Advice From a CIRCC®



AAPC member Patricia Sonnemann, CPC, COC, CIC, CIRCC, CPMA, works for Concept Plus LLC, where she audits medical records for correct coding for Tricare members. Sonnemann has been in the industry for over 30 years, and she earned her first certified medical coding credential in 2002. AAPC asked Sonnemann about her experience with earning the Certified Interventional Radiology Cardiovascular Coder (CIRCC®) credential and how it has helped her career.

What led you to obtain the CIRCC® credential?

I was hired by a billing company after I sat for my Certified Professional Coder (CPC®) exam. The billing company had been providing coding and billing services to a large radiology group, and I was assigned the task of coding for this group along with other coding staff. I found reading the interventional procedures to be cutting edge and fascinating, and I wanted to find out more about coding these procedures.

Do you have any tips for individuals preparing for the CIRCC® exam?

You will need to know cardiovascular anatomy, medical terminology, and the CPT® guidelines that define what may or may not be coded when reading operative reports.

How has the CIRCC® credential helped you in your job/career?

The CIRCC® credential has helped me soar into a variety of roles, starting with coding daily interventional procedures. This lead to a teaching role to help other coders learn the specialty. I then progressed to a supervisory role and, finally, to a consulting/auditing role.

Who in the revenue integrity business do you think would most benefit from the CIRCC® credential?

Those who work in hospital cardiac catheterization labs or interventional suites. On the professional side, those who code services, auditors, and supervisors.

What resources do you use most to earn your continuing education units (CEUs)?

I utilize ZHealth Publishing for my CEUs.

Certified Interventional Radiology Cardiovascular Coder CIRCC

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