Certified Professional Coder (CPC)For anyone who doesn’t know what CPC exam is, The term CPC stands for Certified Professional Coder. It is the exam conducted by the AAPC to check the individual coders in the field of medical coding by several medical auditings such as some test case questions and some general knowledge questions by which the individuals have to answer before the allotted time to get certified as the certified professional coder
About the examThe CPC examination is an open book exam comprised of 150 questions out of which 105 questions (70%) should be answered correctly to pass the test and the allotted time for this exam is 5 hours and 40 minutes. The CPC exam will test the coder thoroughly based on their coding process in the subject of evaluation and management, anatomy, and other 10 main categories. The questions for the exam are divided or identified by the topic they are related to The candidate should identify the answers for every question for several topics (like evaluation and management or radiology) as sections of CPT code manual. Others, like anatomy and physiology, are a part of the coder’s everyday skill set. During the exam, the coder will be presented with several test cases for the practice of coding these test case questions will be presented with the condensed medical report and asks for the correct set of codes from the answers below. They also ask questions related to general coding guidelines that have no attached test case for several topics. The coder has to rely on his knowledge of code sets, medical terminology and coding process to pass this test.
Why AAPC Approved?The word AAPC stands for American Association of Professional Coders is a professional association for people working in specific areas of administration within the healthcare business in the United States. There are several other certifying bodies for a medical coder such as AHIMA, HIMAA, etc. however the AAPC remains as the largest most influential platform for coders to get their CPC certificate.
Opportunities in CPCThe CPC is considered as the golden standards for medical coders for both physician and non-physician practitioners. The CPC is the first step into your successful career in the business side of healthcare. According to the U.S. Bureau of labour statistics, jobs for certified medical coder will increase by 22% in the year 2022. In 2018, a survey was conducted by AAPC on salary for certified coders in America and found that the average salary of a certified coder was 54,401$ per year. As this result is based on America you have to keep in mind that annual salaries varies based on location, years of experience, credentials held, the employer and other factors.
How to sign up for CPC?To register for CPC exams you need to register yourself in the official AAPC website. The cost of registering for the exams is 700$ (530$ for the exam and 170$ for the membership which should be renewed yearly). You will get two attempts to clear the exam the initial test and a reattempt. If you failed in the initial test you can reattempt the exam later for free. However, if you failed consecutively for more than 1 reattempt you have to pay another 490$ for the exam.
Objectives of CPC
- Expertise in reviewing and assigning accurate medical codes for diagnoses, procedures, and services performed by physicians and other qualified healthcare providers in the office or facility setting (eg, inpatient hospital)
- Proficiency across a wide range of services, including evaluation and management, anaesthesia, surgery, radiology, pathology, and medicine.
- A sound knowledge of medical coding guidelines and regulations including compliance and reimbursement – allowing a CPC to better handle issues such as medical necessity, claims denials, bundling issues, and charge capture
- Understanding of how to integrate medical coding and payment policy changes into a practice’s reimbursement processes Knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and medical terminology necessary to correctly code provider diagnosis and services