What is a CCS-P?
Certified Coding Specialist - Physician-based (CCS-P)
The CCS-P is a coding practitioner with expertise in physician-based settings such as physician offices, group practices, multi-specialty clinics, or specialty centers. This coding practitioner reviews patients' records and assigns numeric codes for each diagnosis and procedure. To perform this task, the individual must possess in-depth knowledge of the CPT coding system and familiarity with the ICD-9-CM and HCPCS Level II coding systems. The CCS-P is also expert in health information documentation, data integrity, and quality. Because patients' coded data is submitted to insurance companies or the government for expense reimbursement, the CCS-P plays a critical role in the health provider's business operation. What's more, the employment outlook for this coding specialty looks highly favorable with the growth of managed care and the movement of health services delivery beyond the hospital.
The CCS-P certification exam assesses mastery or proficiency in coding rather than entry-level skills. If you perform coding in a doctor's office, clinic, or similar setting, you should consider obtaining the CCS-P certification to attest your ability.
What do the exams cover? How are they designed?
The content of each years exam is based on a job analysis study, and is later reviewed by coding experts and analyzed for reliability by a professional testing agency. In general, the exams closely reflect the type of work and decision making an experienced coder encounters in the workplace. In addition to coding ability, the exams measure skills in data identification, application of coding regulatory guidelines, and maintenance of data quality.
Each test lasts six hours and has two parts: Part I consists of 60 multiple-choice questions; Part II covers 16 medical record cases. You will need coding manuals for Part II, but you may not use them in Part I.
Who administers the exams?
AHIMA employs a professional testing agency to administer the exams. This protects exam security and supports unbiased administration.
How are the exams scored?
AHIMA testing agency uses computerized scoring to ensure fairness to all candidates. Since the exams vary from year to year to year, the difficulty of the exams may fluctuate. To level the playing field for all candidates, the testing agency uses a statistical equating process to determine the passing exam scores for a given year.
How long has AHIMA offered the CCS-P credential?
AHIMA has offered the CCS-P since 1997. The exams are backed by the Associations 70-year history in certifying HIM professionals. AHIMAs extensive coding leadership is also relevant. Case in point: AHIMA is one of four members of the coding Cooperating Parties, which includes the National Center for Health Statistics, the Healthcare Financing Administration, and the American Hospital Association. The Cooperating Parties are responsible for developing, maintaining, and training for ICD-9-CM. Likewise, AHIMA actively collaborates with the American Medical Association on a variety of CPT workgroups and taskforces.