Do I have to be a member of PAHCS?

Yes, you must be an active PAHCS member. You must maintain membership for recertification.

How much experience do I need to have to become certified?

You must be a graduate of a medical coding program or currently employed as a medical coder. A minimum of two years experience is required. A formal education program can be substituted for employment experience.

How will this benefit me in my coding career?

Professionals, both members and non-members, recognize your skills and qualifications as a coding specialist because of the strict requirements and qualification guidelines of our certification process. Employers recognize PAHCS for it's requirements in certifying coders, and prefer employing coders who are certified. They know that a coder who is certified will be an asset to their workforce. You will be able to network with other coders, employers, and others through the unique networking programs that we have in place.

Briefly, what are the best ways to prepare for the exam?

The best way to prepare for the exam is to purchase one of our study guides to help you study for the exam.

Most of the information will come directly from your experience as a coding professional. Other resources that may help you are standard coding texts, CPT-4, and the HCPCS Manuals.

AGA members may also want to register for the GI Coding Exam Preparation course sponsored by McVey Associates.

Is it really worth purchasing a study guide in order to prepare for the exam?

This question is best answered by you. We provide study guides as a resource for your certification exam, and we have developed these to help ensure your success. Most members purchase one as a study guide, and then use it as a reference book to assist them in their career.

What is the purpose of the study guides?

The PAHCS Study Guide series was developed to re-acquaint coders with principles that may have been lost in the abyss of time. Principles that are not used on a daily, or even monthly, basis tend to diminish in the archives of our minds. The study guides are intended to "refresh" your memory and even provide a few concepts that are new.

Who can purchase a study guide?

Only members can purchase a study guide. You can purchase these through the store on our website, or you may call the National Office at 888-708-4707.

What is the format of the study guides?

The format of each study guide follows this example:

Chapter 1 Specialty Coding Principles; ie: OB/GYN
Chapter 2 Medical Record Documentation
Chapter 3 Fraud & Abuse
Chapter 4 HIPAA & Release of Information
Chapter 5 ICD-10-CM Conventions & Rules
Chapter 6 Coding and the CPT Manual
Chapter 7 Evaluation and Management Coding
Chapter 8 Anesthesia
Chapter 9 Surgery
Chapter 10 Radiology/Pathology/Laboratory
Chapter 11 Medicine
Chapter 12 Modifiers
Chapter 13 HCPCS
Chapter 14 Abstracting & Coding Operative Reports
Chapter 15 Anatomy and Medical Terminology

At the end of each chapter are review questions similar to those asked on the actual certification examinations.

What is the format of the exam?

The written examination is divided into two sections:

1) The first section is a series of 60 questions on the specific medical speciality of the candidate's choice.

2) The second section is a series of 140 questions about general coding knowledge.

There is a four hour time limit for the entire exam.

What are some things I should know about taking the exam?

Once an application has been approved by the national office, the candidate will be scheduled to take the three hour written examination. The candidate must sit for the examination within one year following the date of application approval. Examinations are administered at each annual PAHCS conference, and at several different locations around the country each year.

What counts as a CEU?

CEU credit is authorized for most educational sessions, seminars, courses, etc. providing training/information relevant to duties as a medical coder. These sessions do not need to be pre-approved by PAHCS, but information must be relevant, and the presenter recognized as qualified and credible.

CEU credits are not authorized for presentations by video tape, audio tape, CD/ROM interactive programs, or other independent study methods. Self study courses, except those specifically approved in advance by PAHCS, are not authorized for CEU credit.

If you have a question about a particular session, or about the recertification process in general, please review the "Education" section of our website, or call the National Office at 888-708-4704.

How do I submit CEU's?

Exam Preparation Recommendations  

If you have collected the required 24 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for your next recertification, please wait until you are within two months of your recertification date to submit them to the National Office. Submitting early will not change your recertification date.

Extra CEUs (over and above the required 24) do not count towards recertification, and will not change your recertification date. Your recertification date will always remain the same every two years, as long as you maintain certification.