Coding specialists review patient records to assign specific codes for medical services, and the codes are used for billing purposes. There are many programs in this field available at the undergraduate certificate level. Classes will provide informational lectures and practical skills training in this field.
After completing training programs, students can become certified coding specialists by taking exams and meeting other requirements of organizations that provide certification, such as the American Health Information Management Association. Certification is not required for employment, but some employers may prefer certified applicants.
Students in coding specialist courses can expect to learn about the following:
- Medical terminology
- Anatomy and physiology
- Medical billing procedures
- Legal concerns in the healthcare industry
List of Classes
Coding I Class
This class concentrates on coding for medical procedures, including examinations and diagnostic tests. Course materials focus on current procedural terminology (CPT) practices used by hospitals and physician's offices. Students learn theories of information classification and medical coding. Assignments familiarize students with current terminology and techniques for data abstracting.
Intermediate Coding Class
Students discuss the methodology behind the ICD-9-CM and HCPCS level II classification systems and ways to fully utilize their features. Assignments allow students to practice coding diagnosis and procedure records with the ICD-9-CM system. They will also code outpatient services using the HCPCS level II method. Topics include diagnostic related groups (DRGs) and the relationship between DRGs and coding.
Coding Practicum Class
Through this practicum, students improve their coding and data abstraction skills. They work in health care office settings under the supervision of experienced coders, applying their classroom learning to professional practice experience situations. They code patient records according to the CPT, HCPCS level II and ICD-9-CM systems. Additional assignments include abstracting patient records.
Insurance and Reimbursement Class
Students acquire knowledge of the rules and procedures for insurance reimbursement. Course materials present sample cases and students discuss these examples for proper coding and billing procedures. Topics include identifying medical fraud, commonly used insurance forms and codes for procedures, services and diagnoses.
Health Information Management Class
This class examines data collection, storage and maintenance in the medical industry. Students become familiar with information sources, including health records, vital records and tumor registries. They discuss methods for storing, retrieving and transmitting information. Topics also include medical record regulations, quality assurance and authorized access.