Jun 23, 2024  
2024-25 Catalog 
2024-25 Catalog

Health Information & Medical Coding

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Program Coordinator Shelle Ridings

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Medical Records and Health Information Technicians, commonly referred to as health information technicians, organize and manage health information data. They ensure its quality, accuracy, accessibility, and security in both paper and electronic systems. They use various classification systems to code and categorize patient information for insurance reimbursement purposes, for databases and registries, and to maintain patients’ medical and treatment histories.

Employment of health information technicians is projected to grow 22 percent from 2012 to 2022 nationwide, much faster than the average for all occupations. The demand for health services is expected to increase as the population ages. An aging population will need more medical tests, treatments, and procedures. This will mean more claims for reimbursement from insurance companies. Additional records, coupled with widespread use of electronic health records (EHRs) by all types of healthcare providers, could lead to an increased need for technicians to organize and manage the associated information in all areas of the healthcare industry. 

Medical Records and Health Information Technicians provide the following:

  • Review patient records for timeliness, completeness, accuracy, and appropriateness of data
  • Organize and maintain data for clinical databases and registries
  • Track patient outcomes for quality assessment
  • Use classification software to assign clinical codes for reimbursement and data analysis 
  • Electronically record data for collection, storage, analysis, retrieval, and reporting
  • Protect patients’ health information for confidentiality, authorized access for treatment, and data security

Written and oral communication, knowledge of human biology, medical terminology, medical coding, medical billing, medical ethics and knowledge of laws relating to healthcare privacy are important for successful job placement.

Course work includes instruction in medical terminology, health insurance, electronic health records, health information, medical transcription and documents, human disease pathophysiology, medical staff credentialing, computer operations, and ethical/legal issues associated with medical records.

Most health information technicians work in hospitals or physicians’ offices. Others work in nursing care facilities or for government entities. Technicians typically work at desks or in offices and may spend many hours in front of computer monitors.  The industries that employed the most health information technicians are general medical and surgical hospitals; state, local, and private offices of physicians, nursing and residential care facilities, and for the Government.

The curriculum for both the AAS and CP programs includes HIMC 250  which provides review and preparation for the Certified Professional Coder (CPC), which is the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) credentialing exam.  Due to the level of expertise required of medical coders, AAPC expects certified coders to be able to perform not only in an exam setting but also in the real world. In addition to passing the certification exam, coders will also be required to demonstrate on-the-job coding experience. Those who pass the CPC®, exams but have not yet met this requirement will be designated as an Apprentice (CPC-A) on their certificate.

Program Learning Objectives

  1. Make ethical and legal decisions regarding medical coding and medical records

  2. Prepare for entry-level employment in the health information profession

  3. Take the Certified Professional Coder (CPC-A) credentialing examination related to medical coding administered by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC)

  4. Perform various medical document preparation and editing duties

  5. Accurately code for reimbursement purposes

Health Information and Medical Coding Program Entry Requirements

The Health Information and Medical Coding program is an open admission program that has limited enrollment. Individuals interested in the program are encouraged to contact the program coordinator about registration dates, any course prerequisites, and other academic concerns or questions.

Students are required to complete:

  • Drug screen
  • Federal background check
  • Completion of CPR course for Health Care Providers 
  • Satisfactory health exam with appropriate immunizations (any expenses associated with these or any internship-site immunizations are the responsibility of the student).

Lewis and Clark Community College adheres to the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act, which requires college campuses to be drug and alcohol free.  In accordance with the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act, the use, possession, maintenance, distribution and/or sale of alcohol, cannabis, illegal drugs, controlled substances or unauthorized prescription drugs while on College property, in College-owned vehicles or while participating in any College activity is strictly prohibited.

In addition, the L&C HIMC Program partners with external agencies to provide externship experiences for students.  These agencies require that all participants undergo a drug test as a condition upon placement in a clinical program.  A negative result is required for a student to be placed in an externship program.  Some agencies also require random drug testing throughout a student’s experience and require a negative result for the student to continue his/her participation in the experience.

Substances prohibited by the agencies include, but are not limited to:  amphetamines, methamphetamines, cocaine, cannabis, opiates, heroin, PCP, and alcohol.  A student who tests positive for any of these substances, or who refuses to undergo the required drug test, is subject to disqualification from participation by the agency, which will result in the student not receiving his/her degree due to a failure to meet the clinical component of the L&C HIMC Program.

Technical Standards: All students must be able to fulfill certain “technical standards.”  These standards are the essential requirements of the Health Information and Medical Coding program that students must master to successfully participate in the program and become employable in the Health Information and Medical Coding field.  Technical standards for the students in the Health Information and Medical Coding program:

  1. All students must possess the manual dexterity, physical stamina, and visual capacity to perform all required technical procedures.
  2. Students must be able to communicate in an effectual manner. Students will be required to read and comprehend technical material, as well as write technical reports in a clear and concise manner. In addition, all students must be able to verbally communicate effectively with patients, coworkers, and other health care personnel.

Each applicant needs to assess his/her own ability to meet the above technical standards.

Program prerequisite for Health Information and Medical Coding AAS and certificate of proficiency programs:  Qualify for READ 125  and ENGL 125  with appropriate L&C placement test scores.

Graduation Requirement

To be eligible for graduation with the Medical Coding Certificate of Proficiency and Health Information and Medical Coding Associate in Applied Science Degree, students must:

  1. Earn a grade of “C” or better in all Health Information and Medical Coding courses (defined as courses with a HIMC prefix)
  2. Satisfy the requirements for a Certificate of Proficiency and Associate in Applied Science Degree as outlined in this catalog.

HIMC classes taken longer than five years prior to graduation must be retaken or a proficiency test passed to ensure that the student has retained his/her knowledge from the class.

Suggested high school courses for students interested in pursuing Health Information and Medical Coding at L&C:

Health Information & Medical Coding - HIMC.AAS

Associate in Applied Science Degree

Total: 14 Credit Hours

Total: 16 Credit Hours

Third Semester

Total: 15-16 Credit Hours

Fourth Semester

Total: 15-18 Credit Hours

Total credit hours required for the A.A.S. in Health Information & Medical Coding: 60


Medical Coding - HIMC.CP

Certificate of Proficiency

Total: 13 Credit Hours

Total: 17 Credit Hours

Total: 3 Credit Hours

Total credit hours required for the Certificate of Proficiency in Medical Coding: 33


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