June 27, 2024

Maintaining your CPC credential with CEU

By Janine Mothershed
Continuing Education for Medical Coding: Where to Obtain CEUs to Maintain Your Credential

Maintaining a credential in medical coding requires staying updated with the latest developments in healthcare regulations, coding guidelines, and technology. Continuing education units (CEUs) play a crucial role in ensuring that medical coders remain competent and informed professionals.

Here’s a guide on where and how to obtain CEUs:

Understanding CEU Requirements

CEUs are a standard measure used to quantify participation in accredited educational programs relevant to a profession. For medical coding, CEUs are essential for demonstrating ongoing competency and knowledge in the field. Most certifying organizations, such as the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) or the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), require a certain number of CEUs to be earned within a specific time frame (typically every 2 years) to maintain certification.

Sources for CEUs

  1. Professional Organizations:
    • AAPC (American Academy of Professional Coders): AAPC offers various options for earning CEUs, including local chapter meetings, workshops, webinars, and conferences. These events cover topics ranging from coding updates to compliance issues.

                     Requirements for maintaining your certification

      1. Pay your AAPC Membership dues annually.
      2. Abide by the AAPC Code of Ethics.
      3. Complete the required number of CEUs based on the number of certifications you hold. 36 CEUare required for a CPC credential every 2 years. https://www.aapc.com/certifications/cpc/maintain-your-certification
    • AAPC CEUs are recognized as the standard in the coding industry, and as such, other credentialing associations (such as AMBA and AHIMA) accept our education with no further review. Our vendors enjoy a significant savings because it is not necessary to submit (or provide payment) to those associations for an additional CEU award. 
    • Watch our four free yearly webinars and earn one CEU per presentation. You must be logged into your AAPC member account to view the free webinar page. NOTE: These webinars are not eligible for local chapter meeting CEUs

    • The AAPC the Magazine publication has a Test Yourself section where you can complete the questions and receive one free CEU per issue. NOTE: These exercises are not eligible for local chapter meetings CEUs.
    • Log in and you will see a personalized calendar of pre-approved local chapter meetings and events in your area. Earn one CEU per hour and enjoy networking with your knowledgeable peers!

AHIMA (American Health Information Management Association): AHIMA provides CEU opportunities through webinars, online courses, conferences, and local chapter events. Topics often include coding regulations, healthcare technology, and data management.

                    Requirements for maintaining your certification

  • Beginning January 1, 2025, forty percent of the CEUs needed in a 2-year recertification period must come from AHIMA and/or the Component Associations. As an AHIMA member, you will still receive complimentary CEUs annually as part of your membership. These CEUs count towards the 40% requirement. Additionally, you have the flexibility to earn an additional 60% of CEUs from ACEP providers, or other sources.
  1. Online Learning Platforms:
    • Platforms like CMS, offer courses specifically designed for medical coders. These courses are often self-paced and can be completed from anywhere with an internet connection, making them flexible options for busy professionals. CMS offers web-based training (WBT) courses for free, many of which are valid for AAPC CEUs. These courses can be accessed here (Web-Based Training | CMS ) and are assigned CEUs based on course length (review the CEU values below). CMS calls and webcasts also count for AAPC CEUs (view more info MLN Calls & Webcasts | CMS ). If you have attended or are planning to attend one of CMS’ National Provider Conference Calls, you should be aware that CMS does not provide certificates of attendance for these calls. Instead, AAPC will accept your emailed confirmation as proof of participation. Please note that past calls that were not pre-registered will not be accepted. 
    • Facebook groups- AAPC Chapter Events and Announcements-USA Only CEUs for AAPC (Free or Cheap) The CEU HIT LIST: FREE Online CEUs 
  2. Healthcare Institutions and Providers:
    • Hospitals, clinics, and healthcare organizations sometimes offer in-house training sessions or workshops that qualify for CEUs. These sessions may focus on institution-specific coding practices or industry updates.
  3. Webinars and Workshops:
    • Many companies and organizations host webinars and workshops on medical coding topics. These events are usually conducted by experts and can be accessed online, allowing coders to earn CEUs without traveling.
  4. Conferences and Seminars:
    • Annual conferences and seminars dedicated to medical coding and healthcare management are excellent opportunities to earn a substantial number of CEUs in a short period. These events often feature keynote speakers, breakout sessions, and networking opportunities.

Tips for Choosing CEU Activities

  • Relevance: Ensure that the CEU activities you choose are relevant to your certification and current practice.
  • Approved Vendor: Verify that the provider of CEU activities is accredited by a recognized accrediting body. Various educational firms have been pre-approved for CEUs through AAPC for their publications, subscriptions, seminars, etc. Granting of prior approval does not constitute endorsement by the AAPC of the program content or the program sponsor. The AAPC believes certified coders gain greater experience from earning CEUs with a variety of educational opportunities. However, there is no maximum number required in any area to obtain the 36, 48, 60, 72 or 80 required CEUs every two years. https://www.aapc.com/medical-coding-education/vendors/
  • Documentation: Keep records of your CEU activities, including certificates of completion or attendance, as proof for certification renewal. All certificates of approval must contain index number, name of sponsoring organization, title of program attended, amount of CEUs approved and date of program.
  • Cost: CEU’s can be found for free or at minimal cost or more depending on the source/event.

Continuing education in medical coding is not just a requirement but a crucial step in staying abreast of the ever-evolving healthcare landscape. By strategically choosing CEU activities from reputable sources, medical coders can ensure they maintain their credentials while enhancing their professional knowledge and skills.

For more information on specific CEU requirements or to find upcoming events, visit the websites of AAPC, AHIMA, or other relevant professional organizations. Stay informed, stay certified, and continue to excel in the field of medical coding.

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