Coding Specialist Certificate
Program DescriptionThis certificate course of study prepares a graduate for employment in a hospital or a related healthcare setting analyzing charts in order to assign codes using the ICD-9-CM, CPT-4, and DSM-IV classification systems. Graduates are also able to use computer software encoders to obtain codes and the Medicare DRG, APR groupers for inpatients, and the APC grouper for assigning APCs for reimbursement. Students gain practice in coding a variety of medical specialties and problems of acute care, ambulatory, and long-term care patients. This practice requires additional time in the lab during OPEN LAB time.
This program can be completed by taking courses during the day, evenings. While this certificate requires only 37 credits, it takes three or four semesters to complete because of course prerequisites. Students who complete the requirements earn the certificate as a Coding Specialist. Graduates are eligible to take the certification examinations administered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).Following graduation the student may take an exam and passing it entitles the student to use the initials CCA (Certified Coding Associate). After coding for three years the graduate may take examinations to be recognized as a CCS (Certified Coding Specialist) or a CCS-P (Certified Coding Specialist-Physician Based) depending on whether the hospital or physician’s office certification exam is taken.Students must score 35 or higher on the science placement test to be exempt from BIO 101 or BIO 102. Transfer and returning students may be required to pass a challenge exam in order not to have to repeat an AH or HIT course whose credits are more than three years old. Students must earn a “C” or better in all credit courses applied toward graduation requirements. No course may be repeated more than once. For additional information regarding admission and/or continued enrollment in the program, students should contact the Program Coordinator.
CCA (Certified Coding Associate); CCS (Certified Coding Specialist) or a CCS-P (Certified Coding Specialist-Physician Based)
- An outpatient coder performs medical coding in a variety of outpatient health care settings. These include emergency rooms, hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, physician offices, and clinics.
- An inpatient coder is responsible for accurate assignment of diagnosis related groups (DRGs), diagnostic and procedural codes using ICD-9-CM /ICD-10-CM for inpatient health information records.
- This type of coder generally works for a company that has contracts with several health care organizations and travels from facility to facility performing medical coding.
- An at-home coder completes the coding process from home using electronically transmitted records.
- A coding auditor performs DRG optimization audits on inpatient and outpatient records and reviews the results of audits with coding staff and coding management to resolve noncompliance and inaccuracy issues
Consultant (with advance degree)
- The responsibility of a consultant is to assist clients and provide support for creation, maintenance and ongoing operation of an efficient and accurate system of reimbursement and documentation. A consultant also reviews billing protocols and procedures to assure compliance will all regulatory and governmental requirements.
Coding Supervisor (with advance degree)
- A coding supervisor provides support for and works to plan, review, and implement the policies and processes surrounding the coding and abstracting functions and maintains responsibilities for all coding functions, including appropriate staff productivity and development, implementation and monitoring of the coding compliance plan.
Medical coding job opportunities require a minimum competence in key skills. Coders should have good written and verbal communication skills as they frequently deal with other healthcare professionals (like doctors and nurses), healthcare facilities, and insurance companies.
Computer and typing skills, a good grasp of medical terminology, and an attention to detail are also good attributes for the successful medical coder.
The increasing demand for the use of electronic medical records (EMR) will increase significantly in the coming years - especially now that the federal government is encouraging EMR use. This will broaden the job responsibilities and opportunities for the medical coder.
Coders should have good basic computer skills in order to take advantage of the capabilities of the EMR and other associated software technology. This will help in entering, maintaining, and analyzing health information data on diseases and associated treatments.
Coders with good computer software and technology skills will be very attractive to employers as these healthcare providers begin to adopt EMR systems.