Learning ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS Coding

Coding and Billing2 Comments

It is 2014 already! This is the year ICD-10 will be implemented. It is exciting that we are less than a year away from the implementation of ICD-10. You may be asking yourself when the best time to learn ICD-10 is. There are different opinions about when to start learning the ICD-10 code set. The following are some questions and information to help you decide for yourself what your ICD-10 training needs to be.

1. When do you want to start working?
ICD-10 will be implemented on 10/1/2014. Individuals who want to start working prior to this date will need to learn both ICD-9 and ICD-10. This is because any services provided prior to this date will be coded using ICD-9. It is also important to learn ICD-10 because after this date you will be using it to report all services. If you are trained in both code sets you will be more marketable.

2. Where do you plan on working?
Where you are going to work will determine if you need to learn ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS or just ICD-10-CM. If you are planning on working in a non-facility setting, such as a physician’s office, you will only need to learn ICD-10-CM. If you are planning on working in a facility setting, such as a hospital, you will need to learn both ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS.

3. How much time do you have to spend learning ICD-10?
This is similar to the “when do you want to start working” question. If you have a lot of time to spend training, you will need to learn both ICD-9 and ICD-10. This is because you could finish your training before the implementation date. Based on this you will need to know how to code using both ICD-9 and ICD-10 coding. If your study time is more limited, you will need to only learn ICD-10 because you will more than likely finish your training after the implementation date.

4. When do you plan on getting certified as a medical coder?
This is a very important question that will determine what type of code training you should receive. In order to answer this question you need to know when AHIMA and AAPC will start offering ICD-10 certification exams. AHIMA will start offering ICD-10 certification exams on April 1, 2014. If you plan on getting certified through AHIMA on or after this date you will need to be trained in ICD-10. If you plan on getting certified before this date you will need to be trained in ICD-9. You will need to be trained in both ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS to take a certification exam through AHIMA after April 1. AAPC will start offering ICD-10 certification exam on January 1, 2015. If you plan on getting certified before this date then you will need to be trained in ICD-9. If you plan on getting certified after this date you will need to be trained in ICD-10. You will need to be only trained in ICD-10-CM to take a certification exam through AAPC after January 1, 2015.

Hopefully this information helps you determine the type of training you need and when to get this training. Whatever training you decide works best for your circumstances, the best time to start training is now. The sooner you start your training the sooner you will be prepared to get a job as a medical coder.


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  1. San January 28, 2014

    This is really good information.  Thank you.  I do have a question.  Will the AHIMA exam only be given on April 1, 2014?  And do I need to have two certifications one with AHIMA and AAPC?

  2. Randy Johnson February 03, 2014

    Hi San,

    Randy Johnson from the Career Step Coding team here. The AHIMA exam will start testing on ICD-10 on April 1, 2014, but you can take this exam anytime on or after this date. You also don’t need to take the certification exam through both AAPC and AHIMA—which one you should take depends on your career goals and the requirements of employers in your area.

    Best wishes,
    Randy


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