Excellent guide to clear a Certified Coding Specialist or CCS Exam
AHIMA conducts CCS (Certified Coding Specialist) exam to test the skills of professional coders in the field of inpatient and outpatient coding. This exam is very difficult to clear even for experienced medical coders. CCS exam can be cleared only if you are prepared 100% and know everything about this exam. To clear an exam, first we have to know the question paper of that exam. For CPC exam, we know it is a multiple choice question paper, hence you don’t have to look beyond the given 4 options. But, CCS has multiple choice questions and subjective questions (medical scenarios) as well. So, to clear CCS exam you need to have a very good experience in coding both inpatient and outpatient facilities.
Background of CCS exam
As we know the CCS exam is conducted by AHIMA. Since, the coding accuracy should be very high in healthcare organization, the certification becomes mandatory in the healthcare industry. Hence, a coder carrying a CCS certification, shows the data quality and integrity skills of a coding practitioner. This exam tests the medical coders proficiency in coding ICD 10/PCS and CPT codes. A CCS certified coder should be having good knowledge about the medical terminology, diseases and drugs. When a CCS certified medical coder provides the coded data to insurance (payer)companies or the government like Medicare and Medicaid recipients, then only the doctors(provider) or physicians get paid for their services from payers. CCS exam really assess the mastery proficiency of the medical coders, hence an entry level coder should always think twice before applying for this exam.
Read also: How to clear CPC exam in First attempt
Specifications of CCS exam
The CCS exam has been divided in two parts. The first part consists of the Theory and the second part consist of the Application. Below are details of the Theory and Application.
Theory: 97 Multiple choice questions (MCQ)
Application: 8 medical Scenarios
Exam time: 4 hours
Attempt: only one
Now, as you can see as per the information above, the exam has both objective (MCQ) and subjective questions. Also, the time for CCS exam has been only 4 hours. So, now you will understand why medical coders don’t go for this exam. Hence, it is highly recommended to utilize your time during the exam wisely. You can follow the coding guidelines given in ICD 10 CM, ICD 10 PCS, UHDDS and CPT codebook. Also, if you are having links for Coding clinic and CPT assistant, you can get more information from here as well.
Read also: Time management tips for CPC exam
Books required during CCS exam
Only original and updated codebooks are allowed during CCS exam. If you getting a photocopy or a Xerox version of codebooks, then you will not be allowed to sit for CCS exam. Also, do remember only AMA (American Medical Association) code books are permitted during CCS exam. To know more about the allowable book, you can just visit the AHIMA website, www.ahima.org. Do remember to manipulate your codebooks before going for CCS exam. Here, I mean to say that, highlight the portion which are important, like the notes section below CPT codes, coding guidelines in ICD 10 for pregnancy, HIV, sepsis which have multiple ICD 10 codes, Do Not code section below CPT codes etc. This way you can save a lot of time during CCS exam and it will help you to find required information fast.
Hope, you would have got lot of information about this exam. If you having a healthy experience in inpatient and outpatient coding, do try to give CCS exam once. Carrying a CCS certification will surely boost your medical coding career.