Indeed, the prior Kevin's comments on the CCS are very accurate. The CCS isn't really comparable to much of anything. I've known folks with RHIAs, RHITs and also substantial hospital experience (well beyond what's recommended) who could not and have not mastered/passed that exam.
All that being said, I'm living proof that it's possible, although a very serious conviction.
I also happen to know an individual who took her CCS without ever having sat for another coding exam and did very well. I suppose the important thing is to understand the requirement(s) in terms of time, effort and knowledge.
If you go the AHIMA website Kevin84 mentioned, look around for the "sample test". Print it off, hide the answers from yourself and give it a go. Although not completely reflective of the exam, the sample is a very good indicator of the skill level required to pass.
Good luck to you.
With any of the study guides mentioned and those that are not, please understand you must take the answer keys with a grain of salt; in every study guide I've seen/used, there were professional fee coding questions, incorrect ICD-9 Dx codes assigned, violations of both AMA & AHA guidelines, as well as those of CPT-4.
Just a word of caution, because that (in my opinion) was the most frustrating aspect of preparing for the exam: unreliable study guides.
My humble opinion . . .
I wonder if the 2008 CPC exam is now similar to the CCS-P in some respects. Some of the posts I've read seemed to indicate that there were multiple codes to be chosen for each question. Did I misread those posts?
I'm not sure of the Advance for HIP column you are referencing?? Could you please explain further?Because the CCS-P is a different format than the CPC, be comfortable with that format beforehand. Personally, I didn't find it that difficult--although I've had people with substantial more coding experience than I say they found it frustrating and uncertain. As an aside, those people passed also.
The difference between CCS-P and CPC isn't just the organizations that grant them. Coders who rely on superbills or charge slips for their duties are probably not going to perform as well on CCS-P as those who abstract straight from the record. Also, because the E/M is scored for you, auditors aren't necessarily going to be at any advantage.
Try out the column that runs in Advance for HIP and just build confidence and comfort. You might also try locating someone locally that's taken the exam more recently than I and could provide pointers on what resources to use in preparing.