Advantages of choosing Medical Coding career and AAPC Certification Exams


What is Medical coding?

In US healthcare the patient are not required to pay any money to there physician for any treatment. The physician is paid by the Insurance company for its fees which are also called payer. So, the whole process is go through a revenue cycle in this healthcare setting and medical coding is a part of the cycle. Now, in US healthcare the patient treatment process is documented in a transcription report by medical transcriptionist and this is followed to medical coders. Now, the medical coders gives specific numeric codes to the diagnosis patient got and the Procedure (like x-ray, CT, MRI etc) performed by the physician. Hence, the coder coding medical charts are called medical coders in the field of medical coding. Codes given for the diagnosis are ICD-9 codes (International Classification of Diseases) and the Procedure codes are called CPT code (Current Procedural Terminology).

CPC Practice Exam - Medical Coding Study Guide Please Click Here!

Read also: Best 3 tips to Clear CPC exam  

                    AAPC or AHIMA: Make your choice

Advantages of choosing Medical Coding career and AAPC Certification Exams


Now, the question why we are using numeric codes for diagnosis as well as for the procedure performed. To keep the patient information and his demographic report confidential such codes help a lot, since the codes can be understood only by the people having knowledge about medical codes nobody can be able to understand this numeric codes. Also, such numeric codes have particular dollar value, so when the medical coders give some specific code like 71010 for one view of chest x-ray, this procedure has some corresponding dollar value which will be paid by the insurance company to the physician. These tips are really important for Certification exams like CPC, you can go through sample CPC questions here which will surely help in clearing CPC exam.

Read also:  Free Websites to gain knowledge about medical coding

How to take Medical coding as a career?

To take medical coding as a career, one to pass a certification exam to become a certified coder. AAPC also called American Academy of Professional Coders (http://www.aapc.com) conduct the exam every year for the fresher and students to become certified coders. The exam have centers around the globe which will help them to take exam in there own country or might in there own city.

Exam for Medical coders

The basic exam for the medical coder to pass is CPC (Certified Professsional Coder). The exam has 150 mutiple choice questions to finish within a time of 5 hours 30 minutes. The exam results comes within few days after giving the exam. The results can be seen online once you have become the member of AAPC. It has one more attempt free if you failed to pass the exam. After passing the exam the member or the professional having not enough experience are given Apprentice certificate as CPC-A. Once you have gain the required the experience one can send the experience document to AAPC to remove the Apprentice from CPC-A to CPC. CPC exam is mostly focused on outpatient coding hence it is comparatively more easy to pass. Also, many hospitals and healthcare firms prefer mostly CPC certified coders to join there company.
Now, one more exam similar to CPC is CPC-H. Most of the things are same in CPC-H except they ask question more on medical billing as well along with medical coding. Hence, medical billing knowledge should also be there while giving this exam. CPC-H certified coders are mostly preferred by the hospital since they have hospital coding which mostly requires CPC-H certified coders.

For Interventional Radiology coders, AAPC conduct CIRCC (Certified Interventional Radiology Cardiovascular Coder) exam. CIRCC is basically for coders interested in coding Percutaneous Surgery procedures. This exam also has 150 multiple choice questions but it is one of the tough exam to clear. So, a coder having in and out knowledge about interventional radiology and have experience in coding live charts on these procedure should always go with this exam. CIRCC has more preference and value over CPC and CPC-H since they know the amount of knowledge required to code surgery charts.

Along with AAPC there is one more organisation which conduct exams for medical coders called as AHIMA(Americal Health Information Management Association) (http://www.ahima.org). AHIMA has been recognised one the best organization for Coding professional because of the exam they conduct. Exam conducted by AHIMA have more value and recognition than AAPC. One of the exam mostly coders prefer to given from AHIMA is CCS (Certified Coding Specialist).

CCS is one the tough exam I have come through to pass in one attempt. The exam has both objective as well as subjective questions. Hence, one cannot do any guess work here to get the write answer like in AAPC exam. CCS is mainly conducted for Inpatient coders but anyone can give this exam. CCS certified coders are always required by hospitals and healthcare firms. In between AHIMA has banned this exam in ASIA continent due to some reasons but now it has again started conducting this exam around the globe. CCS have questions from both outpatient and inpatient background hence one has to have in and out knowledge about the codes and the coding guidelines.



Now, after giving you the brief knowledge about these exams I hope coders can go for the exam of there speciality and get certified. Also, let me just add that while preparing these exam coders should not forget about the main coding guidelines given in the beginning of the Coding books. So, always follow the book you will always reach to the correct code. Also, while giving the exam, don't forget to manage your time, because time management is one of the biggest factor during the exam. The time runs like anything while giving the exam, and we are not able to attempt the all questions. Always attempt all the questions mainly in AAPC exams because there no negative marking for wrong answers.

I would like to you attempt these exam as soon as possible since with the coming of ICD-10 codes the exam pattern may change and coders have learn many new codes. ICD-10 has alphanumeric codes and number of codes have also been increased significantly. So, to learn these new codes will take time, hence I would suggest to apply for any of these exam before the implementation of the ICD-10.

Thanks for reading by article, please fee free to comment for any suggestion or any question, I would try my best to answer those queries.

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3 comments

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9 July 2014 at 01:27 delete

Excellent article on AAPC certification. I guess this easier to pass if we compare AHIMA vs AAPC certification exams.

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Anonymous
1 July 2015 at 05:56 delete

Good information....Thanks!

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