WINTERVILLE, N.C. — For the first time, Pitt Community College will offer short-term, non-credit instruction to prepare individuals for work as credentialed medical coders in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, physician offices, health consulting companies and health insurance agencies.
Pitt administrators say the new medical coding program is a collaborative effort between the college’s existing Health Information Technology (HIT) and Medical Office Administration (MOA) programs. It was created in response to the increasing digitization of health records, an aging population, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ projection of 7% growth in medical coding employment between 2021 and 2031.
“Medical coding is a fast-growing occupation that combines business and health care,” said PCC MOA Instructional Coordinator Wanda Tenpenny. “It’s an excellent option for people interested in health care careers that don’t involve patient contact and others who prefer to work remotely since these positions are often conducive for teleworking.”
Tenpenny said medical coders assign diagnosis and procedure codes for patient care, population health statistics and billing purposes. They also serve as liaisons between healthcare providers, insurance companies and billing offices.
“Medical coders have an important role in health care reimbursement,” Tenpenny said. “Though they don’t provide direct patient care, they work regularly with nurses and other health care workers to clarify diagnoses and get the information needed for patient medical records.”
PCC’s new medical coding training consists of five or six 128-hour courses – depending on the student’s desired coding credential – spanning a year. The first two courses are “Medical Billing and Coding I,” which covers basic human anatomy and physiology for all body systems, and “Medical Billing and Coding II,” which introduces students to electronic health records, managed health care, legal and regulatory considerations, claim form instructions and insurance plans.
Both continuing education courses will be offered online and run from Aug. 17 to Dec. 13. Tuition is $370 ($185 for each class), and students are also responsible for purchasing required textbooks.
The next two courses, “Medical Coding-Outpatient Services I (ICD-10-CM coding)” and “Medical Coding-Outpatient Services II (CPT and HCPCS coding),” will be offered online in the spring.
The final class, a coding credential exam prep course, will take place next summer and correlate with the student’s desired coding credential, whether it’s CPC (Certified Professional Coder), CCS-P (Certified Coding Specialist-Physician-Based) or CCS (Certified Coding Specialist) certification.
Students who complete PCC’s medical coding program may be eligible to enroll in the college’s HIT and MOA associate degree programs.
For more information on Pitt’s new medical coding training, prospective students may contact PCC Workforce Licensure Coordinator Wendy Dunbar at (252) 493-7528 or firstname.lastname@example.org.