A Brief Understanding of Medical Coding Certifications

what is medical coding certification

The work of a medical coder is to go through the reviewing process of the medical claims and ensure that everything goes by smoothly. Their job is quite a strenuous one at times because the processing of medical claims needs to be error-free so that the claims do not get denied by the insurance payers. They require medical coding certification which substantiates their expertise in the field of medical billing and coding

Before becoming a medical coder, it is important to know about the coding programs that are accessible to you. These medical coding certification programs will be the deciding factor in making you understand your forte. To know more about these programs, keep on reading this blog.

What Is Medical Coding Certification?

Medical Billing and Coding Certifications

Before diving into the programs that are available out there it is important to understand what exactly is medical coding certification. It basically refers to a qualification in the area of medical billing and coding. There are several different types of coding accreditation that test your understanding and comprehension amongst the three-level of codes along with any one of the three sets of code. 

This accreditation can easily be obtained if you pursue the medical coding certification exam. Of course, you would have to take the necessary preparations to pass the exam with flying colors. You can also obtain the accreditations certificate through the general coding sets that help in demonstrating your expertise level.

National Commission for Certifying Agencies often abbreviated as NCCA offers programs through which you can earn your coding accreditation. You could also get a certification from any agency that is recognized by the U.S Department of Labor or Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Once you obtain the necessary certifications it will boost up your chances for a job in the coding and billing field of service along with increasing your pay. 

Different Kinds of Medical Coding Certifications

When it comes to medical certifications there are various different ones that help you to test your skills and knowledge.

1. Certified Outpatient Coding (COC)

Previously called the CPC-H, the certification for COC is provided by the American Academy of Professionals Coders. COC is useful for billers and coders who work in hospitals. This kind of coding refers to ambulatory surgical centers along with hospital coding and billing departments.

For the COC exam, the candidate has to answer 150 MCQs. They will be given a total of 5 hours and 40 minutes to complete the exam. The fee for it is $399 whereas for AAPC students it is $325. If they fail to take the exam, they will be given one free chance. 

2. Certified Coding Specialist (CCS)

American Health Information Management Association also abbreviated as AHIMA accredits the CCS certification code that is used by medical institutes and hospitals that allows them to get the necessary reimbursement from government programs or insurance payers such as Medicaid or Medicare. This medical coding certification exam is useful for those individuals who have coding experience for both outpatient and inpatient records.

In order to appear for the CCS exam candidates must fulfill one of the criteria according to AHIMA;

a) They should complete all of the necessary courses for reimbursement methodology, medical terminology, pharmacology, advanced and intermediate ICD coding, pathophysiology, physiology and anatomy, medical services, and procedural coding.

b) They should hold CCA accreditation along with a year of experience in coding.

c) They should also have a coding accreditation from a certified organization with a year of coding experience in applying codes directly.

d) They must also hold an RHIA, RHIT, or a CCS-P accreditation.

This exam has MCQ along with a medical scenario segment. The total time given for the candidates to complete the exam is four hours and a minimum of 300 is needed to pass the exam. 

3. Certified Professional Coder (CPC)

American Academy of Professional Coders accredits the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) certification. This is best for those individuals in medical billing and coding who tend to have an interest in working in a physician’s office or at a clinic. According to the American Academy of Professionals Coders, the CPC helps in elevating the earning of by a lot more than $25,000 along with the annual salary. It is the most sort after medical coder certification exam.

The CPC exam which was offered previously in person has now become an online medical billing and coding program. The fee to take this examination is either $399 or $299 depending on whether you take an offline or an online exam. 

4. Certified In-Patient Coder (CIC)

This accreditation is committed exclusively to facility coding and inpatient hospital and is given by the American Academy of Professional Coders. It is important for individuals to understand the entire niche of medical procedures, inpatient coding along the necessary procedures. ICD-10 CM diagnosis codes along with IC-10 PCS procedure codes must be applied correctly during the medical billing and coding services.

There are 10 inpatient cases along with 60 MCQs that the candidates must solve correctly. They will be given a total of 5 hours and 40 minutes to complete their exam. The fee for AAPC students is $325 while for others it is $399 along with one free chance.

5. Certified Medical Coder (CMC)

One of the most renowned medical coding certifications, this exam is taken by many. Practice Management Institute often abbreviated as PMI is the one who offers the accreditation for CMC. Even though it is the most popular among all the other certifications it is also the most difficult out of all the above mainly because of its testing format. This certification is mainly for coders who want to be in the outpatient setting.

PMI helps candidates to prepare for the exam in a thorough manner, even though it is not mandatory many students have benefitted from it. The exam has 133 questions and the candidate must earn a 70% or above to pass the exam.

Depending on which area you want to work in you can choose the kind of certification which suits your needs the best. But, in case you are looking to outsource your healthcare company’s medical billing to a capable service provider, Synergy HCLS is a name you can definitely bank upon.