Medical Coding Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Medical Coder?

Medical coding is a health profession that transforms written descriptions of diseases, injuries, and procedures into numeric or alphanumeric designations using ICD-10-CM, ICD-10-PCS and CPT-4. Medical codes are used for reimbursement of healthcare services as well as statistics and research to improve the health of American citizens. Medical coding is essential to the financial well-being of all healthcare facilities. The government's Medicare program bases its payment to facilities and providers on accurate diagnosis and procedural coding. On the other side, third party payers are also in need of qualified coders to process health claims. Effective October 1, 2013 the coding system currently being used in the United States will change from ICD 9-CM to ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS.

What is the Medical Coding CAS Program Like at Delgado?

The Medical Coding Program promotes a learning environment to develop the technical competency skills and critical thinking skills using a variety of instructional methods such as web-enhanced online course work, lecture recordings, videos, simulated laboratory activities and hands-on experience in a clinical setting.

The Medical Coding Program includes two parts: (1) PREREQUISITES to include general education and related courses and (2) MEDICAL CODING COMPONENT which includes the professional medical coding courses. The Medical Coding Program is a limited admission program that starts in August of each year and consists of three semesters of didactic and clinical education. The program adheres to the American Health Information Management Association’s (AHIMA) criteria for Coding Certificate Programs. Minimum career entry competencies expected of graduates include:

  • Knowledge of anatomy and physiology of the human body and a detailed understanding of disease processes with related pharmacology
  • Critical Thinking, organizational, time management, oral and written communication skills
  • Thorough understanding of health (medical) record content with the ability to review and analyze health records to identify relevant diagnosis and procedures for distinct patient encounters
  • Ability to translate diagnostic and procedural terminology used by physicians and health care professionals into coded form (ICD-10-CM/ICD-10/PCS and CPT)using coding rules and guidelines
  • Ability to use a computer and have a mastery in the use of the Internet, Blackboard, Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel.