by Cari A. Greenwood, RHIA, CCS, CPC, CICA
Education Specialist, Libman Education
In the coding profession, credentials matter. They signify to employers and peers that you have mastery level coding skills, and that you will adhere to the rigorous ethical standards of our profession.
Getting a credential is a significant step on the career path of most coders. The question for a coder becomes: Is earning a credential the right thing to do at this time and which credential is right for me?
If you are experienced in coding health services provided in physician offices, group practices, multi-specialty clinics, or specialty centers, you may want to consider sitting for the CCS-P. The CCS-P coding credential is recognized by employers as an indicator of coding mastery in this growing area of healthcare.
In general, we recommend attempting the CCS-P after you have 2 years of related coding experience directly applying ICD-10-CM, CPT and HCPCS Level II codes. Yes, people sit for the CCS-P without the recommended experience and may even pass the exam, but it is the combination of work experience and earning a mastery level coding credential such as the CCS-P that makes you so valuable to an employer.
My advice: If you are ready to take the next step in moving your career forward, while at the same time increasing your earning potential* , obtaining an AHIMA credential such as the CCS-P can be just the thing.
An exam review, such as Libman Education’s online and self-paced CCS-P Exam Review, is the perfect tool to ensure your preparation is targeted and makes good use of the time you have available to prepare. The format of our course follows AHIMA’s CCS-P Certification Exam Content Outline with lessons devoted to each domain and its associated tasks covered on the exam.
For example, the CCS-P Exam Review has a lesson devoted to assignment of the modifiers that can be appended to CPT® and HCPCS Level II codes used for reporting physician services (Domain 2, Task 3). Correctly assigning modifiers can be quite challenging and modifier assignment often has a direct impact on reimbursement. A solid understanding of modifier assignment is evaluated on the CCS-P exam to ensure that credential holders possess this essential coding skill. The CCS-P Exam Review covers the description and purpose of each modifier and provides an example to illustrate how each modifier is applied in common clinical scenarios.
Preparing for the CCS-P coding credential exam will require focused attention and significant preparation. But, earning the CCS-P, and maintaining the credential with yearly CEUs, will pay professional benefits throughout your career.
*According to AHIMA’s, 75% of AHIMA members earn $50,000 or more— many without a four-year baccalaureate
Please note: Libman Education is not associated, affiliated, or otherwise connected with AHIMA.
New! Certified Coding Specialist – Physician-based (CCS-P) Exam Review
The CCS-P Exam Review is designed to help you realize your goal of passing AHIMA’s CCS-P exam and becoming a certified medical coder. Authored by education specialist Cari Greenwood! Learn more here.
About the Author
Cari A. Greenwood, RHIA, CCS, CPC, CICA
Cari Greenwood is an Education Specialist with Libman Education responsible for developing courses that engage the adult learner consistent with the demands of coders, auditors, and CDI professionals at organizations nationwide.
With more than 17 years of experience in health information management (HIM), Cari is a well-rounded HIM professional who holds RHIA and CCS credentials from AHIMA, a CPC credential from AAPC, and is an AHIMA-approved ICD-10-CM/PCS Trainer and an HFMA-Certified Inpatient Coding Auditor. Through her 11 plus years as a coding educator, Cari has gathered insight and information derived from her experience working with individual professionals and teams as they pursue advanced HIM training.
Cari’s HIM expertise combined with her passion for teaching is the foundation for her career as an author and presenter specializing in coding and auditing education. As Cari has stated: “The challenge facing anyone working with data and code sets is that it requires regular study to stay current with the evolutions in healthcare and able to accurately and efficiently do the work required of an HIM professional. A strong foundation of core skills and knowledge is the beginning, not the totality of an HIM education, there is always more to learn.”