Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) Exam Review: CCS for CDI


In addition to clinical knowledge, CDI Specialists require knowledge of the coding systems. This course prepares candidates to sit for AHIMA’s Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) exam. This online, self-paced, interactive and comprehensive review includes ICD-10-CM, ICD-10-PCS, and CPT coding practice; covers reimbursement methodologies, data quality, regulatory issues, and compliance; and provides valuable study and test-taking strategies.

CEUs:     9 AHIMA      N/A - AAPC
Included in eLearning Library. Price per person. Group rates available.

In addition to clinical knowledge, CDI Specialists require knowledge of the coding systems to ensure their documentation improvement efforts are consistent with the guidelines and conventions which govern accurate and complete coding. One way to assure this knowledge is by earning the CCS coding credential, offered by AHIMA, which demonstrates mastery-level coding skills, generally in a hospital setting.

The CCS Exam Review: CCS for CDI offers a comprehensive review of materials covered on the exam including:

  • ICD-10-CM/PCS, CPT, and HCPCS Level II coding and guidelines
  • Reimbursement methodologies including the Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) and Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS)
  • Health information documentation requirements
  • Regulatory guidelines and reporting requirements for inpatient and outpatient services
  • Data quality management
  • Information technology and security
  • Privacy, confidentiality, legal and ethical issues
  • Compliance review

Knowledge checks, assessment exercises, and a CCS Readiness Assessment offer over 250 practice questions with rationale to ensure mastery of material.

A bonus study guide helps you set-up an organized study schedule.

The CCS Exam Review: CCS for CDI covers:

  • Selecting and appropriately sequencing the diagnoses and procedures that require coding according to current coding and reporting requirements using the official ICD-10-CM/PCS coding guidelines for acute care (inpatient) visits and the official ICD-10-CM and the official CPT/HCPCS Level II coding guidelines for hospital outpatient services.
  • Selecting the principal diagnosis, principal procedure, complications, comorbid conditions, and other diagnoses and procedures that require coding according to UHDDS definitions and Coding Clinic.
  • Selecting the reason for encounter, pertinent secondary conditions, primary procedure, and other procedures that require coding according to UHDDS definitions, CPT Assistant, Coding Clinic, and HCPCS.
  • Assigning the present on admission (POA) indicators.
  • Evaluating and verifying the impact of code selection on Diagnosis Related Group (DRG) assignment based on Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) definitions and Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) reporting requirements.
  • Assigning and validating the discharge disposition.
  • Applying OPPS reporting requirements related to modifiers, CPT/HCPCS Level II, medical necessity, and Evaluation and Management code assignment (facility reporting).
  • Applying clinical laboratory service requirements.
  • Assessing the quality of coded and abstracted data. Ensuring coding and auditing is current and accurate. Resolving coding edits such as: CCI, MCE, and OCE.
  • Interpreting medical record documentation, consulting with physicians about documentation, querying, reference materials, and posting charges.
  • Navigating through the EHR, and accurate and efficient use of coding, grouping, and data analytic software.
  • Ensuring confidentiality and security of patient information. Applying ethical coding standards.
  • Evaluating accuracy and completeness of the medical record according to organizational policy and external regulations and standards. Monitoring and reporting compliance concerns.

AHIMA’s updating of the CCS Exam lags behind changes to the coding sets. Typically, AHIMA coding credential exams use the current year guidelines and code sets until May 1 of the following year. AHIMA has not yet announced the date for launching the FY2021 exam but based on past years it is expected that AHIMA coding credential exams will test on the 2020 guidelines and code sets until May 1, 2021.

Which year CCS Exam Review will I need? It depends on when you will be sitting for your credential:

  • If you are planning to take the exam prior to May 1, 2021, you should study the FY2020 guidelines and codes and prepare with the 2020 CCS Exam Review.
  • If you are planning to take the exam May 1, 2021 or later, you should study the FY2021 guidelines and codes and prepare with the 2021 CCS Exam Review.

Please refer to the AHIMA website ( for updates on the exam status and the list of allowable code books for your exam. Refer to the PearsonVue website ( for the specifics of what you need to know when registering for an exam.

The CCS Exam Review: CCS for CDI provides a comprehensive review of the materials covered on the CCS exam as well as valuable study and test-taking strategies.

