Frequently Asked Questions
What does a coding specialist do?
A Coding Specialist/Coder is an individual who reviews and analyzes health records to identify the diagnoses and procedures for each time a patient seeks healthcare advice. The Coding Specialist is responsible for translating diagnostic and procedural medical terminology phrases into coded form.
Is coding essential to healthcare?
Yes, there are many demands for accurately coded data from the health/medical record. The coding of health-related data is utilized for reimbursement purposes, in the assessment of clinical care, to support medical research activity and to support the identification of healthcare concerns critical to each person. Healthcare facilities rely on coded data for quality management activities, planning, marketing and other administrative and research activities.
How many coding systems are used in the United States?
There are two coding systems most commonly used today. They are the ICD-9-CM and CPT. ICD-9-CM is a medical classification system used to describe diagnoses and operative procedures. In hospitals the ICD-9-CM system is a critical factor in the reimbursement for healthcare. The CPT system is used to describe services provided by physicians, including medical and surgical procedures. Also, CPT is used for services provided by hospital outpatient and ancillary departments, hospital emergency departments and other ambulatory care facilities.
What characteristics do I need to become a Coding Specialist?
You must like to understand anatomy and physiology of the human body and disease processes in order to read the health record of patients. The Coding Specialist likes to understand the symptoms, signs, diagnostic studies, treatment plans and prognosis of diseases and operations pertaining to patients. The Coding Specialist likes to read patient charts because it is like a puzzle: what are the symptoms, what treatment is planned, what is the final diagnosis for this patient?
Where do Coding Specialists work?
Coding Specialists work in hospital departments such as health information services (medical records), quality management, professional fee services, radiology, emergency room, outpatient/ambulatory surgery, ancillary services and specialty physician clinics. Insurance companies and government agencies employ the Coding Specialist and other facilities involved with various aspects of the reimbursement process of health claims.
Where can I learn how to become a Coding Specialist?
The Coding Specialist Program is offered at Schoolcraft College - Radcliff, located in Garden City. The certificate program includes a total of 32 credits. The program can be completed on a full-or part-time basis.
Is the Coding professional certified?
The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) offers an entry-level certification, the Certified Coding Associate (CCA). It is strongly recommended that candidates have at least six months experience in a healthcare organization applying ICD-9-CM and CPT coding conventions and guidelines. There is also a Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) examination for individuals with three or more years of coding experience. To obtain information about the exam, visit http://www.ahima.org/certification.
As a Coder, can I work from home?
Presently, the majority of coders are employed on site at a healthcare facility. However, one of the newest trends is the practice of allowing coders to work from home. Coders working from home use personal computers with modems to access the healthcare facility’s documentation. The Coders review the health record online and provide the needed codes.
How much money will I earn as a Coding Specialist?
According to a recent survey, the average annual salary for the entry-level Coder is between $30,000-$40,000.
How do I enroll in the Coding Specialist program?
Contact the Admissions & Enrollment Center to start the admission process to Schoolcraft College. A student can develop a schedule to complete the program on a part-time basis. It is recommended to read the catalog to determine prerequisites and to make an appointment with counseling prior to registering for classes.
- American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)
Coding Specialist Program OfficeRadcliff Center, room RC475
Department Head: Patricia A. Rubio, RHIA
Secretary: Theresa Krawczyk
Telephone: (734) 462-4400 ext. 6007
Fax: (734) 462-4775
Monday - Thursday, 9am - 4pm