Pam is correct in that a coder's credentials should map directly to the setting or job the coder wants.
Too, there is some level of politics involved, but it's not just in favor of AHIMA. I once worked for an organization that recognized only AAPC credentials. Those with the RHIT or something else were expected to obtain their CPC within a specific time frame; in some cases, they probably were not hired to begin with.
As a former hiring manager, I embraced professional diversity. My hospital coding staff featured folks who were CPC, CPC-H, RHIT, CCA, CCS, RHIA. The group dynamic worked very well; but, of course, our coding inventory covered physician, outpatient and inpatient hospital coding. However, the assignments coders received were not necessarily tied to their level of credentials. For instance, a CCA became an auditor--based on years of strong experience in hospital inpatient. Similarly a CPC also gained an auditor job--based on years of experience in the payer and outpatient settings.
Too often hiring managers desire employees that hold credentials like their own. This does not always work out for the best--in fact, I'd say it limits the diversity of information in the unit. I've always found it easier to train a CPC-H on inpatient hospital than teach a CCS to level and E&M physician service.
As employees, we must take up the cause of educating on our credentials. We must also perform due diligence in selecting health care settings that align with our experiences, credentials or career goals. If you have a desire to obtain a hospital coding position, seek continuing education on that front, attain a credential from that area and that will likely get you over any obstacles you might face. Just remember that you will still be a CPC the whole time . . . and that shall serve you very well.
Best of luck to you!
Last edited by kevbshields; 12-14-2011 at 08:20 AM.
Kevin B. Shields, RHIT, CPCO, CCS, CPC, COC, CCS-P, CPC-P, CPC-I