simple answer is that to remain compliant with the Federal Government and
competitive in the US healthcare industry, you must be certified in coding and medical
chart review. Whether you work for a
hospital, a health insurer, a government agency, or a Recovery Audit Contractor
– you must be certified according to the various compliance programs published
by the Office of the Inspector General, Department of Health and Human
Services. (see links below).
bar has been raised in the US healthcare industry by required HIPAA standards –
and with the advent of ICD-10-CM, the bar will be raised even higher. Why?
How? Because in order to
implement such a substantially larger, more clinically sophisticated system of
diagnosis coding for tracking morbidity and mortality, the industry will
require the services of specially-trained, Certified RN-Coders to train,
supervise and monitor non-clinical personnel in compliant and correct ICD-10
coding of inpatient services and procedures, and inpatient/outpatient
groups, hospitals, insurers, government agencies are all gearing up to hire the
most skilled and knowledgeable individuals available – and with the NEW ICD10 coding
system – everyone is learning. Thus
requirements like “5 years coding experience” will be irrelevant.
certifications from AACCA offer potential employers another screening tool
which have the backing of the only credentialing organization specially created
and managed by clinical personnel. The
American Association of Clinical Coders and Auditors is the ONLY organization
in the United States testing and certifying nurses, physicians, physical
therapists, paramedics, etc. in compliant coding and conducting chart reviews –
and the ONLY organization which has always provided computer-based testing with
immediate test results.
was founded in 2003 by the Founding Board of Directors, Masters-prepared
Registered Nurses who wrote the initial bank of multiple-choice exam
questions. This unique group came
together spontaneously to provide the nation’s only program to systematically
test and certify clinical personnel in coding under federal compliance programs.
AACCA Test Validity
instructors dislike preparing and grading exams, and most students dread taking
them. Yet tests are powerful educational tools that serve at least four functions.
First, tests help evaluate candidates and assess whether they are learning what
they are expected to learn. Second, well-designed tests serve to motivate and
help candidates structure their academic efforts. Crooks (1988), McKeachie
(1986), and Wergin (1988) report that students study in ways that reflect how
they think they will be tested. If they expect an exam focused on facts, they
will memorize details; if they expect a test that will require problem solving
or integrating knowledge, they will work toward understanding and applying
information. Third, tests can help instructors understand how successfully we
are presenting the material. Finally, tests can reinforce learning by providing
students with indicators of what topics or skills they have not yet mastered
and should concentrate on.
examination is the most comprehensive form of testing, typically given at the
end of the term as a final. A
certification examination, while not as extensive as a licensing examination,
demonstrates a candidate’s ability to comprehend, interpret and implement a
particular strategy of requirements.
A test is valid if its results are appropriate and useful for making decisions
about an aspect of students' achievement (Gronlund and Linn, 1990).
Technically, validity refers to the appropriateness of the interpretation of
the results and not to the test itself, though colloquially we speak about a
test being valid. Validity is a matter of degree and considered in relation to
specific use or interpretation (Gronlund and Linn, 1990). For example, the
results of a writing test may have a high degree of validity for indicating the
level of a student's composition skills, a moderate degree of validity for
predicting success in later composition courses, and essentially no validity
for predicting success in mathematics or physics. Validity can be difficult to
determine. A practical approach is to focus on content validity, the extent to which the content of
the test represents an adequate sampling of the knowledge and skills taught in
the course. If the test is designed to cover information in lectures and
readings in proportion to their importance in the course, then the
interpretations of test scores are likely to have greater validity An exam that
consists of only a few difficult items, however, will not yield valid
interpretations of what students know.
test is reliable if it accurately and consistently
evaluates a candidate's performance. The purest measure of reliability would
entail having a group of students take the same test twice and get the same scores
(assuming that we could erase their memories of test items from the first
administration). This is impractical, of course, but there are technical
procedures for determining reliability. In general, ambiguous questions,
unclear directions, and vague scoring criteria threaten reliability. Very short
tests are also unlikely to be highly reliable. It is also important for a test
to be balanced: to cover most of the main ideas and important concepts in
proportion to the emphasis they received in class.
Multiple-choice tests. Multiple-choice items can be used to measure both simple knowledge and complex concepts. Since multiple-choice questions can be answered quickly, a candidate’s mastery of many topics can be assessed quickly and easily. In addition, the items can be easily and reliably scored.
professions have specialized skills. Isn’t
that why you became a Registered Nurse or a Medical Doctor? Those licensed mean that you have
demonstrated clinical competency in a variety of areas. Coding of medical documentation is not
usually included in a clinical skill set, so you need a credential which
demonstrates your basic ability to reliably read a patient’s chart, interpret
what procedures or diagnoses are documented, and apply the appropriate code to
demonstrate a “clinical picture” of the patient’s current clinical
situation. In short, AACCA certification
is an investment in your career and your future earning capability – just like
your clinical license!
You can become a
Certified RN-Coder (CRN-C) and/or a Certified RN-Auditor (CRN-A). First, you must become a member of
AACCA. Then you must complete a
qualified education program or demonstrate that you have at least one year experience
in coding and documentation review. You
may provide a letter from your employer or a Certificate of Completion from a
program such as the RN-Coder Institute or the RN-Auditor Institute.
these are the ONLY credentials available to clinical personnel desiring to
demonstrate their capability in these areas.
It is very important to understand that you are coming into a chaotic
time in the history of the US healthcare system. Many far-reaching, technically-sophisticated
situations are at hand including new electronic claims formats (January 2012),
new electronic healthcare record requirements (ongoing), and implementation of
ICD10 (October 2013) . Registered Nurses
and physicians must step up to the challenge to assure correct coding remains
the standard. And who best to read a
patient’s chart, request clarification from the physician if necessary, and
apply the correct codes than a Registered Nurse or another physician?
other coding credentialing organization has tailored its testing process
specifically for clinical personnel, many of whom have advanced college degrees. Other groups, not affiliated with a national credentialing
organization such as the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE), have
designed their coding certification exams for high school graduates with two
years’ coding experience or an associate degree in health information
management. These other organizations
have not provided for the testing needs of clinical professionals seeking
knowledge and certification in the highly-regulated environment of the US
- To demonstrate your advanced knowledge of coding and
- To gain instant professional
- To stand head and shoulders above the competition
- To increase your earnings potential
the American Association of Clinical Coders and Auditors today!
S. Diamond Bar Blvd. Suite 796 Diamond
Bar, CA 91765909-579-0507