Recommendations for self-study in coding?

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brmari in Boston, Massachusetts

18 months ago

Coder in Saint Petersburg, Florida said: The most desirable certifications for a new coder to start are the CPC for outpatient coding, and the CCS for inpatient hospital coding. The AAPC courses teach the CPC material. The AHIMA course teaches the CCA material, not the CCS. Employers are not interested in CCAs -- they want the full CCS.

You cannot purchase all of the books that the AAPC course teaches. They have one book (their textbook) that they will not let you buy unless you take their course.

It is unlikely that you would be able to teach yourself coding just by buying books. It is too complicated. Some people are able to do it, but they usually have many years of experience in healthcare and already understand what the job entails and the professional standards required by it. If you don't have that, you are just not going to understand what you need to do to code. You will have difficulty understanding the books and you will have difficulty getting your questions answered. It is a cheap way to start, though, so if you think that you could succeed that way, give it a try.

The AHIMA course seems to have a low success rate. A lot of people seem to start it but not many of them finish. Some succed, but more have difficulty getting jobs. You can see them complaining on Facebook pages. They typically go on about how fabulous it is while they aren't taking the course but switch to complaining if and when they graduate and can't get a job.

I'm sorry for so many questions, and I thank you very much for all the advice and suggestions that you've given me. I have another question...what is the difference on taking the course directly with AAPC and taking it with another program such as Andrew School Coding? Thanks again!!

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LD, RHIT in Decatur, Illinois

18 months ago

Coder in Saint Petersburg, Florida said: Well, you could get old books but you would study with outdated code sets. When it came time to take a certification exam, you would have to update those books with the addition the exam requires. You would also have to review very carefully to identify any code differences from one book to the next.

The post that you responded to gave very poor advice. The nonsense about using old books is so bad it is almost unethical. It's like she is setting you up for failure. AHIMA does not teach a course for the CCS. Their course is only for the CCA and their accredited programs in colleges only teach to the CCA. Employers really don't want RHIT's, either, because most of them can't code.

Really? Your going to be rude and tell me I don't know how to code? I have been coding and billing since 1993. When I posted my post it was before ICD-10 was being used. Yes I did buy old coding books for refresher and for practice. RHIT do know how to code. My advice was not poor. You maybe need to check yourself before you start slamming people online. I sat for the CCS with a formal course AAPC or AHIMA AND PASSED!!!

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LD, RHIT in Decatur, Illinois

18 months ago

Sorry correction. I did not have a formal course. I do have my Associate Degree and will be starting my Bachelors this Fall 2016. I suggest To BMARI, you find a school, a local community college and take classes that way. The AAPC and other are just a certificate. Yes you can do it on your own, but you need some A&P classes as well. Good luck BMARI, hopefully self absorbed people will think before they start slamming people.

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brmari in Boston, Massachusetts

18 months ago

LD, RHIT in Decatur, Illinois said: Sorry correction. I did not have a formal course. I do have my Associate Degree and will be starting my Bachelors this Fall 2016. I suggest To BMARI, you find a school, a local community college and take classes that way. The AAPC and other are just a certificate. Yes you can do it on your own, but you need some A&P classes as well. Good luck BMARI, hopefully self absorbed people will think before they start slamming people.

Hello LD, thanks a bunch for the advice! ... Greatly appreciated, I'll go the CC route.

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Coder in Saint Petersburg, Florida

18 months ago

brmari in Boston, Massachusetts said: I'm sorry for so many questions, and I thank you very much for all the advice and suggestions that you've given me. I have another question...what is the difference on taking the course directly with AAPC and taking it with another program such as Andrew School Coding? Thanks again!!

The AAPC course covers only outpatient coding leading to the CPC credential. There is nothing wrong with that. Many coders start there, but most eventually get more credentials. That course is only four months long, or 80 hours, which reflects the amount of material contained in it. You can complete it quickly because it does not contain more than you need for the CPC exam. Many CPC holders are successful in obtaining employment in a reasonable time.

