Wiki Difference between CCS and CPC certification

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Difference between CCS and CPC certification

It depends on where and how you want to code. The CCS and CPC credentials are similar and complementary, and many coders have both. The CCS certification was developed by AHIMA, which has long served the facility in-patient community. This means the curriculum and exam are more attuned to diagnostic coding, although it handily addresses procedural coding. The CPC certification was developed by AAPC, which grew to serve the needs of providers outside of facilities. The CPC curriculum and examination reflect AAPC members’ roles, but fully addresses diagnostic coding.

By virtue of AAPC’s larger membership (167,000 as of this writing compared to AHIMA’s 100,000 plus) there are more CPCs in the field than CCSs. Facility HIM managers, many of whom graduated from AHIMA-affiliated colleges, tend to hire coders with CCS coding experience, but they also hire those with CPCs. Outpatient providers tend to hire coders with CPC credentials, but will hire CCS-credentialed coders. Many employers require both.
Much of what you learn to pass the CCS exam can be applied to the CPC exam and vice versa.
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Hi,

I am just a rookie coder. I just finished a 5 month coding course which was full time. I had been doing medical billing for 9 years and decided to start preparing for my CCS or CPC exam. I've spoken with people online who are either studying for or have the CCS certification. I get the feeling that they think they have something better with a CCS. Anyone know the difference?

I have books to practice my coding that have the answers to check my work. Case studies seem to be a problem for me. I know there must be books that have the answers to case studies but can't find any online. Can anyone help me with this.

Thanks
JoAnne::D :D
 
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For E/M coding

For E/M coding practice try emuniversity.com There's a subscription service, but there is also a free portion. The "case of the week" allows you to practice E/M coding and once you "vote" on the answer you can get access to the correct answer - including explanation of how they arrived at each key element.

F Tessa Bartels, CPC, CPC-E/M
 

ciphermed

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Hello JoAnne,
The CPC is certification for physician coding (AAPC)
The CCS is certification for facility / hospital coding (AHIMA)

I have both the CPC and the CCS. Both exams are appropriately challenging; the CCS does entail more ICD-9 principles and guidelines whereas the CPC is heavily based and focused on CPT coding principles and guidelines.

I value both credentials, however somewhat partial to my CPC. CPT coding rocks!!!

I also find that the AAPC puts more behind maintaining the credential through c.e.u. requirements rather than a single annual assessment for all coders.

A recent article was published on the home page of the AAPC's website explaining the difference between the CPC & CCS.
 

tincyr

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Hi Joanne - Ciphermed is not quite correct in stating that CPC is for physician coding and CCS is for facility. CPCs also code for Ambulatory Surgery Centers and CPC coders who have taken the CPC-H also do outpatient coding. CCS and RHIT coders mainly do inpatient coding which entails a lot of extraction of codes from inpatient charts or chart auditing. I work for a company that owns and operates ASCs and code only op notes for six different centers. Hope this helps.
 

janetmoh

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I urge everyone to look at the many comments posted about the inaccuracies of this paper
 

mmorningstarcpc

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Joanne,

You have an idea now about the differences. The next questions are what kind of codoing do you do, in-patient or physician/out-paitent; and what are you looking to do. That should lead you to which credential you may want to pursue.

Good luck!

Machelle
CPC, CPC-H, CPC-E/M

PS, I am in the beginning of thinking of doing the CCS as I am a consultant and work with a lot of hospitals. Like I said, just the beginning thoughts, I need to see if it would have value for me, etc.
 

msbrowning

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I am really considering taking the CCS exam sometime soon. The only thing is I do not want to get all these certifications and have to pay expensive membership fees and CEU maintenance. I am currently enrolled in a dental coding course to become a certified dental coder, I am taking the chart auditing exam in February, considering taking the CCS, once I finish college (Bachelor of Science in Heath Information Administration) I will sit for the RHIA exam, I am a CPC and a CPC-P.

That's four different organizations that I will have to pay into in order to keep my credentials. I guess I will just have to see which one(s) is/are more lucrative and let the less lucrative one(s) go, I don't know yet, time will tell...With all the talks of outsourcing, computerized coding and companies not recognizing or accepting the CPC, it makes me wonder if I need to change my line of work.

