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How to Obtain Medical Coding Certification

Medical coding is an important aspect in the delivery of medical services. Medical coding involves assigning codes to different medical procedures for effective medical record keeping. Although medical coding certification is not a legal requirement for a job as a medical coder, it places one at a higher advantage when looking for career opportunities. When applying for a job in the medical field, one needs to have adequate knowledge of the codes in use. There are several methods of obtaining medical coding certification. The choice of a certification method depends on the level of certification one needs. The levels of certification are;

Certified Professional Coder (CPC)

Certified Professional Coder, CPC, is the most recognized coding certification in the medical field. The certification indicates that an individual has vast knowledge of all code sets and can assign the right codes to practicing medics, making it the most recognized medical coding certification. Certified Personal Coders have adequate understanding of healthcare administration and ethical practices of their profession. They also have adequate knowledge of the regulatory procedures involved in medical insurance claims and compensations.

Certified Outpatient Coder (COC)

Certified Outpatient Coder, is a certification mainly held by student-medical practitioners. The certification indicates that an individual understands medical terminologies, anatomy, as well as coding guidelines. In most cases, COCs work in ambulatory surgical centers and billing departments in hospitals. A COC should have adequate knowledge of evaluation and management procedures. They are also required to be proficient in surgical services, radiology, pathology, anesthesia, and medicine.

Certified Inpatient Coder (CIC)

Certified Inpatient Coder, CIC, is certification dedicated specifically to coders working in inpatient medical facilities. This certification indicates that one is capable of abstracting information from a patient’s medical records for proper treatment and billing processes. A CIC should have adequate knowledge in Medicare Severity Diagnosis and effective payment systems.

After establishing the desired level of coding certification, one needs to follow the laid-out procedure to be certified. Here are the requirements for one to be a certified medical coder.

Prerequisites for Coding Certification

Before starting the medical coding certification process, one should have at least a diploma or a degree in a medical course. Having a background in a medical course helps one understand the terminologies and procedures involved in medicine. Another condition for certification is at least one year of practice in a registered institution’s coding department.

Certifying Exams

Once the prerequisites have been met, an individual undergoes a course, after which they sit for an exam. Certifying exams for medical coders require individuals to assess coding scenarios and fill in the required information in the blanks. An individual should score a minimum of 70 percent in the certifying exams for them to be certified.

Once an individual has been certified, the best way to maintain the certification is by maintaining a high level of professionalism. Coders who are caught engaging in fraudulent practices usually have their certification revoked. Medical codes are subject to changes and adjustments. Therefore, one needs to stay updated whenever changes are made. Some institutions offer additional training when a new code is introduced to help coders maintain their certification.

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