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The advent of mandatory Electronic Health Records, EHR, for any healthcare provider in the United States has created a need for fully trained medical coders and this need is nowhere near being fulfilled at any time soon. Therefore as a proactive individual who is intent in being active in this sector in the long run, the time is now to consider going back to school and acquiring a professional certification which will put you in good stead to work as a fully qualified medical coder.
You therefore need as much information as you can with respect to the type of certifications that are available to you and what weight they carry in the job market. But before we explore the certifications available it is important to consider the certification paths that are available to you. They are four paths to certification and they include via the; Diploma program, Associate Degree program, Bachelor of Arts, BA, program and the Online program.
Having pointed out the 4 paths to certification as a professional medical coder, let’s have a look at the 5 types of professional medical billing qualifications as per AAPC that are available to you post-graduation;
Certified Professional Coder (CPC U +00AE)– This certification is the standard medical coding certificate and the possessor is believed to have demonstrable proficiency in medical coding, proper coding procedures and all the applicable rules and regulations for the practice.
Certified Professional Coder Outpatient Hospital- (CPC – HU-00AE)- This is variation of the above certification. This certification shows that in addition to the skills mentioned above the holder has the requisite skill to code in a hospital, clinic or outpatient environment.
Certified Professional Coder Payer – (CPC-PU +00AE)–This certification builds upon the first qualification mentioned above in this list. In addition to those skills the holder of this certificate has special expertise in the payer’s perspective where the payer includes; private insurers, Medicare, Medicaid or the patient.
Certified Interventional Radiology Cardiovascular Coder (CIRCCU+00AE)- This is the crème-de-la-crème of medical coders as professionals in this category earn the highest salaries of them all. This certificate validates that the coder possesses specialist knowledge in the field.
All the above mentioned certifications are offered by the AAPC accrediting body. The AAPC offers 20 specialty coding certifications for experienced coders showcasing their expertise in the various areas, including; chiropractic, dermatological, family practice, pediatrics and maxillofacial surgery.
Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT)- This certification is offered by the AHIMA accreditation body and this certification is proof that the holder not only possesses and Associate Degree but also has extensive knowledge in medical coding.
Additionally, it is proof positive that apart from medical coding the holder is proficient in medical billing, medical transcription and health information as a whole. This is a valuable and sought after qualification.
The bottom line is that the these certifications are tailored to allow you to invest as much resources in terms of time and money or as little as you can afford in order to gain entry into this highly sought after field.
Author Bio: Joseph Lee is a software developer who specializes in developing professional medical billing solutions. He has been creating custom health care and billing software for the past 25 years. For more information about medical billing, visit this website.