Certified Medical Coder (CCA)
A Certified Coding Associate (CCA) is an entry level medical coder who has fulfilled the education and examination requirements to earn AHIMA's CCA credential. A medical coding associate assigns numeric or alphanumeric codes to identify medical diagnoses and procedures on patient records. This coding allows insurance companies to process claims accurately and make payments to providers, as well as reimburse individuals. The work becomes more complex every year as researchers identify more conditions and develop new medical tests and treatments.
The medical coding associate works from documentation provided by physicians, nurses and other health care personnel. The associates identify diagnoses and treatments from charts, laboratory results and notes and assign codes from the industry manuals. Sometimes coding associates must ask a physician for further clarification when there is no single straightforward diagnosis or procedure. After the classifications are assigned, the coder enters the information into a computer database.
Medical coding associates most often find jobs in the finance departments of hospitals, where they assign industry-established classifications to health insurance claims. They also work in clinics, private practices, dental offices, nursing care facilities, non-profit agencies, third-party billing firms and insurance companies. Some coders are employed by hospitals or clinics that allow them to work from home. In smaller practices and clinics, medical coding associates might perform general office assistant duties such as registering patients and scheduling appointments.
Importance of CCA Certification
The Certified Coding Associate (CCA) credential is a excellent way for a new coder to demonstrate competency in the field, even without much job experience. The CCA credential can provide a competitive advantage when seeking a new job, career advancement opportunities, and salary increase.
Getting the CCA Certification
Candidates can pursue the CCA credential with a quality coding program and less than a year of experience. AHIMA and AAPC strongly recommend a quality coding program which lasts at least a year and results in either an Associate Degree or Diploma. Students learn medical terminology, anatomy and physiology and how to analyze medical records and operate billing software. They also study the two standard code classification manuals. Although not required for eligibility, AHIMA also recommends having at least six months of experience in a healthcare organization applying ICD-9-CM and CPT coding conventions and guidelines.
Medical Coder Career Advancement and Salary Potential
Medical Coding provides opportunities for career advancement and increased salary potential. Coders can advance and broaden their careers by meeting additional education, experience, and certification requirements.
Average Medical Coder Salaries by Credential
Medical Coding Career Outlook
The future for skilled medical coders is excellent. There are two major economic forces that cannot be ignored that will push the need for medical care -- the ARRA stimulus plan passed by Congress in 2009 is pushing the healthcare industry to become more data driven and the growing senior population in the US will require more healthcare services. Both will fuel the increase in demand for qualified professional medical coders. In fact, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment in medical records and health information to increase by 21% from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations.>> ICD-10 Transition in 2014 Fact Sheet (pdf)
About Accreditation and Certifications: AHIMA and AAPC are the leading credentialing bodies for the medical coding industry. AHIMA also awards credentials for health information management professionals. AAPC offers their own coding courses and does not accredit coding programs outside of their organization. AHIMA offers a small list of AHIMA approved coding programs (approximately 40 in the nation). CAHIIM is the accrediting body of AHIMA for undergraduate and graduate level health information programs. While relatively few medical coding programs are officially AHIMA accredited, many schools and institutions offer quality medical coding education and training that prepare students to sit for certification exams and start their medical coding careers.
Online Schools offering Medical Coding, Medical Billing
| Ultimate Medical Academy Online
Complete in Just 10 Months
|DeVry University Online
U.S. & Canadian Applicants
DeVry University has been ranked among Best Online Bachelor Programs for 2013 by U.S. News & World Report. DeVry University offers students competitive tuition rates and numerous financial aid options, including $40 million in scholarships and grants for the 2012-2013 school year.
Qualify for AHIMA's RHIT Certification
Online or Campus Available
DeVry's CAHIIM accredited Health Information Technology program follows a curriculum based on current associate degree entry-level competencies outlined by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). This HIT program prepares graduates to work with applications systems and manage electronic health information databases. Students will have access to up-to-date coding and chart management lab software 24/7, and the opportunity for professional practice experience, including two practicum. Graduates of this CAHIIM accredited program will be prepared to take AHIMA's national RHIT certification exam.
This program is also available on-campus at the following locations: Pomona CA, Decatur GA, Chicago IL, North Brunswick NJ, Charlotte NC, Morrisville NC, Columbus OH, Seven Hills OH, Ft.Washington PA, Houston TX, Irving TX.CAHIIM Accredited
Qualify for AHIMA's RHIA Certification
Degree Completion Option Available*
Online or Campus Available
This CAHIIM accredited online degree program in Technical Management with a technical specialty in Health Information Management (HIM) provides the experience and knowledge students need to progress in their profession and take the RHIA certification exam. HIM students will learn about healthcare data security and privacy, health information systems, health information financial management, healthcare total quality management and more. Some of the positions available with a bachelor's degree include HIM Department Director, Health Information System Manager, Chief Privacy Officer, Clinical Data Specialist, Information Security Manager and Product Marketing Specialist. Graduates are eligible to sit for AHIMA's RHIA Certification exam.
* Save time and money with transfer credits. If you've already earned college credits or have graduated with an associate degree, DeVry University will work with you to apply qualifying transfer credits -- up to 92 credits hours -- towards your BS in HIM.
This program is also available on-campus in over 90 locations in the following States: AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, MD, MI, MN, MO, NV, NJ, NY, NC, OH, OK, OR, PA, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WI.
DeVry University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association, www.ncahlc.org. Keller Graduate School of Management is included in this accreditation. In New York, DeVry University operates as DeVry College of New York. DeVry University operates as DeVry Institute of Technology in Calgary, Alberta. DeVry is certified to operate by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. AC0060. DeVry University is authorized for operation by the THEC. www.state.tn.us/thec. Nashville Campus - 3343 Perimeter Hill Dr., Nashville, TN 37211 Program availability varies by location.
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