A Certified Coding Specialist-Physician-Based or CCS-P describes a medical coding practitioner certified by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). These individuals are specialized in physician-based settings such as offices, practices, clinics, or specialized medical settings. They are responsible for reviewing patient's records and also assigning numeric codes for each diagnosis and procedure. Coding practitioners have an in-depth knowledge of the CPT coding system and are experts in health information, documentation, integrity, and quality. Since the coded data from patient's is submitted to insurance companies for reimbursement, coding specialists play a critical role in the healthcare field. There are many certifications available such as the AAPC CPC, but many coding specialists are also CCS-P certified.
By becoming certified, the employment for these coding specialists is highly favorable. Health professionals who perform coding in a healthcare setting should consider obtaining this certification in order to testify to their abilities. This certification exam assesses a mastery-level proficiency rather than an entry-level skill.
There are several eligibility requirements that must be passed in order to take the exam. Any candidate for the exam must have a high school diploma from a school in the United States or have achieved an equivocal education. There is also a list of requirements and candidates must meet one of the eligibility requirements on the list in order to take the exam. They must have completed a coding training program, have had two years of experience, are credentialed, or be credentialed and have one year of coding experience. These are the basic requirements and it is unlikely that a candidate who is not eligible to take the exam would be unable to pass it.
While these are not requirements, there are some training and recommendations for exam candidates. They are recommended to have six months of coding experience where they have directly applied codes. It is also recommended that individuals have completed an AHIMA approved coding program or that the individual has completed another coding training program that covered similar material.
The AHIMA CCS-P exam is a fairly basic test. For members of AHIMA, it costs $299, and for non-members, the cost is $399. The test has a multiple choice section with 88 single response items. It also contains a multiple select section of 8 questions. This is followed by a fill in the blank section of 13 medical record cases. This section of the test requires examinees to perform diagnostic and procedural coding. The time limit for the test is four hours without any breaks.
After testing, immediate scoring is available if enough candidates have taken the exam. The passing score will vary slightly and the Angoff procedure is used to set the minimum passing score. The passing scores are published after enough candidates have taken the exam.
After completing the application materials, all candidates will receive a document saying that they are authorized to test, or ATT. After receiving the letter, the candidate has four months to take the exam and will have to reapply if they do not complete the testing within that window. If the candidate does not pass the exam, they must wait 91 days before being eligible to take the exam again. These are the basic requirements and specifications for the CCP-S exam.