What Is A Medical Billing and Coding Specialist?
A medical billing and coding specialist records and processes patient health records in a medical practice, hospital, or insurance company.
This person is primarily responsible for organizing patient files and making sure that notes about exams and treatment regimens are accurate and accessible. He or she may also process payments, including sending out bills and dealing with insurance claims.
The job only rarely requires direct patient interaction, but specialists are sometimes called on to explain or interpret records if there is confusion about what is being billed or what sort of services were rendered.
What Are The Duties?
The bulk of most medical billing and coding specialist work involves transcription. When doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals meet with patients, they often take notes by hand or on portable electronic devices. These notes are often an important part of patient care, but are not always streamlined — they may be written in shorthand, for instance, or scribbled in the margins of a patient’s main file.
Billing and coding specialists will organize all of these notes into a unified file that can be easily searched and cross-referenced at a later date.
Listening to orally recorded notes may also be part of the job. Many medical professionals dictate their impressions of patient conditions or thoughts on treatment that must then be integrated into patient files. Billing and coding specialists are often in charge of reviewing these recordings, transcribing them, and then determining how to best build them into the permanent record.
Building up a patient file is important but is usually only a preliminary step. The next thing that a medical coding and billing specialist must do is to assign each treatment decision a “code,” usually a letter or number-based sequence, that signifies both what the treatment was for and how it is going to be billed.
A physician’s time is typically billed hourly, for instance, which gets one code. Things like urine processing, blood screens, and injections are also coded, as are more major procedures like X-rays, ultrasounds, and specialist referrals.
Most of the time, codes are streamlined on a country-by-country or region-by-region basis.
Some of this is dictated by insurance plans, but a lot of it is driven by governments. Having a unified medical coding system helps improve the efficiency of medical care while reducing fraud. Billing and coding specialists must be careful to keep their records very accurate, and as a result, they may spend about as much time reviewing their work as they do creating it in the first place.
What are The Requirements?
A person must typically have at least a high school diploma in order to become a medical billing and coding specialist, though many employers want people who have obtained an associate or bachelor’s degree. Most medical billing and coding specialists receive on-the-job training to learn about the different aspects of the work, but this is rarely a replacement for substantive background knowledge.
Candidates who have taken even just a few courses in anatomy, medical procedures, or diagnostic specialties are usually given preference. These and similar courses are often taken as part of a coding certificate course.
Certificates are usually granted by national organizations, such as the American Medical Billing Association in the United States. Students typically enroll in order to improve their credentials and show potential employers that they are serious about their work. Certification tests can be taken at many community colleges and universities, and may also be available online.
The average Medical Billing And Coding Entry Level salary in the United States is $37,886 as of October 30, 2019, but the salary range typically falls between $34,297 and $41,655.
Salary ranges can vary widely depending on many important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, the number of years you have spent in your profession. With more online, real-time compensation data than any other website, Salary.com helps you determine your exact pay target.
Advantages of a Medical Billing and Coding Profession!
A medical billing and coding career can be a desirable career path for many people interested in the healthcare industry. Medical and billing coding professionals are the ones who process and code health insurance claims, manage patient bills, and track quality assessments. These healthcare professionals work behind-the-scenes to help maintain the accuracy and integrity of the billing functions of healthcare providers.
Are you curious to know more about the role medical billing & coding specialists play in the healthcare industry? Read ahead to find out five advantages of choosing this career path:
1. A crucial role
Medical billing & coding specialists play a crucial role in the healthcare industry. It’s their responsibility to make sure that health claims are processed and coded accurately so that insurance companies and healthcare providers are reimbursed for the correct amount. They also want to make sure they code correctly so patients aren’t over-charged for routine appointments. Many medical billing & coding specialists may gain a sense of pride knowing they are helping with the daily practices of the healthcare industry.
2. An independent career path
A medical billing & coding career is one that needs minimum supervision. This career allows for an independent work style. Throughout the day, these professionals work within electronic databases to access medical bills and insurance claims. Sometimes, they may use apps or a coding manual to help them look up medical and diagnostic codes they may need to enter into the database. You will have all the tools you need to start processing claims on your own. However, supervisors are there to help if you ever have a question or problem. You also don’t have to interact face-to-face with patients. If independence is an ideal career trait, then this may be a good career path to consider.
3. Positive job outlook
The Occupational Outlook Handbook expects medical billing and coding careers to grow by 15 percent from 2014-2024. This growth rate is faster than the average for all other jobs. The handbook expects the baby boomer population to need more healthcare services as they age and grow more susceptible to illnesses. Therefore, the demand for more medical coding specialists to process claims and bills is predicted to grow.
4. Potential to work out of the office
Every medical billing & coding employer will offer different benefits. However, this independent career path may offer more of an opportunity to work from home. All you will need is a computer, telephone, high-speed internet, and a coding manual that will assist you when you look up codes. If you dislike waking up earlier and going into the office, this career path may be a desirable one. As long as you can stay productive throughout the work day, then this benefit could be ideal. After you get a job offer, ask your employer if they allow specialists to work from home –and about any other benefits–before you decide to take the position.
5. Short training program
A medical billing & coding training program can give you the ability to start working in a relatively short amount of time. Like many other training programs in this field, Branford Hall offers students a medical billing & coding certificate program that may be completed in about a year. This training program can help prepare you for the workforce and you can learn all the skills you need to know to start searching for a job right away!