AAPC and AHIMA are certifications for medical coders.
What is medical coding?
Medical coding is the transformation of health care diagnosis, procedures, medical services, and equipment into universal medical alphanumeric codes. The need for coding arises because the medical diagnosis and procedures are complex to understand for a non-medical professional so by converting them into standard universal medical alphanumeric codes it becomes easier for professionals like insurers to understand and provide appropriate compensation. The other purpose of coding is to transform the data form suitable for computer-aided analysis. There is a huge demand for medical coders in the healthcare industry. The salaries offered to these coders are also highly remunerative. In this scenario, many certifications have come up which certify the coders who would like to make it a profession. Famous among them are AHIMA and APPC certifications.
Differences between AAPC CPC and AHIMA CCS/CCA Exam
Medical coding can be categorized into facility coding and professional coding.
AAPC stands for American Academy of Professional Coders. The aim of AAPC is to provide education and certification to coders working in physician-based settings. AAPC CPC certification is more suitable for professional coding. Professional coding is the type of coding carried out an outpatient as part of outpatient services. Some of these outpatient services require professional coding that includes emergency medicine, surgery centers, private practices etc. Professional coders are known to work mainly in the doctor’s office.
AHIMA stands for the American Health Information Management Association. AHIMA’s stated mission is to be the professional community that improves healthcare by advancing best practices and standards for health information management and become a trusted source for education for education, research and professionals credentials. AHIMA CCS certification is more suitable for facility coding. Facility coding has to do with the type of coding carried out on inpatient services. Facility coders are known to work mainly in hospitals.
Another important factor is the certification exams. For both the AAPC AND AHIMA, you’ll need to sit for and pass a very lengthy exam as a necessary requirement. The standard in medical coding is high and there is a huge demand for qualified and proficient coders.
The CCS and CCS-P exams are not considered entry-level exams. They are ‘fill- in- the- blank’ questions which are very difficult to clear, which is why they are only recommended for coders who have a few years of on- the job experience.Most of the graduates take the CPC exam because the exam includes a free retake.Typically entry-level coders begin as out-patient coders. Many times outpatient coders move into inpatient coding once they get more onsite experience because inpatient coding is generally considered a more advanced and experienced level of coding.
For this reason, a CPC credential or a CCA credential will both put you in the right position to be certified as an outpatient coder first with the potential to move into inpatient coding later as you gain more experience and additional credentials.
We hope you found his article beneficial and have made a choice about your certification exam.