MCS101 Medical Coding Specialist Certificate Program

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Program Description/Overview

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UNC Charlotte’s Medical Coding Specialist Certificate Program offers in-depth training that will equip students with the necessary knowledge and skills needed to pursue a new career, re-enter the workforce, or refresh and broaden current skills. Properly trained medical coding specialists perform the coding tasks that support the processing of medical billings, implement proper reporting of transactions, and support secure health information management. Medical coders assign a code to each diagnosis and procedure by using classification systems software. The classification system determines the amount for which healthcare providers will be reimbursed if the patient is covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or other insurance programs using the system. Coders may use several coding systems, such as those required for ambulatory settings, physician offices, or long-term care.

Medical CodersIt is the goal of UNC Charlotte’s Medical Coding Specialist Certificate Program to provide the necessary training to produce highly valued medical coding professionals. For those currently in the medical coding field, the program will provide the knowledge to become a more effective and productive coding specialist. The curriculum emphasizes familiarity with the medical office administration profession along with basic medical office procedures that focus on code identification and the ability to perform coding functions. Coding specialists work in hospitals, clinics, medical clinics, long-term and home health care facilities. Medical Coding Specialists are also employed by consulting firms, coding and billing services, insurance companies, and governmental agencies.

Course work will include Introduction to Medical Coding / Healthcare Information Documentation, Diagnosis Coding, Procedure Coding, and Coding Guidelines and Processes for Out-Patient / In-Patient Services.

Upon completion of the program, students will:

  • Lydia LaPorta teaching the Procedure Coding courseHave the ability to analyze health records and assign codes for diseases, diagnosis, and procedures.
  • Have the ability to abstract key information from health records for reimbursement, statistics, and research purposes.
  • Have an understanding of the ethical and professional standards expected of Medical Coding professionals.
  • Have an understanding of the importance of maintaining a high level of accuracy and accountability when performing medical coding documentation.
  • Understanding of processes and procedures of medical record administration and documentation.
  • Have the necessary education that will qualify students to sit for numerous national “certification” exams

This is an intensive, yet comprehensive program. Many students are unable to take two or more years to change professions. Many are looking for a professional development opportunity to assist with advancement in a current position; a two year program is simply not an option. UNC Charlotte’s Medical Coding Specialist program is designed to provide students with the skills necessary to become a competent and well trained medical coding professional.

Course Materials

Electronic Materials

All course materials will be provided electronically. Registered students can access their materials at moodle2.uncc.edu beginning on the first day of class using your Continuing Education student account login and password (created when you register). Books are not included in the cost of the program.  

 

It is required to read the Technical Specifications prior to enrollment.

Instructors

Instructors are drawn from a carefully selected pool of qualified practitioners and field experts from the Charlotte region. 

Certification

Students in classAfter successful completion of the program, graduates are eligible to take numerous national coding certification exams. Students pursuing certification must apply directly with the organization that governs the certification of interest.

  • American Academy of Professional Coders (CPC, CPC-H, or CPC-P) Website: www.aapc.com
  • American Health Information Management Association (CCS or CCS-P)  Website: www.ahima.org

American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC)

UNC Charlotte has partnered with the  American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) to offer  the Certified Professional Coding (CPC) medical coding curriculum and the Certified Physician Practice Manager (CPPM) certificate.  These programs are designed by managers and leaders in the healthcare industry.  

AAPC  was  founded in 1988 and  is the nation’s largest training and credentialing organization for the business side of medicine and represent excellence in the industry. Currently, AAPC has a membership of  131,157 members and continues to grow nationally and worldwide.

Career Outlook

Job prospects and career advancement in healthcare careers is very good.  The average salary in Charlotte, NC  is $31,490. Employment of medical records, coding specialists, and health information technicians is expected to increase by 20% through 2018 because of rapid growth in the number of medical tests, treatments, and procedures that will be increasingly scrutinized by health insurance companies, regulators, courts, and consumers. As the population continues to age, the occurrence of health-related problems will increase.  Also, technicians will be needed to enter patient information into computer databases to comply with Federal legislation mandating the use of electronic patient records. Technicians that demonstrate a strong understanding of technology and computer software will be in particularly high demand.

Although employment growth in hospitals will not keep pace with growth in other health care industries, many new jobs will, nevertheless, be created. The majority of new jobs are expected in offices of physicians as a result of increasing demand for detailed records, especially in large group practices. Rapid growth also is expected in home health care services, outpatient care centers, and nursing and residential care facilities. Additional job openings will result from the need to replace technicians who retire or leave the occupation permanently.

Technicians with a strong background in medical coding will be in particularly high demand. Changing government regulations and the growth of managed care have increased the amount of paperwork involved in filing insurance claims. Additionally, health care facilities are having difficulty attracting qualified workers, primarily because of the lack of both formal training programs and sufficient resources to provide on-the-job training for coders. Job opportunities may be especially good for coders employed through temporary help agencies or by professional services firms. 

Source:Bureau of Labor Statistics

According to the 2008-2009 Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the United States Department of Labor, the number of medical records and health information technicians required in the United States is expected to grow by 18% through 2016. This represents approximately 30,000 new job openings for medical records and health information technicians during coming years.

                          
Click here for more information regarding jobs please visit the AAPC for their 2011 Salary Survey results

 

Advisory Board

Course curriculum is developed in consultation with our Medical Coding Specialist Advisory Board of subject matter experts, faculty, and industry practitioners. Click here to view the members of our Advisory Board.