A school like Andrews covers everything required for the CPC credential, but also covers everything required for the AHIMA CCS inpatient/hospital credential. That includes all of the academic subjects that you need for it, like pathophysiology, pharmacology, reimbursement methods, and so forth, along with qualified instructors. Many employers require an AHIMA credential, which you would have with the CCS. Having both credentials expands job opportunities. Income tends to be higher for inpatient hospital coders. Their program can be completed in about a year.

Community college programs may teach a CPC course or they might teach only a CCA course. They normally do not teach as far as the CCS. Some do not teach their own programs but contract with an outside company to provide a "canned" online, often instructorless, course.

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brmari in Boston, Massachusetts

18 months ago

Coder in Saint Petersburg, Florida said: The AAPC course covers only outpatient coding leading to the CPC credential. There is nothing wrong with that. Many coders start there, but most eventually get more credentials. That course is only four months long, or 80 hours, which reflects the amount of material contained in it. You can complete it quickly because it does not contain more than you need for the CPC exam. Many CPC holders are successful in obtaining employment in a reasonable time.

A school like Andrews covers everything required for the CPC credential, but also covers everything required for the AHIMA CCS inpatient/hospital credential. That includes all of the academic subjects that you need for it, like pathophysiology, pharmacology, reimbursement methods, and so forth, along with qualified instructors. Many employers require an AHIMA credential, which you would have with the CCS. Having both credentials expands job opportunities. Income tends to be higher for inpatient hospital coders. Their program can be completed in about a year.

Community college programs may teach a CPC course or they might teach only a CCA course. They normally do not teach as far as the CCS. Some do not teach their own programs but contract with an outside company to provide a "canned" online, often instructorless, course.

Thanks a lot for the information!

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Coder1 in Warren, Ohio

16 months ago

This course now includes the workbook. Before it was just online and video instruction. Now it includes the 400 page workbook and online and video instruction for those that prefer to have an actual book to look at as well. medicalcodingpro.com/medical-coding-certification-prep-course. Plus monthly live Q&A webinars have just been added.

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brmari in Boston, Massachusetts

16 months ago

Hi Again,

Which Ahima course is the one you mentioned, Career Step; Are they good?. Or Andrews prepares the most?. I am in a completely different field now (transportation), very new to researching about Medical Coding; since I want to change my career. Do you know of any other good training other than Andrews or Career Step?. I'm sorry for all this questions, I just want to gather as much information as I can in order to proceed and enroll on the right program.
Thanks so much for your help, is greatly appreciated.

Brenda

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Netta in Louisville, Kentucky

16 months ago

brmari in Boston, Massachusetts said: Hello, thanks for replying to my post and your advice. Could you please help me with a suggestion about if it's a good idea to study for the CPC exam directly through the AAPC online course; or is it fine to buy their books by bundles through their website with membership and study them on my own? If it's more affordable like that? Or go the other route taking the AHIMA preparation courses? Is it fine if i buy their books also through their website and self-study them? Which certification is most requested?. Please, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated and welcomed. Thanks again!

Try Penn Foster.AHIMA and the AAPC also offer classes.

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brmari in Boston, Massachusetts

16 months ago

Thanks for replying!

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brmari in Boston, Massachusetts

16 months ago

LD, RHIT in Decatur, Illinois said: You can get older copies of coding book, exam prep on websites like abebooks.com, alibirs, booksamillion, etc. Don't pay through the nose for programs as you will find that most employers want you to have at least your associates degree. Go to your local community college and there are grants and scholarship galore to help pay for school. I am studying for my CCS through AHIMA and not one of my study books cost more than 5.00. The majority come with cd's and practice tests. Sorry, I just don't like these post where these people come on here and try to sell a program. AAPC is very expensive and I bought there books at above mentioned sites. Good luck and remember, most employers want work experience too. That is why it is good to go to school as they have an internship that helps with hands on.

Hi LD,

Just curious about the books; aren't the codes outdated to study them?. I am changing careers from transportation to medical coding and want to get as much information as i can, if you please could help me with the information, i will really appreciate. Thanks again!