Does anyone out there in the coding world have any advice/suggestions? I would love to hear everyone's opinion.
 

kevbshields

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Like some others have mentioned, it's very much about what steps you want make in your career. It's wise to know which organizations and settings desire which credentials. Although I recognize that CPCs and CCSs work outside their "certification setting," getting those opportunities is not always easy.

I wish you the best of luck. Whichever decision you make, always know that you can gain additional credentials as your career progresses.
 

Alta

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Books with answers

Hi Joanne,

The absolute best book for me when I was studying was Clinical Coding Workout from AHIMA. It has both Inpatient and Outpatient case studies, and advanced case studies. All the answers with explanation of why it is right and why it is wrong are in the back. It gets you used to studying the guidelines as you go. It also has physician based cases and ambulatory cases. Everything. Hope this helps! OH, make sure you order the one that says "with answers."
 

mteaford

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Mary Teaford CPC,LPN

I have my CPC and cannot find a job. I worked 15 years at a company coding ER charts. I couldn't keep up with the outsourced coders from India. They wanted me to code 230 charts/day. Couldn't do it, so I was terminated. Most of he jobs out there want you to have a CCS @ least. I'm studying for this test...harder than the CPC....Mary
 

cingram

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the CCS is harder. The CPC is multiple choice while the Coding portion of the CCS is fill in the blank. Very few hospitals will take the CPC lots of them wont even take the CPC-H. But dont let that stop you. I finally landed a job in a hospital with a CPC after looking for over 2 years.
 

christina78239

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I am studying now for the CPC exam, I am a RN BSN LNC, I am confused when you say "With all the talks of outsourcing, computerized coding and companies not recognizing or accepting the CPC," what are you talking about? I dont want to waste money on a exam and my time if its not going to produce a job in the end. I am still paying for student loans from school. I dont have a desire to work in any hospital or nursing home setting. yuk! changing careers. I love medical review, coding, and nurse paralegal, but all jobs are not coming up. So, what are you saying? Companies not using CPC anymore? want the scoop. :)
 
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Christina,
I can't offer any guidance regarding your main question, but I can tell you that I see alot of jobs out there for Nurse Auditors for insurance companies. Many of them are remote positions. The ones I've seen want an RN, preferably BSN, and some type of coding credential.
 

jvilla

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Regarding the CCS...

I find the statement of "CPC and CCS going together... vice versa..." a little misleading.

The CCS is much more rigorous of an examination, and will test you on everything from APCs/DRGs, CDI, CPT, ICD-10CM/PCS, UHDDS, Physician Queries, Databases/Registries (most of these are not addressed in the CPC).

Anyone who is CCS certified can handily pass a CPC, however that is not so true the other way around.

So naturally, having to demonstrate a mastery in understanding in: disease processes, medical terminology, all modes of coding, and pharmacology, there are going to be less CCS certified individuals.

The CPC is a rigorous exam as well, don't get me wrong, but it doesn't even begin to touch the nature of the material the CCS demands.

Also there is the way you are tested that is arduous: after your done with your regular multiple choice portion, your are given clinical scenarios, which are also multiple choice, but leave you with the room to over/under/misreport code.

The complementary examination to the CCS would be the CCS-P, which is also offered by AHIMA. (I have not tested for this exam, but am highly considering letting my CPC go to obtain this certification)
 

hperry10

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I find the statement of "CPC and CCS going together... vice versa..." a little misleading.

The CCS is much more rigorous of an examination, and will test you on everything from APCs/DRGs, CDI, CPT, ICD-10CM/PCS, UHDDS, Physician Queries, Databases/Registries (most of these are not addressed in the CPC).

Anyone who is CCS certified can handily pass a CPC, however that is not so true the other way around.

So naturally, having to demonstrate a mastery in understanding in: disease processes, medical terminology, all modes of coding, and pharmacology, there are going to be less CCS certified individuals.

The CPC is a rigorous exam as well, don't get me wrong, but it doesn't even begin to touch the nature of the material the CCS demands.

Also there is the way you are tested that is arduous: after your done with your regular multiple choice portion, your are given clinical scenarios, which are also multiple choice, but leave you with the room to over/under/misreport code.

The complementary examination to the CCS would be the CCS-P, which is also offered by AHIMA. (I have not tested for this exam, but am highly considering letting my CPC go to obtain this certification)
Jacob, I am considering obtaining the CCS certification but I have not been able to find an online training program for the CCS. Do you have any suggestions?

Heather CPC
 
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