Medical coding is an important employment option nowadays because of internet connectivity. You must know about qualifications or credentials if you want a good career as a professional medical code. Two organizations were known for providing a certificate for medical coders: the AHIMA and the AAPC
AHIMA vs AAPC
The main difference between AAPC and AHIMA is that AHIMA provides certification that focuses on coding and record-handling staff workers in the hospital. On the other hand, AAPC provides certification and credentialing for a coder in the physician’s office, but it also gives credentials in hospital-based coding, medical auditing, etc.
AHIMA was established by the American College of Surgeons (earlier known as the Association of Record Librarians of North America) in 1928. The candidate who wants certified coding professional certification must have two years of experience in the field or a combination of certified coding association or another organization credentials with one year of experience in professional coding.
AAPC, or The American Association of Professional Coders, was established in 1988. The candidate who wants certified coding professional (CCP) credentials must have two years of experience in the field and recommend an associate degree in medical coding or health information management (but does not require it).
Comparison Table Between AHIMA vs AAPC
|Parameter of Comparison||AHIMA||AAPC|
|Certificates||AHIMA provides certification for focused on mastery of in and outpatient coding||AAPC certifies prospective model of coders for outpatient coding and certified coding professional credentials|
|Credentials||AHIMA offers candidates the CCS-P credentials for coders in physician offices and CCS for hospitals||AAPC offers to the candidate the CPC-H credentials for a coder in outpatient hospital coding and CIC for inpatient hospitals|
|Popularity||AHIMA is generally popular in inpatient (patient stay in hospital for long term care) settings||AAPC is generally popular in outpatient (patient stay in hospital less than 24hour) settings|
|Apprentice status||AHIMA does not offer apprentice status as part of its credentialing process||AAPC does offer apprentice status as part of its credentialing process|
|Pattern of exam||AHIMA exam consists of 97 MCQ (Multiple Choice type question) and 8 medical scenarios and the time period is 4 hours to complete the exam||AAPC exam consists of 150 MCQ (Multiple choice type question) and the time period is 5 hours and 40 minutes to complete the exam|
What is AHIMA?
AHIMA is also known as the American Health Information Management Association. It aims to improve patient care by establishing clear standard medical record keeping. AHIMA’s most popular credentials are CCS (Certified Coding Specialist). They generally provide certification and credentialing on coding and record management staff in hospitals and inpatient settings. Still, it widens its offerings by giving CCS-P credentials for coders in physicians.
Like AAPC, AHIMA does not offer apprentice status as part of the certification process. For AHIMA credentials and certification, you will sit for the 4-hour examination in two components. The first part of the examination was 97 multiple-choice questions you must attempt. The second part of the examination takes 3 hours to aim for actual medical file coding. AHIMA requires an annual membership payment of $165 to take a seat for the CCS-P exams.
What is AAPC?
AAPC is also known as The American Association of Professional Coders. AAPC offers dozens of different certificates in medical coding in different specialties and facilities. Generally, they provide certification and credentialing for a coder in physician’s offices. Still, it expands its scope of credentials in hospital-based coding, coding for payers, and other medical specialty fields.
For APPC credentials and certification, you will need provisional credentials and one year of medical coding experience to achieve complete CPC (certified coding professional) credentials. CPC certification is highly recommended for anyone who would like medical coding for a physician’s office. AAPC offers over 28 certifications in achieving high standards in the chosen career path of candidates, which will assist in their healthcare profession.
AAPC provides apprentice status to those without 2 years of coding experience. Till then, they will be designated as CPC-A (apprentice). AAPC requires an annual membership payment of $120 for taking a seat for the medical coding certificate examination. In the examination, there is 150 multiple-choice question, and the time required to complete the exam is five hours and 40 minutes.
Main Differences Between AHIMA and AAPC
- AHIMA’s certification is better suited for large organizations like hospitals and inpatient settings. In contrast, AAPC has a relevant certificate for auditing and management practice in a physician’s office.
- AHIMA gives a certificate focusing on mastery of in and outpatient coding, whereas AAPC gives credentials and certifications focusing on medical coders’ outpatient coding and CPC credentials.
- AHIMA does not offer apprentice status to their candidates, whereas AAPC provides apprentice status to those without the required 2 years of coding experience they got CPC-A (apprentice).
- AHIMA certificates require a bachelor’s degree or associate’s Degree with field experience of two years in medical coding. In contrast, AAPC has no formal requirement for its coder certification but must have field experience of two years in medical coding.
- In the AHIMA examination, the pattern of questions includes multiple-choice questions and medical scenarios with a time period of 200 minutes, whereas in the AAPC examination, only multiple-choice questions came with a time period of 340 minutes.
Both AHIMA (American Health Information Management Association) and AAPC (American Association of Professional Coders) give medical coding certificates, the most lucrative carrier nowadays. Earlier medical professionals had to keep records in written form through the introduction of technology like medical coding provides the easiest way to work.
AHIMA and AAPC allow a broad range of information, and it is well known that there are many opportunities for healthcare business employees. Taking a long-term career plan gives a good career path and direction with their certification and credentials in medical fields.
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