Additional Training from UNC Charlotte

For students seeking additional training, UNC Charlotte now offers a Professional Science Masters program in Health Informatics. The Health Informatics program is structured to provide students with the skills and knowledge to evaluate, modify, and implement medical information systems as well as educate others in their use. The program is open to include individuals with health and computing backgrounds who are interested in cross-training, as well as those with other backgrounds interested in employment transitioning. For more information about the program and the requirements, please visit http://hi.uncc.edu.


Testimonials

"The Medical Coding Specialist Certificate course is great! If you are willing to put in the work, you will be successful. I felt prepared to take the CPC exam and passed on the 1st try. This class is also up-to-date. I attended an AAPC Regional Conference and a lot of the information given was review of what I learned through this program. The instructors are knowledgeable and helpful. I would certainly recommend this course for those who have an interest in becoming a medical coder!"

Program Participant
Spring, 2010

"I completed the Medical Coding Specialist class last month.  I wanted to let you know that I took the CPC exam on Dec. 4 and I just found out that I passed it with a score of 86!  I really enjoyed the class, and I'm so happy that it prepared me to pass the exam!  I have already recommended this class to several people, and I will continue to do so.  Thank you!"

Program Participant
Fall, 2010

"Thank you so much for the great opportunity of taking this class. All the faculty were great and unforgettable. This was truly an enlightening experience." 

Program Participant
Spring, 2009 

"I want to thank the teachers and staff of the medical coding program.  I sincerely appreciate the gratitude and help I received from everyone.  I thought the program was excellent.  I will definitely take what I learned and apply it in my pursuit of a medical coding career. Thank you for the opportunity. Everyone truly showed that they cared about each student in the class.  Once again,  thank you and keep up the outstanding work."

Program Participant
Spring, 2009 

"I would like to say how much I enjoyed this class. My experience was both positive and productive. The instructors were all very encouraging and an asset to your staff. I highly recommend  this course."

Program Participant
Spring, 2009 

"I want to say how valuable I found this class to be. Everyone really appears to care about guaranteeing a great preparation for students’ entry into the coding profession. Kudos to you, staff, and instructors for putting together a high-quality course."

Program Participant
Spring, 2009

“The instructors were all very knowledgeable. Their real-world experience was very helpful.”

Program Participant
Spring, 2008

“Excellent learning environment. I really liked the amount of information I absorbed. I am taking a lot of great experience from this class”

Program Participant
Spring, 2008

“The program helped me to remember things I had forgotten and I learned things I did not know. I also enjoyed having a variety of instructors.”

Program Participant
Spring, 2008

“I really enjoyed the fact that all the instructors were actually working in the field of coding”

Program Participant
Spring, 2008

“I took a similar course at another area college and the instructors at UNCC were by far more knowledgeable and interested in you succeeding”

Program Participant
Spring, 2008


FAQs

For Program and Registration Questions:
Please call the Registration Center at 704-687-8900 or 1-877-741-0134 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., or email CEregistration@uncc.edu.

What types of Professional Credits are offered by UNC Charlotte Continuing Education?

Is tuition assistance available for this program?

What are the attendance requirements?


Prerequisites

A high school diploma (or equivalent) is required for entry into the Medical Coding Specialist Certificate program.

Although not required, it is highly recommended that participants have experience / background (educational or professional) with Medical Terminology and knowledge of basic Computer Applications. Prospective students lacking the background in these areas should consider enrolling and completing the Medical Terminology online course prior to entering the Medical Coding Specialist Certificate program. The online course is $95 and is delivered online as a self-paced six week course you can view on your own schedule. Information regarding the Medical Terminology course is available here.

Who Should Attend?

The Medical Coding Specialist Certificate program is designed for individuals interested in pursuing medical coding employment, changing job skills to move into a medical office records environment, or pursuing the skills necessary to become a Certified Medical Coder.

Individuals wanting to make a career change or pursue employment in the healthcare industry and a medical records environment

  • Individuals working in the healthcare industry
  • Individuals working for insurance companies
  • Individuals working for third-party administrator and self-insured organizations
  • Existing insurance claims processors
  • Individuals from the healthcare field that have the desire to increase their medical coding knowledge and skills
  • Individuals with the desire to prepare and become a Certified Medical Coder

Registration/Refund/Cancellation Policies

For best availability, students are encouraged to register at least two weeks prior to the start date of the course section.

Please read:

Applies Towards the Following Certificate(s)



Sections
  MCS101 - 011 Medical Coding Specialist Certificate Program  
  Programs FY15   Status  Available
 
Section Schedule(s):
  06 Aug 2014 to 24 Nov 2014
Click Here for Times - Sessions: 28
Contact Hours: 77.0
Tuition Option(s):
  Registration Fee non-credit    $1,565.00
Potential Price Adjustment(s):
Faculty/Staff Discount  
  7.70 CEUs
Campus:   UNC Charlotte Center City
Instruction Method:   Classroom and Online
Instructors:   Cynthia Douglas
Leigh Lail
Nisha Massey
Tiffany Spencer
 
Reading List / Textbook:  

Complete information on the required texts for the program will be provided to participants, who will then be able to purchase their texts directly from book vendors. Estimated cost of the textbooks is $500.

Section Note(s):   Parking is included in the registration fee.
Receipt Note(s):  

Program Coordinator: Bonita Pickett

Course Materials: All course materials will be provided electronically. Registered students can access their materials at moodle2.uncc.edu beginning on the first day of class using your Continuing Education student account login and password (created when you register). It is required to read the Technical Specifications prior to enrollment.