by Gail I. Smith, MA, RHIA, CCS-P
When I was the director of a HIM program at the University of Cincinnati, I was often asked: “If coding is part of the content outline for the RHIA and RHIT examinations, why would I, as a new graduate, take AHIMA’s Certified Coding Associate (CCA) certification examination?”
Let me suggest one compelling reason: If you are a new graduate and interested in the field of coding, successful completion of the CCA adds an area of concentration on your resume that sets you apart from other applicants as you begin your career.
Coding has always been a domain in the HIM profession and a part of the HIT/HIA curriculums. But does the RHIT/RHIA credential guarantee entry-level competency in the area of coding? Let’s take a closer look at the coding content tested in the two examinations:
• RHIA examination content outline identifies coding (classification systems) as one of four tasks in Domain 1 called Data Content, Structure and Standards (Information Governance) and approximately 18-22% of the exam includes questions directed at those 4 areas. One can’t make assumptions about the number of questions per task, but let’s pretend that 5 questions are included per task (Classification, Record Content, Data Governance, Data Management), that would mean approximately 3% of the 160-question exam tests on coding.
• The RHIT examination blueprint displays coding as one of 8 tasks under Revenue Cycle Management, which comprises 14-18% of the exam. It appears that coding is a small portion of the overall exam blueprint for both examinations.
The CCA examination content focuses 30-34% on coding with related areas of reimbursement methods and compliance adding another 33-41% of the exam construction. Achieving the CCA in addition to your RHIT/RHIA, can be the thing that gets you the interview, gets you the job, and prepares you for long-term success.
CCA Exam Prep: Prepare for a Career as a Medical Coder
Online and self-paced. Interactive and engaging. The CCA Exam Review lets you work at your own speed! Authored by nationally-recognized coding authority Gail I. Smith, MA, RHIA, CCS-P. Learn more here.