Lesson 1: Inpatient Coding and Guidelines for ICD-10-CM (Part 1)
Lesson 1: Inpatient Coding and Guidelines for ICD-10-CM (Part 2)
Lesson 2: Inpatient Coding and Guidelines for ICD-10-PCS
Lesson 3: Inpatient Reimbursement Issues
Lesson 4: Outpatient Coding: Diagnosis and Procedures
Lesson 5: CPT® Coding by the Section
Lesson 6: CPT®/HCPCS Coding and Reimbursement
Lesson 7: Regulatory Guidelines and Reporting
Lesson 8: Privacy, Technology, and Compliance
Study Guide and Test Taking Strategies

Practice throughout

  • Knowledge checks
  • Assessments at the end of each lesson
  • Final practice exam
  • WebinarPlus™ multimedia and interactive online course promotes engagement with challenging materials while offering independent self-study.
  • Knowledge checks and/or final assessment ensure mastery of material.
  • Online Flexibility! Materials available 24/7. Work at your own pace — save time and travel costs.
  • Earn Libman Education Certificate of Completion and CEUs.
  • To receive CEU credit, students must achieve a passing rate on the course assessment(s).
  • Course is self-paced. For planning purposes, assume 1-3 hours required for each CEU.
  • Unlimited course access during enrollment period. For courses offering greater than one CEU, enrollment period is 16 weeks. For courses offering one or fewer CEUs, enrollment period is 4 weeks. Courses purchased as a bundle or package may have a longer enrollment period.
  • Extensions to the enrollment period are available. Contact Libman Education for pricing.
  • Financing available through PayPal Credit.
  • Price listed is per person/per course. Group rates available upon request.

Special pricing available for groups. Train your entire team!

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Sandy Macica, MS, RHIA, CCS

Sandy L. Macica is the former Director of Educational Content for Libman Education. Sandy is an experienced educator and coder with particular experience in developing online training for hospital coders in ICD-10-CM, ICD-10-PCS, and CPT® coding as well as coding certification exam preparation. Sandy is an enthusiastic presenter on all things coding and often speaks on complex coding topics for professional organizations and healthcare clients. Sandy is a long-time member of New York HIMA and was honored to receive the NYHIMA Distinguished Member Award in 2018. 



Angela Gerbert, BS, CCS, CDIP, CIC, COC, Approved-Instructor
Director, Education

Angela Gerbert applies a hands-on approach to her role as the Director of Education for Libman Education. Whether overseeing the work of subject matter experts including nationally recognized coding authorities; challenging instructional designers to deliver content in a way that is both engaging and memorable; or tapping her 25 years’ experience in inpatient, outpatient, and emergency room coding to write coder-friendly courses herself, Angela is responsible for ensuring that our training is accurate, easily accessible, and challenging.

Angela enjoys working individually with current students to answer their questions regarding course content and with prospective students to identify the appropriate curriculum to support their career objectives. Angela believes in the transformational power of education to help individuals achieve their personal and career goals and for organizations to achieve operating success.

Angela holds a bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Management and holds Certified Coding Specialist, Certified Documentation Improvement Practitioner from AHIMA as well as the Certified Inpatient Coder, Certified Outpatient Coder, and the Certified Professional Coder Instructor certifications from AAPC.

“I completed your CCS exam review course and also I passed my CCS thanks to you guys!” — Misty R.

“I recently passed my CCS – studying your course on-line. I continue to advocate to our staff to visit Libman’s website. The courses and CEU’s Libman offers are stellar.” — coding student

“I just wanted to take a moment and share with you, I went for my CCS exam last week and passed!! I would have not been able to do it if it wasn’t for your courses. You guys do amazing work. I share your name with everyone I know interested in getting certified. Thank you so much for putting together such great lessons. Thank you again!” — Tiffany L., CCS

“I just wanted to let you all know that I PASSED my CCS exam!!!!!!! Thank you all so much for everything. I love how your website is set up, as well as the CPT instruction video regarding the integumentary coding. I work with the inpatient coding team, so the outpatient stuff is Greek to me. This was AWESOME!! I have recommended your program to my fellow colleagues.” — Melissa D. P., RN, BSN, CDIP, CCS on the CCS Exam Review

“I truly thank you Libman Group for your wonderful courses that have contributed to my success.” — Leslie Jay Corn, CCS, CPC, CCA/ER Coding Analyst/Boston Medical Center OR LogixHealth


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2020 Required textbook and coding manuals:

Other recommended resources:

Which year code books will I need? It depends on when you will be sitting for your credential:

The ICD-10-CM, ICD-10-PCS, and CPT coding systems update at least yearly. The ICD-10 code sets are updated for discharges October 1 of each year. The CPT code set changes are effective January 1 of each year.

AHIMA’s updating of the CCA and CCS Exams lags behind changes to the coding sets. Typically, AHIMA coding credential exams use the current year guidelines and code sets until May 1 of the following year. For example, the CCA and CCS exams will test on FY 2020 codes and guidelines until May 1 of 2021.

* Please note:  Candidates for the CCS exam are required to bring the correct edition of code books to the test center. Candidates who do not bring the correct code books to the test center will not be allowed to test and will forfeit their exam fees. The allowable code books are published on the AHIMA website (see “List of Allowable Code Books: ICD-10” in the right-hand column):

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