Introduction to Medical Coding
Medical coders are people who work in the billing or back office of medical practices or hospitals. They play a significant role in completing, reviewing, as well as processing medical claims. This, in turn, assist hospitals and physician practices get reimbursed from insurance companies and government healthcare programs for facilities and services they provide to patients. No single health care organization can operate without a medical coder.
Medical coders work in clinics, hospitals, and physicians’ offices with the aim of obtaining precise reimbursement for healthcare claims. They make use of certain software that is solely for specialized medical classifications. The software helps you in assigning procedure and diagnostic codes for insurance billing. As a medical coder, you will also be required to review claims data in order to determine whether the assigned codes comply with set legal and insurance rules. Similarly, you should also ensure that all required authorizations and signatures are in place prior to any submission. Again, you should conduct medical records research and contacts healthcare professionals and insurance companies if a claim is denied due to incorrect coding. You must keep abreast of new interpretations and rules since codes continually and constantly change with time.
Working conditions for medical coders
If you pursue a career in medical coding you should be prepared to work in any type of health care facility like hospitals, surgery centers, doctor’s offices, and health care systems. Also, if you are experienced coders you can comfortably work from home as a contract worker or through an employer.
Educational requirements for a medical coder
You must have a high school diploma and pass an accredited program in medical coding for you to qualify to be a medical coder. In general, you must complete a 2-year program that enable you obtain an associate’s degree in medical coding. General course work in medical coding incorporate several classes in medical terminology, computer data entry, as well as in privacy and ethics among others. Accredited course in medical coding cost between 1000 and 2000 USD. Certification from AAPC (American Academy of Professional Coders) helps medical coders advance their career opportunities. If you want to be a Certified Professional Coder (CPC) you should meet certain criteria; you must have a current AAPC membership, successful passage of an exam, an associate’s degree in medical coding, as well as two years of experience as a medical coder. As a CPC you must submit 36 units of your continuing course after every two years for recertification and maintain an annual membership in the AAPC.
Medical coders have the opportunity to pursue lucrative and higher-level careers in medical office management. However, as a medical coder you will have limited interaction with your patients. Therefore, if you’re a person who’d rather not interact with patients or work in a stressful environment, then this is the job for you. If you desire to work in an office based environment with fixed job hours and no long calls, medical coding job is exactly what you are looking for.