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Certified Medical Coding Specialist

Purpose of the CMCS Exam

The purpose of this certification is to promote ethical and professional medical coding through certification of qualified individuals. This voluntary credential formally recognizes a medical coderís competency and proficiency, encourages continued professional personal best development, and provides a national standard assessment based on industry knowledge.

Exam Overview

This exam was created in 2018 out of multiple needs from the billing and coding community. Weíve worked with medical billers for over 20 years and one thing we realize is that billers can be even better at their job if they understand how to correctly code. It is a natural progression for medical billers to need to know about coding. The billing industry is specialized in collecting insurance payments but most are not coding specialists. As more and more payers apply artificial intelligence used to single out specific claims for denial, itís become even more important for medical billers to use every possible and professional means to collect insurance payments. For billers, learning and applying correct coding gives them a positive step forward, above and beyond the average biller or coder. The ability to demonstrate proficiency in coding from an exam designed specifically to comprehensively test a certificantís knowledge of not just coding, but applying the guidelines correctly. Our goal was to create a comprehensive exam that exceeds industry standards and meets the needs of the medical billers and coders we work with.

We also realize that billers need and want the convenience of taking a certification exam online. There are no other certifications we are aware of that offer this convenience. The CMCS Exam is taken online with 10 days to complete it from the time of enrollment. We donít believe that a certificant should be limited to 5 hours to take an exam. Many people are set up for failure with other associations based simply on the fact that time is the biggest issue. We have seen where people had to take and retake their coding exam multiple times because the time allowed is critical to their passing. We would much prefer that you have time to find the right guideline to apply to the right code than to have people miss questions simply due to time constraints. In the real world of getting claims paid, accuracy wins the race over speed.

Two of the biggest coding associations are doing everything they can to train and certify coders in other countries as quickly as they can. To them, it is about the money. To us, it is a matter of principle as we are certain it takes work away from U.S. billers and coders and it makes your hard-earned credential worth less. They go out of their way to provide free code books and cheaper pricing to certificants in these offshore countries to help them become certified. Offshoring work causes a multitude of risks and issues from patient privacy to reduced standards to language barriers. The issues are numerous and a definite point of pain to medical billing and coding professionals we know and respect.

And finally, cost is always a concern for those wanting to better their skills and demonstrate proficiency. We believe we can be most cost-effective at providing certificants with a professional credential that allows more people to become certified without all the high costs that other associations charge.

We provide multiple free continuing education credits, making it easier to meet annual recertification requirements. The CMCS requires 15 annual CEUs and all of them can be earned for free! There are 150 questions that comprehensively cover the entire CPT Code book. Also included are questions on ICD-10 coding as well as HCPCS coding. It is a thorough exam. Thorough doesnít have to mean harder Ė but to us, it means comprehensive. Thatís why weíve covered the CPT book from front to back.

How the Exam Works

The CMCS Exam is taken online through our secure Learning Management System. You can access it multiple times and our system will know where you left off. You can answer your question and come back to it if you need to by clicking on that question in the window below the current exam question to go back. You will submit all of the answers when you finish and your score will be provided immediately. You will also be able to print out the temporary certificate of completion upon passing. You'll have 10 days access to complete the exam.


Passing the Exam

Upon submission, a final grade will be provided. You can print a temporary certificate of completion upon passing. Professional CMCS Certificates are mailed upon completion and arrive in about 3 to 4 weeks. They are valid for one year from the date you complete the exam. We provide certificates via email after the original one upon recertification each year.

Two free retakes are allowed with a mandatory 30 day waiting period between retakes (but not more than 60 days). You must also complete within a year from your original test date.

Requirements & Required Materials

In order to take the exam, you must be a member of AMBA.

You must have access to the current yearís HCPCS, CPT, and ICD-10 codes. You can get these codes on of two ways:

∑ Subscription to AMBACode.net or another online coding program. AMBACode includes all three sets of codes plus more. Get a 28 day free trial. Using this software would replace the need for you to purchase code books.

∑ Purchasing the current year's HCPCS, CPT, and ICD-10 Code Books.

We have tested this exam with certificants using only the code books or only coding software and in each case, the certificant was able to pass the exam using only coding software. The downside to this method is that you will need to view all the chapter guidelines and it may require you to search and find them. With AMBACode, the guidelines are included, but you have to click on them to view them.

Requirements For Taking the CMCS Exam

A current membership to AMBA

You must meet one or more of these qualifications:

One or more years of verifiable coding experience

Have completed an approved coding training program

Have already earned and are in good standing for one or more of the following credentials: CMRS, CPC, CPB, CCS or other equivalent coding or billing related credential.

Renewal Requirements

A current membership to AMBA

You will also be required to submit 15 continuing education units (CEUs) each year. Fifty percent of your annual CEUs should be through the association or our pre-approved CEU list.

CMCS Application

Click here for CMCS application

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