CCA, CCS and CCS-P Exam Eligibility Changes for 2013

CCA, CCS and CCS-P Exam Eligibility Changes for 2013

Some changes are on the horizon for people seeking medical coding certification through AHIMA. The Commission on Certification for Health Informatics and Information Management (CCHIIM) appointed a task force to review AHIMA’s current coding credentials. The goal was to develop strategies to ensure that these credentials are better positioned in lieu of an increasingly competitive landscape while still paving the way towards third-party accreditation.

As a result, starting in 2013, the Certified Coding Associate (CCA), Certified Coding Specialist (CCS), and Certified Coding Specialist–Physician-based (CCS-P) exams will undergo some changes.

These changes include a revised question format that better reflects the practical application of selecting and applying codes; it provides a more accurate measure of a candidate’s knowledge and skills.

Now, while some of the item types may have changed, the content remains the same.  The exams will continue to test the same skills and knowledge that the previous ones did.

CCS, CCA and CCS-P Exam Format and Use Changes

As an improvement to the overall CCS candidate experience, casebooks have been replaced with electronic cases. This means that the medical record cases will be displayed on the screen. However, candidates may still use code books for their CCS and CCS-P exams.

Additionally, there are no longer two parts to the exam. It is now one continuous test with no breaks. The exam will be given in sections: multiple choice; multiple select; and quantity fill in the blanks (assignment of codes).

Each section will have instruction on how to answer the questions. Candidates are required to monitor their own time.

CCS, CCS-P and CCA Exam Scoring

Multiple choice: These are worth one point per correct answer. One best answer item format requires the test taker to select the single best response from four options.

Multiple select: These are worth one point per correct answer. More than one answer will be required by the test taker (i.e., select two correct answers out of the four presented).

Quantity fill-in-the-blank items: These are worth one point per correctly-assigned code and are used for medical record cases. More than one answer will be required by the test taker.  Candidates will receive the exact amount of boxes that they will need to provide diagnosis and procedure codes for.

Again, while the items types are different, the level of difficulty remains the same.

Expanding Eligibility Requirements

CCA, CCS and CCS-P Exam Eligibility Changes for 2013CCHIIM also worked to expand eligibility requirements. So, these will be changing in January 2013 as well. They are as follows:

Required (candidates must meet one of the following eligibility requirements):

Credential: RHIA, RHIT, or CCS/CCS-P


Education: Completion of a coding training program that includes anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, pharmacology, medical terminology, reimbursement methodology, intermediate/advanced ICD diagnostic/procedural and CPT® coding


Experience: Minimum of two years of related coding experience directly applying codes


Credential with experience: CCA plus one year of coding experience directly applying codes


Other: Coding credential from other certifying organization, plus one year coding experience directly applying codes.

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