Classification and Coding: Why are they important?

The classification and coding process of health care data is an already-complex function that will only continue to increase in complexity. The classification and coding of health care data in a standardized format makes it easy to store, retrieve, and catalogue for statistical and individual uses on an aggregate or granular basis. The accuracy of the coded data affects health care decisions, planning, funding, research, and more. The data is transformed into meaningful information to accelerate improvements in healthcare, health care system performance, and population health across many jurisdictions. Government policymakers use coded data to make policy decisions about our health systems and the care within them.

Career Progression: Who should hold the certified Classification and Coding Specialist (CCCS) credential?

The Classification and Coding Specialty certification is being developed with two certified Health Information Management (CHIM) professionals in mind:

  1. Early career CHIMs to those with 5-years of coding experience who are interested in deepening their knowledge in the field of classification and coding to advance their career path, and
  2. Experienced coding and classification professionals (5+ years of experience) who want to challenge a specific exam and have a credential that is specifically aligned to the classification and coding segment of the CHIM profession. 

Regardless, this certification will give CHIMs who are interested in continuing their education a competitive edge in their job search, as well as greater job satisfaction. It creates a greater assurance for high quality and accurate coding that encourages continuous quality improvement. This credential, along with experience, can be a catalyst to progress your career into roles including, but not limited to, auditors, analysts, and leadership positions.

 Becoming Certified in Classification and Coding

The Canadian College of Health Information Management (CCHIM) is the national credentialing body that holds the requirements for the Certified Classification and Coding Specialist (CCCS) designation. The Classification and Coding Certification Examination tests the candidate’s accuracy in ICD-10-CA and CCI classification and coding of complex cases. The examination questions were built and peer reviewed by industry experts to replicate complex scenarios and situations found in acute care settings.

Credential: Certified Classification and Coding Specialist (CCCS)

EXAMINATION INFORMATION

The CCCS certification examination is online. The allowable time limit to complete the examination is 132 minutes. 

EXAMINATION DATES

The 2019 CCCS Certification Examination are as follows:

Examination dates

Deadline for application, including required documentation

Fee*

(Not including tax)

Limited time offer**

(Not including tax)

June 17-21, 2019

May 27, 2019

$349.00

$199.00

November 18-22, 2019

October 28, 2019

$349.00

$199.00

*This fee covers administration of the CCCS examination and online writing service (Examity®). Note: There are no additional fees to your CHIMA Membership to hold this credential.

**Limited time offer: Candidates who register to challenge the CCCS Certification Examination in 2019 will receive a $150 discount on the examination fee and the 2019 Classification and Coding Certification Examination Primer (coming soon!).

Eligibility criteria:

A candidate must be a graduate of a CCHIM-accredited HIM program, hold an active CHIM credential, and fall into one of the following categories:

  • Experienced professional: Be currently working in the field of coding and classification (experience eligibility pathway); or
  • Course graduate: Be a graduate from a CCHIM-approved preparatory Classification and Coding Specialist Program (https://www.echima.ca/cchim/him-program#specialty)


Documentation required: 

Experienced professional: Applicants must submit a current resume and a reference letter from a current employer, which outlines classification and coding work experience.Please submit to exam@echima.ca.

Course graduate: Applicants are responsible for ensuring that their certified, original, and final transcript is submitted to CCHIM by the CCHIM-approved program prior to the deadlines listed above. For the mailing address, please visit https://www.echima.ca/chima/contact.

The following resources are requirements for challenging the CCCS examination. Examination candidates are responsible for purchasing or arranging access to the following resources, each of which must be preinstalled on the computer, prior to the examination date:

  1.  Canadian Coding Standards (v. 2018) AND
  2.  ICD-10-CA/CCI Folio (v. 2018) software.


ONLINE PROCTORING
In 2019, CCHIM partnered with Examity®, an online proctoring service. This service offers more flexibility for examination candidates, eliminating the need to find suitable examination centers, or secure invigilators that meet CCHIM requirements. Examination candidates may easily and conveniently complete their examination in their room or office. Live, online proctoring creates efficiency, increases available examination dates, and creates a ‘turn key’ experience for candidates through online registration systems.

Upon approval of the application, Examity® will email the examination candidate instructions to set up an account and schedule an examination writing date and time within the approved examination sitting (e.g. January 21-25, 2019).

Details regarding computer requirements, online proctoring and room requirements may be found here.

EXAMINATION GUIDE

Please read the Classification and Coding Examination Guide thoroughly, for all new information and steps on how to register for the National Certification Examination.

Click here (PDF DOWNLOAD)

WITHDRAWAL FROM or RESCHEDULING THE EXAMINATION
Applicants who choose to withdraw from the examination, based on the deadlines noted below, will receive a 50% refund of the examination fee upon receipt of a written request for refund to CCHIM.

Examination date(s)

Deadline for withdrawal

June 17-21, 2019

May 27, 2019

November 18-22, 2019

October 28, 2019

Applicants may reschedule the exam date or time within the approved scheduled examination seating (e.g. January 21-25, 2019) through the applicant’s Examity® student profile. Please be aware that Examity charges a fee for rescheduling.

For questions related to the examination application, guide, or processes, please contact exam@echima.ca


MAINTENANCE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE CREDENTIAL:

  • A CHIMA Certified Active Membership is required in order to hold this credential. More details of the value of membership can be found here: https://www.echima.ca/membership
  • Adherence to the CHIMA code of ethics and standards, which can be found here: https://www.echima.ca/him/ethics
  • Continuing Professional Education (CPE) requirements: current CHIM professionals are required to obtain 36 CPE credits per three year cycle. To maintain both the CHIM credential and the CCCS credential, members must obtain 48 CPE credits in the current three-year cycle.


CCCS credentialed members are encouraged to participate in continuing education opportunities within classification and coding to further enhance professional development.

Coding Specialist Program: HealthCareCAN/CHA Learning

HealthCareCAN/CHA Learning has partnered with CHIMA/CCHIM to offer a preparatory course for the Classification and Coding Specialist Certification. The online Coding Specialist Program is estimated to take approximately 120 hours, can be completed flexibly over the course of up to 12 months, and offers participant support from expert coaches from the field.

The HealthCareCAN/CHA Learning program is not a requirement for challenging this exam and gaining this credential, but it is recommended for people in the field.

The Coding Specialist Program provides current coders in the field with the tools and skills to improve their accuracy, consistency, and efficiency. If you have recent acute inpatient care coding experience but think you require further educational training, the Coding Specialist Program could assist you in improving your coding skills in preparation for the Classification and Coding Specialist National Certification Exam.

For more information on the Coding Specialist Program, please visit the CHA Learning website.

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To obtain more information on applying for the Classification and Coding Certification Examination, please login to the Member’s Only section and click on ‘Classification and Coding Certification Exam’


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