I hate talking out of both sides of my mouth, so let me apologize. Perhaps I should begin by saying, I understand the justification for testing, but do not support its present form.
To add to what others have seen, there are certified coders who have pigeon-holed themselves into a specific setting, for example Urology. That was their only job duty and probably the focus of their continuing education efforts. Other skills, outside that specialty, may have been neglected and resultantly, the coder is no longer proficient in those other areas. This is a simple example. Another I can think of is a coder who got certified, but has no practical experience and applies for a high-level coding job--the exam may be completely out of reach because this type of coder has not developed the professional skill set to be employed in that setting.
Another problem I see is that coders certified in one area believe their credentials to be universal. This is where you'll see CPC-Hs applying for physician office jobs. When the credential does not match the setting, coders are asking to be tested or screened. There are very few certifications that allow you to work in any setting (I can think of two). Regardless, I do not believe credentials are indicators of a coder's capability--let me be clear. Professional diversity is badly needed in HIM hospital departments, especially in outpatient coding (but that is another story for another post).
With all that being said, the industry has gone crazy with "screening tests". These tools will be outdated; the answers are sometimes viewed as absolute, when we all know coding can at times be highly subjective. Employers will allow recruiters and people without any sense of coding administer these tests and then never follow-up with the test taker. In my opinion, employers should want to attract coders to their organization, not run them off and create a sense of exclusivity. However, I am obviously not hiring at these places.
If I were to create some sort of screening test for potential workers, it would help to cull out those who are not qualified for that type of coding; but I would be more impressed by a coder who challenged the test than ones who guessed their way through or even got a very high or perfect score. It's a shame that we've created both of these HR issues. It's also up to us (professional coders) to fix them.
Kevin B. Shields, RHIT, CPCO, CCS, CPC, COC, CCS-P, CPC-P, CPC-I