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Topaz07 in Poughkeepsie, New York

16 months ago

Certification Coaching Org's courses - bit.ly/RFisXY - offer a lot of good instruction and tips. I found the Blitz Review videos essential to my passing the CPC. Read about them here: bit.ly/1nk5Axq

So no matter where you study (on your own, at CCO, or some other school) consider purchasing them to help you tie the loose ends of your knowledge into a strong fabric on medical coding knowledge that you will have when you take the certification exam.

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Barb24 in Wheaton, Illinois

16 months ago

brmari in Boston, Massachusetts said: Hi LD,

Just curious about the books; aren't the codes outdated to study them?. I am changing careers from transportation to medical coding and want to get as much information as i can, if you please could help me with the information, i will really appreciate. Thanks again!

The official coding books are updated yearly. I know when you sign up for the Career Step program they do not even send you your coding books right away. Because you have a year to complete the program, the coding books are not mailed to you until you get to that section in the training so that you are sure to have the most updated books available.

They occasionally run specials that allow you to get your books for free or vouchers for the certification exams:
referral.careerstep.com/ref36530

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brmari in Boston, Massachusetts

16 months ago

Thanks for your reply!

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Shawn in Baltimore, Maryland

15 months ago

Learn Medical Coding LLC. offers courses approved by the AAPC. All course materials are created by the AAPC. Students that take LMC Virtual courses are 90% more likely to pass their certification than students that don't. Learn Medical Coding self study courses are the same courses that the AAPC offers on their website and students will login the AAPC website to take their courses. To learn more about LMC courses go to learnmedicalcoding.com

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Feeling Discouraged in Loganville, Georgia

15 months ago

I have been in healthcare for several years doing billing and ambulance coding but now I am trying to get into coding for hospitals and maybe a specialty and feeling discouraged. I have taken the online medical coding course and passed with a B but I am really struggling with order of coding and E/M coding. Does anyone know a tutor or refresher course in Atlanta GA or surrounding area that I can go to for some understanding. I am so scared to try and take the test without having a full understanding of these two areas. I would have maintained an A but the point deductions hit hard. Please help if you have any directive.

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Ann_M in Georgia

15 months ago

Feeling Discouraged in Loganville, Georgia said: I have been in healthcare for several years doing billing and ambulance coding but now I am trying to get into coding for hospitals and maybe a specialty and feeling discouraged. I have taken the online medical coding course and passed with a B but I am really struggling with order of coding and E/M coding. Does anyone know a tutor or refresher course in Atlanta GA or surrounding area that I can go to for some understanding. I am so scared to try and take the test without having a full understanding of these two areas. I would have maintained an A but the point deductions hit hard. Please help if you have any directive.

Join AAPC and register for a CPC review course with the Atlanta chapter. The covers both CPT and ICD-10-CM coding. The last review session was July 9th, but they always have sessions regularly. This is an all day in-person event, and 2 hours are spend on E/M coding. It is held at Emory, usually on a Saturday. The cost is $50.

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Feeling Discouraged in Loganville, Georgia

15 months ago

Ann_M in Georgia said: Join AAPC and register for a CPC review course with the Atlanta chapter. The covers both CPT and ICD-10-CM coding. The last review session was July 9th, but they always have sessions regularly. This is an all day in-person event, and 2 hours are spend on E/M coding. It is held at Emory, usually on a Saturday. The cost is $50.

Thank you Ann. I did join AAPC but did not know they offer that kind of help. Thanks again.

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Ann_M in Georgia

15 months ago

Feeling Discouraged in Loganville, Georgia said: Thank you Ann. I did join AAPC but did not know they offer that kind of help. Thanks again.

No problem. There is one coming up on Aug 13th. When you click on the link for the Atlanta Chapter you will see the classes & test dates.

Good Luck! E&M coding was confusing to me too!

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Michelle in Baltimore, Maryland

14 months ago

What coding books were you able to take into the RHIT, CCS, exam? My coding books are not up to date and I don't want to have to buy ones I dont need.

