Medical Billing and Coding Program
Medical billing and coding consists of submitting patient claims for medical needs to insurance companies and issuing patient statements. This is a challenging and rewarding career field for anyone who enjoys the healthcare environment but does not want to provide direct patient care. In this field, you do not necessarily have any contact with patients. Additionally, you can start your career in less than a year.
Medical Biller and Coder Job Duties
The healthcare facility will electronically transmit the information to the insurance company, and this will allow the healthcare facility to receive proper payment for provided services. Throughout the process, there are many different codes that must be entered into the system, and each one has its own reason. There are certain codes for diagnostic tests, diagnoses, symptoms, and procedures, and medications.
Typical job duties of a medical biller and coder include entering patient information, documenting appropriate codes for a variety of reasons, electronically submitting claims to insurance companies and employment facilities, and issuing patient statements. While many assume that this is just a data entry job, medical billing and coding professionals must have broad knowledge of health care.
Educational Requirements for Medical Billing and Coding Professionals
Before working in the medical billing and coding field, you must receive proper training. In this line of work, you will be required to understand medical terminology, HIPPA laws, insurance information, various diseases, medical procedures, and diagnostic testing protocol.
There are numerous colleges and schools that offer medical billing and coding training. Most of these courses teach the fundamentals of this job and prepare students for taking the certification test and working in this industry. The length of the course varies, but many can be completed in less than four months. Also, there are programs that offer an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in medical billing and coding. Many schools offer online training courses, allowing you to study and train at home.
Medical Billing and Coding Certification
To become a medical coder, you must be certified. To obtain certification, you must pass an examination administered to prospective students by any accepted professional billing and coding association. After you receive your certification, you will be required to continue your education throughout your career. This will help expand your knowledge and you can learn new codes and types.
The American Association of Professional Coders(AAPC) provides several levels of certification. These include:
- Certified Professional Coder (CPC) – The CPC credential validates proficiency in coding for outpatient physician offices, including CPT, HCPCS, and ICD-9 coding and billing.
- Certified Professional Coder-Outpatient Hospital (CPC-H) – This credential shows excellence in coding for outpatient hospital facilities.
- Certified Professional Coder-Payer (CPC-P) – The CPC-P credential validates proficiency in the use of procedure and supply codes as well as diagnosis codes in the payer environment.
- Specialty Coding – There are numerous specialty certifications that allow the coder to show superior expertise in a specialty area, such as oncology, pediatrics, or pain management.
- Certified Professional Biller (CPB) – The CPB credential verifies that the biller has achieved expertise in medical billing and payer requirements.
Career Opportunities and Salaries for Medical Billing and Coding Professionals
Medical billing and coding offers many career choices and also a competitive salary. According to most web sources, the salary for this type of job runs in the range of $35,000 to $45,000 annually. This is a rewarding career, and there is a growing demand for the industry. Employment opportunities can be found at hospitals, physician offices, health and wellness centers, long-term care facilities, insurance companies, industrial organizations, and home-based offices. Many billing and coding professionals open their own companies, providing services on a contractual basis.
AAPC (2013): http://www.aapc.com/
AHIMA (2013): http://www.ahima.org/