Many professionals come together to help make sure today’s healthcare offices run efficiently. This includes medical billers and coders who are responsible for some of the most important administrative tasks in our healthcare industry today. There is a growing number of medical billing and coding jobs available right now and a growing need for individuals to fill these roles as our hospital systems continue to expand.
Medical Billing and Coding Job Description
Medical billing and coding professionals have several responsibilities, but their primary focus is to help update patient medical records and obtain payment for services rendered.
Individuals who work in this field must learn codes for different medical diagnoses and procedures and enter those codes into a patient’s health record. This information is then forwarded to insurance companies, allowing the hospital or medical facility to properly process these healthcare claims and make certain the facility is getting paid for services rendered.
While hospitals are one of the largest employers of medical billing and coding experts, private practices, rehabilitation centers and health departments all have medical billing and coding experts on staff as well.
Depending on the facility, medical billers and coders may fall under a larger administrative team and may have other responsibilities, including secretarial duties as part of their workday as well.
Medical Billers and Coders Salaries
According to the latest information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for individuals in this field is $37,450, however, this number can vary based on a number of factors including where the individual lives and the type of office they work in. This number can also vary based on experience.
Medical billing and coding experts who work for state governments tend to have a higher median income and average of $46,950 per year. Individuals who have industry certifications could have higher earnings as well.
One of the most exciting things about entering into the coding and billing industry is that as the need for hospitals and healthcare facilities grows, so do the opportunities for experts in this line of work.
Almost every hospital and care facility in the country needs a staff of trained professionals in their billing department. There are also private agencies that provide third-party medical billing and coding services as well. Here are a few of the many places that are hiring medical billers and coders right now.
- There is an opening for a full-time Medical Biller and Coder at Utah Pain and Rehab Center in Ogden, UT.
- Louisiana Professional Group is looking to place novice Medical Billing Specialists in offices around New Orleans, providing a great opportunity for entry-level billers and coders.
- City of Hope, a world leader in the research and treatment of cancer, diabetes, and other life-threatening diseases, is often seeking to fill medical billing and coding jobs.
Training and Requirements
To work as a medical biller or coder, any interested individual first needs the proper education. First, interested students need a high school diploma or their GED. While a degree isn’t necessarily required to work in this position, most employers are looking for applicants who have at least an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree.
There are also online programs available for individuals who want to get a degree in medical billing and coding. All programs should be accredited by relevant bodies such as the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education (ABHES).
After graduating from an accredited training program, students should get certified. This is another step that may not be required for smaller offices but is something that many major employers nationwide are looking for.
The American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) has three major certifications that new graduates can get. These are:
- Certified Professional Coder (CPC)
- Certified Coding Associate (CCA)
- Certified Coding Specialist (CCS).
Individuals with experience in medical billing and coding may also want to go back and get additional specialty coding certifications as well if they want a more focused career path in specialty medical coding certifications such as certifications in ambulatory care, anesthesia, or general surgery.
Typical coursework in a medical billing and coding program will include:
- Diagnostic and procedural coding
- Basic computer and technology courses
- Billing and coding application classes
- Introduction to healthcare communication
- Courses on medical terminology, laws, and ethics
- Classes on record management
- Basic anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology classes
- Coursework that covers the basics of healthcare settings, claims cycles, and claims processing procedures.
With the proper training, requirements, and certifications, anyone interested in a stable and rewarding career in medical billing and coding will be well-positioned to find employment opportunities in the healthcare system.