September 2, 2020
What Is Medical Coding?

Should I Complete the AAPC Medical Coding Practicode Program?

By Janine Mothershed

What Is Medical Coding?

Medical Coding is a universal coding system in healthcare that converts intricate patient, diagnosis, treatment and medication information into alphanumeric codes that can be shared among various groups. The process of coding allows the proper diagnosis and treatment with specific medicines. Medical Coding requires the ability to understand anatomy, physiology, and details of the services and the rules and regulations to succeed.

What is the Medical Coding Practicode By AAPC?

The AAPC (American Academy of Professional Coders) offers an online training program for new Medical Coders to become a CPC rather than a CPC-A (Apprentice). Once you get your certification, you are designated as an Apprentice until you have completed at least two years of Medical Coding work experience and submitted it to the AAPC for approval. Completing the Practicode speeds up the process of dropping the apprentice title.

If you have taken 80 hours of education, this counts as one year experience. This is why it is a good idea to attend Coding Clarified or a Medical Coding School that is comparable. Between the two options combined, you will be able to drop the apprentice status within 6 months, rather than two years.

The Practicode will cost anywhere from $250-300 and will count towards one year of experience. It requires being an AAPC member and passing the CPC exam in order to participate. You must have your certification. The Practicode is an online training with 600 real-world redacted medical cases, contained in ICD-10 modules that you will complete and fill out. It is hands on and is not multiple choice. It is much more difficult than the exam. The good news is that you can use any notes or books to help you complete the modules. You will get access for 18 months through the AAPC Blackboard account to complete it.

In all, it takes a couple months to complete the AAPC Practicode. When you have completed all cases and passed all three assessments, you will contact AAPC to update your file and delete your Apprentice status.

Is Complete Practicode necessary?

Yes, the importance of this program is significant. It really could make or break someone. Being in an emerging medical field, the need to complete the medical practicode is strong. It is more than necessary to advance in medical coding much quicker. Although it is not as desirable as real work experience, many people are only hiring CPC’s with the A title removed. You definitely should consider this option. It will give you a great deal of hands-on experience.

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