The inpatient medical coding credential, Certified Inpatient Coder (CIC), is the only certification exclusively specialized in hospital and facility inpatient coding. The CIC validates mastery in abstracting information from the medical record for ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS coding. It also represents expert knowledge of Medicare Severity Diagnosis Related Groups (MS-DRGs) and the Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS).
Passing the CIC exam qualifies you to work in the rapidly changing medical coding and billing environment of hospital inpatient facilities. Students who earn their CIC credential go on to report services provided to patients requiring inpatient admission in settings that include general hospitals (acute care facilities), skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), critical access hospitals (CAHs), teaching hospitals, inpatient rehab facilities (IRF), and long-term care hospitals (LTCHs).
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Inpatient coding differs from physician-based coding in that it focuses on services provided by the facility, rather than on services provided by the physician. CICs use ICD-10-CM codes to report inpatient diagnoses but follow coding guidelines that differ from outpatient guidelines. CICs also assign patients to one of several hundred MS-DRGs, which factors into reimbursement for patients covered by this system. The national average salary for CIC professionals is $57,936 annually, with an approximately 7% yearly increase.
The CIC examination consists of questions regarding the correct application of ICD-10-PCS procedure codes and ICD-10-CM diagnosis codes used for coding and billing inpatient facility/hospital services to insurance companies.
Any officially published errata for the above code books may also be referenced during the CIC exam. No other manuals are allowed.
Confirm reference materials allowed during the CIC certification exam prior to test day.
CIC exam bundle includes the ICD-10-CM Expert and ICD-10-PCS Expert medical coding books, making it optimal for clinical coders specializing in inpatient coding.
Electronic devices with an on/off switch (cell phones, smart phones, tablets, etc.) are not allowed into the examination room. Failure to comply with this policy may result in disqualification of your exam.
Please be aware that this is a difficult, high-level exam and not intended for individuals lacking CIC certification training or equivalent inpatient coding experience.
With training and/or experience, you should possess the required understanding of inpatient coding and reimbursement fundamentals, as well as anatomy and medical terminology, to answer exam question through careful reasoning, recall, and reference of ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS code books.
If you haven’t become an AAPC member, you must do so prior to scheduling your CIC exam. Renewing AAPC members are also required to have a current membership to sit for the CIC certification exam.
An overall score of 70% or higher is required to pass the certification exam.
All AAPC certification exams exclusively measure proficiencies relating to the one credential named in the exam. To earn additional medical coding credentials will require you to pass additional certification exams.
CEU Requirement: Certified coders are required to complete 36 Continuing Education Units (CEU's) every two years. For CEU requirements please see our CEU Information page.
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