A Healthcare Career With Regular Hours? Exploring careers in Medical Coding and Billing

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Are you interested in healthcare? Realize your full potential with a health information management career. With the number of healthcare procedures increasing as the population ages, there is a very high demand for skilled specialists in patient information technology and medical coding and billing. More and more, the unique work of such medical front office careers is becoming an important contribution to the delivery of quality care. It is expected that over the next 20 to 30 years, these careers will remain in high demand.

So what’s the scoop?

Basically, the healthcare office environment is divided into two distinct areas:

“Front office” personnel work with patient records, insurance billing, computerized accounting, patient databases, transcription of dictated notes, and applying standardized codes to patient records among other activities.

“Back office” personnel are the care providers including physicians, nursing personnel, and a variety of assistant titles.

Medical billers and coders are investigators, hunting down patients’ diagnoses based on lab procedures, signs and symptoms. Medical billing and coding technology is evolving at such a rapid rate, specialists now more than ever need excellent training.

What does a medical
coder do?

Procedurally, the primary role of a medical coder is to ensure accurate documentation of a patient’s diagnosis, prescription or referral. Medical coding regulates the proper use of medical procedures and potentially protects patients from prescription conflicts. This is a critical responsibility in healthcare as a patient’s medical history is important for consistent ongoing healthcare. Furthermore, proper medical coding procedures have the added purpose of ensuring correct patient billing and payment.

Skills, learning and employment opportunities:

Medical coders must be detail oriented, have the ability to work well with numbers, and be comfortable working with computers and various types of medical coding and billing software programs. Although much of the job entails administrative tasks such as reviewing, processing and submitting medical claims, some interpersonal skills are also necessary. Medical coders may be required to obtain additional information from a physician or other medical provider in the office, or may need to contact insurance companies regarding questions about claims.

Midland College’s Medical Coding & Billing program will help you to gain a full understanding of medical records and its importance within any healthcare system. Correct interpretation of a physician’s notes is obviously critical to your patient’s well-being. Therefore, beyond administrative training, learning will include knowledge in the subjects of anatomy, medical terminology and human physiology.

From an employment perspective, medical coding positions are needed in every hospital, medical clinic, physician’s office, nursing home and healthcare agency. Insurance companies that work with healthcare cases may also hire someone with medical coding experience, either on a contract basis or as a full-time employee, if the business is large enough. In hospitals and large agencies where more than one person is required for medical coding, there may be potential for advancement into supervisory or management positions.

Professional medical billers and certified medical coders are paid well, not only for what they do, which is assemble bills, post payments, and reconcile accounts.  They also earn their salaries by being cognizant of the various requirements needed to manage information regarding healthcare delivery. They are masters of the specialized language of medical code, assigning appropriate codes to accurately describe medical services and conditions. The integrity of a medical practice’s interactions with outside entities relies on the successful performance of professional medical billers and certified medical coders.

According to the 2012 annual salary survey conducted by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC), medical coding and billing personnel with an associate degree earned an average of $41,802.

Accredited and online program

And as a final comment… be informed and make wise choices before investing in your career. Don’t be fooled by other educational programs that don’t meet the standards. The Health Information Management program at Midland College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Information and Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) in cooperation with the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).  It is also a completely online program, which means it is perfect for the busy lives of today’s adult learners.  In addition to the Health Information Management Associate degree and the Medical Coding and Billing certificate, there are eight other certificate options from which to choose.  Choose the path which best fits your skills and interests; take classes on your own time; receive personal advisement to ensure your success.   We mean it when we say, “Midland College is Your College!”

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