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shawn0798 in Baltimore, Maryland

12 months ago

Learn medical coding LLC trains students for AHIMA certifications and the AAPC certifications. The courses are interactive so they keep the students attention which assist students with completing the course. for more info go to learnmedicalcoding.com

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Dana Ross LPN in Kissimmee, Florida

11 months ago

Madeline A Meyer PhD in Winter Park, Florida said: Yes, we have a cost-effective, proven program for CPC and CCS certifications. We've trained hundreds successfully.

See: medicalcodingprep.com/

Dr. Meyer


Can someone take the study guide without going through a 10month course? Can I purchase a home study medical coding course?

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Barb24 in Wheaton, Illinois

11 months ago

Medical coding certification is not easy to achieve without taking a some kind of formal training which is why AHIMA has educational requirements listed, and they have approved programs that they know will prepare students to succeed on their exams. The material does not lend itself to self-study, it is a complicated field, you cannot just memorize a bunch of stuff in coding books. You need a course that provides you with all the background education as well as coding basics and practice in actually applying the codes. The practicum is key to being able to pass the certification exams, and Career Step provides you with real-life cases to practice over 125 hours of practicum.
Also, the certification exams are expensive so it would be a waste of money to try and take them without preparation.

If you want to search for online programs that are approved by AHIMA, here is a link to their search tool for that purpose.
www.ahima.org/careers/codingprograms

If you search for online programs, you will see that only a few are listed, Career Step is one of them.
referral.careerstep.com/mc?ref=36530

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Roxanne in Orlando, Florida

11 months ago

I am currently taking the first of the coding and billing classes. I am feeling really lost and frustrated. It is online course. I feel like I need to be in a classroom setting. I am not sure if I should continue on to the next class if I am having trouble with the first class. I get the some of the concepts but not all of them. I think it is really hard to compute to my professor via email all the time with questions. It takes a while for responses. I have tried the tutor at my school she was somewhat helpful. Please help.
Feeling Lost
RL

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Alan in Midland, Texas

10 months ago

gmichaels in Youngstown, Ohio said: This is a really good course for self study and it is inexpensive for what you get. medicalcodingpro.com/prep-course.html .

There is a coupon code that worked the last time I checked it to save fifty dollars too. I think it was "save50". Hope this helps and good luck!

Another good one is infinitymedicalcoding.com

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Alan in Midland, Texas

10 months ago

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Migrant07 in Port St. Lucie, Florida

9 months ago

Roxanne in Orlando, Florida said: I am currently taking the first of the coding and billing classes. I am feeling really lost and frustrated. It is online course. I feel like I need to be in a classroom setting. I am not sure if I should continue on to the next class if I am having trouble with the first class. I get the some of the concepts but not all of them. I think it is really hard to compute to my professor via email all the time with questions. It takes a while for responses. I have tried the tutor at my school she was somewhat helpful. Please help.
Feeling Lost
RL

What online school did you enroll? I'm thinking of going into medical coding.

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shawn0798 in Baltimore, Maryland

9 months ago

Hello,

You may benefit from having a live virtual webinar course with course interaction with a live teacher. It is just like attending a classroom but you are online. learnmedicalcoding offers live classes the next class starts January 26th.

One on One training is also available with a tutor or an instructor.

Please contact me if you would like more information charris@learnmedicalcoding.com

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Definite Medical Billing and Coding in Glen Allen, Virginia

9 months ago

ONLINE MEDICAL BILLING AND CODING TRAINING COURSE
NOW ENROLLING JAN 27- FEB 10!
13- WEEK COURSE BEGINS FEB 27, 2017!
This Online Medical Billing and Coding Curriculum is a 13-week course with access to a live Instructor. Students will have the benefit of a live Instructor for discussion, presentation, guided learning. Students also enjoy blended learning (online and campus/LAB) in Health Insurance Billing Methodologies and processes along with, CMS-1500 claims process, ICD10-CM, CPT Level I, HCPCS Level II, appending modifiers, understanding the applications of Official Guidelines for Coding and Reporting when reviewing documentation to support accurate medical coding. Students can join online for guided lessons and presentations, direct connect with Instructor with inquiries, and have access to weekly courses with practice and exercise. After completion of this course, students will be prepared and equipped with skills necessary to become successful and valuable Billers and Coders and are prepared to sit for AAPC, AHIMA coding certifications. CBCS (Certified Billing and Coding Specialist- NHA) exam is included with fees, along with E-books, Current Coding Manuals and other resources.

