct diagnosis (ICD-9), procedure (CPT®), and supply (HCPCS Level II) code for a wide variety of clinical cases and services.

The CPC’s abilities include:

Expertise in reviewing and assigning accurate medical codes for diagnoses, procedures, and services performed by physicians and other qualified health care providers in the office or facility setting (eg, inpatient hospital)

Proficiency across a wide range of services, including evaluation and management, anesthesia, surgery, radiology, pathology and medicine

A sound knowledge of medical coding guidelines and regulations including compliance and reimbursement – allowing a CPC to better handle issues such as medical necessity, claims denials, bundling issues and charge capture.  Understand how to integrate medical coding and payment policy changes into a practice’s reimbursement processes, Knowledge of anatomy, physiology and medical terminology necessary to correctly code provider diagnosis and services

Prepare for Exam — Locate/Schedule an Exam

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CPC Exam Approved Manuals Certification Requirements Apprentice Status

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).

A CPC 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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***Credentials issued by AHIMA and/or AAPC are Nationally Recognized coding credentials.  The credentials issued by these two organizations are much more widely requested and recognized than credentials from other organizations*** 

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OTHER CREDENTIALS:

None of the information that follows is intended, in any way, to disparage the education one receives in order to successfully challenge these various exams, nor the credentials themselves.

Other organizations do answer the call for Credentials.  PMIC, PHIA, PAHCOM, NHA, and possibly others, all offer credentials.  Some of these organizational credentials are accepted in very limited locales.  In the case of PHIA credentials—they are widely recognized in areas around Louisville, KY.   PMIC has credentials some coders hold … I believe CMC (certified medical coder) is one of their credentials.

NHA offers credentials for various disciplines within Healthcare.  However, I do not see a lot of places recognizing nor requesting the NHA credentials.

By way of convenience, in some cases, these ‘other organizations’ have partnered with certain training programs to provide a credential ‘within’ the cost of the program.   Sadly, I do not see a lot of places recognizing the NHA or the other credentials.

AGAIN, I am not saying this to disparage the information provided nor the education gained to be qualified to successfully challenge these exams.

PLEASE allow your education and these credentials to serve as STEPPING STONES to credentials that will more positively impact your job search.

USE the knowledge and the education from these programs that you’ve learned serve as guides to areas of coding where you can gain more advanced education and more recognized Credentials.

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~~ONE CAVEAT!!~~

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The RCC credential provided by the Radiology Coding Board is HIGHLY RESPECTED and SOUGHT AFTER by people/organizations who provide radiology services.

www.rccb.org

 

 

 

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