Medical Coding Certificate Program Facts
- What Does a Medical Coder Do?
- Is The Medical Coding Career Field Right For Me?
- Where Do Medical Coders Work?
- What Are The Working Conditions?
- What Is The Job Outlook for Medical Coders?
- How Flexible Is The Program In Meeting Individual Scheduling Needs?
- How Soon Can I Be Accepted Into The Medical Coding Program?
- Does The Program Have A Clinical Component?
- Will I Be Required To Travel?
- What Happens After Completion Of The Medical Coding Certificate Program?
- Continuing Education Requirements?
- Is The MCC Program Accredited?
- Can I Continue Into The Health Information Technology Associate Degree Program After I Finish The Coding Certificate Program?
- How Can I Get More Information?
- Reviews medical records and codes diagnoses and procedures for reimbursement and research purposes
- Understands and applies coding guidelines and reimbursement methodologies.
- Applies laws and regulations relative to maintenance, disclosure, confidentiality and retention of health information
- Uses computer applications to manage health information.
Is The Medical Coding Career Field Right For Me?
Making a decision about a career is a difficult one. If you are interested in health information, information technology, laws and ethics, and the improvement of health care, and you are an organized, detail oriented individual, this diverse career field may be just right for you! A strong background in health sciences (such as Medical Terminology, Anatomy and Physiology, Pharmacology, Pathophysiology), Health Information Technology courses, and computer courses are vital to the work the Medical Coder does.
Where Do Medical Coders Work?
Medical Coders are primarily employed in hospitals, outpatient facilities, physician offices/group practices, clinics, insurance companies, and medical billing companies. The job title and work setting dictates the actual tasks and responsibilities. Employers have specific qualifications, i.e. education and certification that they are looking for when hiring a medical coder and these can differ among facilities. All employers will conduct a coding test as part of the hiring process.
What Are The Working Conditions?
Working conditions are usually very flexible, primarily day shift, and no weekends or holidays. The actual coding environment includes sitting for long period of time, reviewing medical records (paper or electronic), using a computer all day and working independently. Productivity and quality standards are required; therefore, the job can be stressful.
What Is The Job Outlook for Medical Coders?
Health Information Technicians/Medical Coders are one of the fastest growing occupations in the country today. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, “employment of medical records and health information technicians is expected to grow much faster than average for all occupations through 2014 because of rapid growth in the number of medical tests, treatments, and procedures that will be increasingly scrutinized by health insurance companies, regulators, courts, and consumers.”
How Flexible Is The Program In Meeting Individual Scheduling Needs?
After meeting the pre-requisites, the student must complete a Health Technologies Rolling Admission Application Form to apply to the program. The MCC program is a 1-year certificate program with the HIMT courses held during afternoon and evening hours. Once accepted students must sign up for afternoon or evening sections of the HIMT courses. A new group (34) of students starts the program every fall semester. Some students choose to reduce their workload by taking general study courses prior to formal program entry. These options are important considerations for those whose work or whose family responsibilities might otherwise prevent them from pursuing an education. General study courses are available during the day and night. Currently, the program starts with a new group of students in the fall and continues thru to the following August. Please note that the summer schedule is extremely concentrated and accelerated with summer classes starting in May. You must be prepared to take these accelerated and concentrated courses. Students may also receive credit for classes based on work experience and may test out of a class (up to 12 credit hours) by taking a proficiency test.
How Soon Can I Be Accepted Into The Medical Coding Program?
Most of the health programs at Stark State College have waiting lists; therefore, you should check for what year the program is currently accepting applications. It is important to note that the waiting list changes continuously. Students change their mind, have difficulty meeting academic standards, drop off the list, etc. As we delete names, we automatically move students who are waiting up. While you are waiting to start the core program courses you may take any or all of the general study courses which would lessen your course load.
Does The Program Have A Clinical Component?
During the summer session, students obtain hands-on coding experience in the field based on availability of clinical sites. Students are given a variety of settings to choose from such as billing services, physician offices and acute care facilities. The students usually attend the professional practice experience one day a week for approximately five-weeks. Please note that this is a daytime experience. Typically, students attend on Tuesdays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Students are required to complete health requirements, obtain a background check and pay liability insurance before starting the program due to the requirements of the clinical sites/employers. Students should be aware that due to clinical sites requiring background checks, information discovered may delay or prevent clinical education opportunities and entry into the profession.
What Happens After Completion Of The Medical Coding Certificate Program?
Following completion, the MCC student is prepared to take a professional certification examination which is at the discretion of the student. The American Health Information Management Association and/or American Academy of Professional Coders offer certification examinations. The examinations are comprehensive, covering all aspects of health information, coding, reimbursement, science and other subjects addressed in the curriculum. There are numerous certification examinations (CCA, CCS, CPC, CCS-P, etc.) available based on individual and/or employer requirements. The program strongly recommends that the student take the Certified Coding Associate (CCA) exam as this exam is intended for entry-level candidates with minimal coding experience or graduates of coding certificate or training programs. The CCA should be viewed as the starting point for an individual entering a new career as a coder. The more advanced CCS (Certified Coding Specialist) and/or CCS-P (Certified Coding Specialist-Physician) exams demonstrate mastery level coding skills, obtained by work experience that the CCA would strive for to advance his or her coding career.
Continuing Education Requirements?
Yes, life long learning and keeping skills up-to-date are important in this field. Each certification may require different continuing education requirements. For example, for the CCA to maintain their certification, they are required to complete 20 CEU’s in a 2 year period of time and to do a yearly self-assessment.
Is The MCC Program Accredited?
The Medical Coding Certificate program is approved by the Ohio Board of Regents. It was developed in 2002, utilizing the same courses that are in the accredited Health Information Management Technology Program. The HIMT program has been in existence since 1977. The American Health Information Management Association developed a separate coding program “approval” process in 2005, which was revised in March 2006. The program is currently reviewing the requirements to be “approved” by AHIMA and will be pursuing this approval.
Can I Continue Into The Health Information Technology Associate Degree Program After I Finish The Coding Certificate Program?
Yes, however, it is on a space available basis. Students must complete a Health Technologies Rolling Admission Application form and submit a written letter requesting admission to the HIMT program before the end of the spring semester of the coding certificate program. Admission to the HIMT program depends on space availability since the student will be joining an existing HIMT class. The number of spaces available will be determined at the end of the spring semester. Admission will be based on seat availability and first come first served. Please note that courses needed to complete the associate degree are offered only during the day and the student must follow the curriculum as designed to complete the associate degree in one year.
How Can I Get More Information?
You must make an appointment to meet with someone from the program to discuss the curriculum, program requirements and the schedule of courses. Contact: Terrie Bradshaw, RHIA, Coordinator, Medical Coding Program at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone, 330.966.5458 Ext. 4595 Also visit the following websites for additional information about this exciting career:
- American Health Information Management Association
- American Academy of Professional Coders
- Ohio Health Information Management Association
- Occupational Outlook Handbook – Look under Professional and Related
- Occupations and look for Medical Records/Health Information
| PLEASE NOTE:
Acceptance to Stark State College does not ensure acceptance into a particular health program. Students must apply to their program of choice. Health Technologies Application Requirements for more information.