Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Who is the Board of Medical Specialty Coding and Compliance?

The Board of Medical Specialty Coding and Compliance is the premier provider of specialty medical coding certification, education and training for medical coders, clinicians and compliance professionals across physician and compliance fields.

BMSC is dedicated to creating and advocating a career ladder for medical professionals through multiple layers of coding and compliance education, certification and training.

What certifications do you offer?

We began our specialty certifications as a result of market demand for specialty coding. Our examinations are skills-based. They reflect what coders do in the marketplace on a daily basis and test your day-in-day out coding knowledge.

We offer two levels of certification, all focusing on specialties.

Advanced Coding Specialist

The Advanced Coding Specialist credential was created to test the knowledge of advanced coders in physician specialties. We currently offer the ACS certification in: Anesthesia, Cardiology, Evaluation and Management Auditing, Orthopedics, Pain Management, Radiology, Urology.

Specialty Coding Professional

The Specialty Coding Professional credential was created to test the knowledge of coders who have about two years of specialty experience. We will offer SCP certification in: Anesthesia, Cardiology, Orthopedics, Pain Management, Radiology, Urology.

Do you offer a general certification?

No. BMSC is committed to specialty coding because that is what knowledge is truly needed within a physician practice.

Do I need another certification to sit for your exams? Do I need to join your organization to site for your exams?

No. We want working coders who are interested in showing that they know their coding to sit for our exams. You do not need to join or organization, have a different certification or pay annual membership dues to BMSC.

I received my ACS certification while you were the Board of Advanced Medical Coding. Is my certification still valid?

Absolutely.

Our name has changed, but our examinations and commitment to quality have not. You will continue along the regular path of renewal and recertification for your credential and will receive reminder updates from BMSC.

I've been coding a while, how do I know if I'm qualified for the Specialty Coding Professional certification or the Advanced Coding Specialist certification?

We offer two levels of certification, each focusing on different levels of experience and expertise within a specialty.

Our Specialty Coding Professional certifications are aimed at coders who have about two years experience in their specialty. Coders should have a good working knowledge of coding conventions and coding within their specialty.

Our candidates for the SCP have a good working knowledge of:

  • CPT, HCPCS Level II and ICD-9-CM coding conventions and guidelines
  • Medical Terms and Terminology
  • Medicine and Diagnostic Procedures
  • Evaluation and Management Coding and 1995 and 1997 Guidelines
  • Basic Laboratory Services, if applicable to specialty
  • Basic Billing and Payor Issues
  • Surgical Procedures, if applicable to specialty

We offer skill assessment questions for our exams online so you can begin to gauge whether your skill set and knowledge base matches the SCP certification.

Our Advanced Coding Specialist coders are considered leaders in the industry because they:

  • Utilize their specialty knowledge and experience to better interact with physicians and providers
  • Understand both basic and complex coding principles and guidelines
  • Ensure their providers receive appropriate reimbursement
  • Provide direction and instruction to less experienced coders in the workplace

Our most successful ACS candidates usually have at least three years experience coding in their specialty and possess a clear understanding of the following, as it pertains to their specialty:

  • CPT, HCPCS Level II and ICD-9-CM coding conventions and guidelines
  • Medical Terms and Terminology
  • Category II, III and Unlisted Codes
  • Medicine and Diagnostic Procedures
  • Evaluation and Management Coding
  • Clinical Laboratory Services
  • Billing and Payor Issues
  • Anesthesia
  • Surgical Procedures
  • ABNs
  • HIPAA regulations
  • Fraud and Abuse issues
  • The Medicare Appeal Process

We offer skill assessment questions for our exams online so you can begin to gauge whether your skill set and knowledge base matches the ACS certification.

What are the benefits of having a specialty certification?

Your specialty physicians seek board certification when they desire to be recognized as proficient in their practice area, why shouldn't you? You code for a specialty and you should show your knowledge of that specific specialty.

Our exams are the only ones developed for coders by coders. It tests skills and shows your proficiency. In a survey done by BMSC, we discovered that 1 in 5 of our surveyed certified coders had received a raises or bonus after certification!!

Many coders feel that certification makes them more effective when working with both clinicians and payers. Certified coders are generally more highly compensated and receive greater advancement opportunities.

For job applicants, certification can provide a competitive advantage, and providers are increasingly requiring coding certification as a condition of employment.

How do I prepare for certification?

Because our exams are skill-based, a coder doing excellent work every day should be prepared for the exam without the need for extra studying. We do, however, recognize people's desires for reference materials to brush up on skills and concepts.

We offer for free, on our website, study outlines to help aid candidates in seeing what topics will specifically be addressed. We also are beginning to post several skill-based questions similar to ones that will be on the test per specialty. These can be downloaded and taken by a candidate to gauge if one is ready to sit for the ACS or SCP exam.

Within publishing, we offer larger Education Guides in several physician specialties.

We are also in the process of creating smaller study guides with practice questions included for ACS candidates.

What are the formats and philosophy with your exams?

Examination philosophy ...

BMSC credential exams are designed to test the day-in, day-out coding skills of the professional coder. As a result, many coding scenarios appear on the exam, as well as the crucial areas of medical anatomy and terminology.

This is the only nationwide certification exam created by coders for coders. Our goal is not to stump you with trick questions on procedures you will likely never see in your office or facility, but rather to ensure — for you and for your employer — that you have, in fact, achieved advanced proficiency in your chosen areas.

Examination formats ...

Our tests are objective. This means a mixture of multiple choice, matching and fill-in-the-blank.