Contact us for more information!!
definitembs@gmail.com
www.definitemedicalbillingsolutions.com

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E in North Carolina

7 months ago

MedicalCoder in Chesapeake, Virginia said: I did a short course and studied for the CPC exam using this - bit.ly/CPC-Exam-Review - CPC/CCS-P review online and passed the test without a problem.

Hi, whats the name of your short course?

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dorothy_ in Wheaton, Illinois

7 months ago

Not all online programs are created equally, the certification exams are demanding and require a background in anatomy & physiology, pathophysiology, pharmacology, medical terminology, reimbursement methodology, intermediate/advanced ICD diagnostic/procedural and CPT coding. Don't be fooled by programs that make it seem like you can become a coder with a few shorts weeks of study. It might be possible if you already have a medical background, but you still need to complete an extensive amount of work in coding before you have a chance to pass the certification exams.

Career Step's program is over 600 hours of relevant coursework and over 120 hours of real coding practicum and is a recognized name in the industry for 20 years. And the curriculum is approved by AHIMA so you know you are getting everything you need to pass the certification exams. In fact the Career Step course was written by two top AHIMA consultants.

Their tuition includes a voucher for the certification exam (worth over $300) and they have tuition specials throughout the year:
referral.careerstep.com/mc?ref=36530

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kisinienblossom in Round Rock, Texas

7 months ago

Found this site. They have free youtube courses. You have to register (not pay to join) for free at the aapc site, link provided. Once you get an aapc member# you sign up for the youtube lectures. You could probably just find them on youtube by search but when you sign up with the site there are homework and study resources too. I just found this and haven't fully tried it out yet so no endorsements. Just letting you guys know it's out there.

www.absolutecodinginstitute.com

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Lindsay in Youngstown, Ohio

7 months ago

The best course for the money I've found. medicalcodingpro.com/medical-coding-certification-prep-course. Includes course book and online access. Covers everything from beginning to advanced.

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ButterflyS in Hillsboro, Oregon

5 months ago

MedicalCoder in Chesapeake, Virginia said: I did a short course and studied for the CPC exam using this - bit.ly/CPC-Exam-Review - CPC/CCS-P review online and passed the test without a problem.

Did you have any previous medical experience?

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Me in Horsham, Pennsylvania

5 months ago

Coder45 in Biloxi, Mississippi said: Just wanted to clarify that the instructor is the one certified by the AAPC as an approved instructor.

Hi, did you just go through review blitz with no prior experience or knowledge of coding?
Thanks!

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demato in orient, Ohio

1 month ago

Currently, I am a Neuro/Medical Surgical nurse(1 year) I am trying to get back into Medicare as a fraud Utilization Review Nurse. I have 21 years of experience with Medicare. I worked with electronic claims after they processed through the adjudication (paid, denied, priced or flagged them for fraudulent billing). Also, I worked with electronic claims prior to reaching the adjudication system. With this job, I worked with programmers, clearing houses, billers and providers/doctors on getting their claims into the system prior to the adjudication (for processing). Many claims would hit edits/audits that would reject front end. I have a lot of experience but can't get anyone to interview me for lack of "certification in coding" behind my name. I have been extensively trained in Medicare with HCPS codes, ICD 9 and CPT coding. I became unemployed (4 yrs ago) with Medicare because we lost a contract. I went on to nursing school at that time. What would be the cheapest course with the least amount of time for me? I really don't need it bit I may need "certification" behind my name.

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renienep in Matthews, North Carolina

1 month ago

MedicalCoder in Chesapeake, Virginia said: I did a short course and studied for the CPC exam using this - bit.ly/CPC-Exam-Review - CPC/CCS-P review online and passed the test without a problem.

So you dont have to go to classes for a year and

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CCS, CCS-P, CPC in Saint Petersburg, Florida

1 month ago

demato in orient, Ohio said: Currently, I am a Neuro/Medical Surgical nurse(1 year) I am trying to get back into Medicare as a fraud Utilization Review Nurse. I have 21 years of experience with Medicare. I worked with electronic ... What would be the cheapest course with the least amount of time for me? I really don't need it bit I may need "certification" behind my name.

Those quotes make you sound as though you are contemptuous of those certifications. They expect providers' coders to hold valid credentials, why wouldn't they expect you to? Well, what you will need to do depends on which certifications they require. Keep in mind that we now use ICD-10.

If they require AAPC certifications, you can just take the exam. Since you feel you don't need a course, you should able to pass the exam without one.

If they want AHIMA credentials, that requires a course that includes medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, pharmacology, reimbursement methods, and ICD-10-CM, CPT, and ICD-10-PCS (if the CCS) through the intermediate/advanced level. If you have a valid transcript from a college, Andrews might give you credit for the classes that match theirs, but you are looking for cheap and they are not. I don't know of anyone else who is the kind of cheap you are looking for, includes all of the inpatient coding without charging extra, and who does it in a way that will enable you to pass the CCS. Hopefully, you won't need an AHIMA credential.

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michelle78 in Chicago, Illinois

1 month ago

demato in orient, Ohio said: Currently, I am a Neuro/Medical Surgical nurse(1 year) I am trying to get back into Medicare as a fraud Utilization Review Nurse. I have 21 years of experience with Medicare. I worked with electronic claims after they processed through the adjudication (paid, denied, priced or flagged them for fraudulent billing ). Also, I worked with electronic claims prior to reaching the adjudication system. With this job, I worked with programmers, clearing houses, billers and providers/doctors on getting their claims into the system prior to the adjudication (for processing). Many claims would hit edits/audits that would reject front end. I have a lot of experience but can't get anyone to interview me for lack of "certification in coding" behind my name. I have been extensively trained in Medicare with HCPS codes, ICD 9 and CPT coding. I became unemployed (4 yrs ago) with Medicare because we lost a contract . I went on to nursing school at that time. What would be the cheapest course with the least amount of time for me? I really don't need it bit I may need "certification" behind my name.

It might be possible for you to take the coding exams without further education because one option (besides the education requirement) to qualify for AHIMA's CCS exam is 2 years direct coding experience. I guess you would have to contact AHIMA to see how that works. You would probably still need to review for the exams, this website has a lot of good info about coding an up-to-date list of study guides:
medicalofficecareers.info/category/medicalcoding/certification-study-guides/

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Barb24 in Wheaton, Illinois

1 month ago

demato in orient, Ohio said: Currently, I am a Neuro/Medical Surgical nurse(1 year) I am trying to get back into Medicare as a fraud Utilization Review Nurse. I have 21 years of experience with Medicare. I worked with electronic claims after they processed through the adjudication (paid, denied, priced or flagged them for fraudulent billing ). Also, I worked with electronic claims prior to reaching the adjudication system. With this job, I worked with programmers, clearing houses, billers and providers/doctors on getting their claims into the system prior to the adjudication (for processing). Many claims would hit edits/audits that would reject front end. I have a lot of experience but can't get anyone to interview me for lack of "certification in coding" behind my name. I have been extensively trained in Medicare with HCPS codes, ICD 9 and CPT coding. I became unemployed (4 yrs ago) with Medicare because we lost a contract . I went on to nursing school at that time. What would be the cheapest course with the least amount of time for me? I really don't need it bit I may need "certification" behind my name.

Hello Demato,

If you have not been coding for 4 years, then you will at least need to take a course to update you on the new ICD-10 codes that went into effect about 2 years ago in October of 2015. It was a significant change that required even experienced coders to re-train to learn the new system.
Career Step's comprehensive program actually includes three code sets, CPT, HCPCS, and ICD-10, so that you will be prepared to apply for jobs in inpatient and outpatient settings.
Their tuition includes a voucher to take one certification exam upon completion of the course, and if you enroll by the 29th you can get a $400 tuition discount before tuition prices go up next month for the new "school year". Here's a link to that discount:
referral.careerstep.com/mc?ref=36530

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