Here we present the basics of medical coding. Recording and maintaining accurate and complete medical records can be a matter of life and death for patients. Herein lies the work of a professional medical coder in doctors’ offices, clinics, and hospitals. Every patient can thank coders for their diligence in keeping their records up to date and medical billers for accurately filing their claims.
When we visit a physical or receive medical treatment, we are unaware of what coders and billers do behind the scenes. Their work is indispensable to their employers because they maintain databases for future reference. Positions are widely available across many cities and states as our population grows and ages and as workers retire. As you explore the basics of this career, you may find it is what you are looking for.
The Basics of Medical Coding
Medical coders and billers create and maintain vital records in medical and dental facilities. Coders translate doctors’ and nurses’ notes and report into an alphanumeric code used universally in the healthcare industry. Their college Certificate training gives them plenty of practice to gain a strong working knowledge of this position.
Coders maintain a database of information for current and future use by doctors, including:
- Personal medical history
- Family medical history
- Examinations & diagnoses
- Treatments & procedures
- Medications & surgeries
- Supplies & follow-up visits
These professionals work from their employers’ offices and some from their homes. Coders must be detail-oriented and keep patients’ best interests at heart. They maintain confidentiality and disclose their work only to authorized users.
Basics of Medical Coding Include Medical Billing
Medical billers are the second half of an indispensable record-keeping team. Their primary duty is filing patient claims based on coders’ statements with insurance companies but it also includes:
- Billing Medicare, Medicaid, and the Veterans Administration
- Keeping records of all charges for each patient
- Rebilling if mistakes are made
- Notifying patients of balances due
- Turning patient bills over to collection agencies when necessary
Medical billers keep the cash flowing for their medical facilities. They report their billing and payment results to the accounting and finance department.
|“Recording and maintaining accurate and complete medical records can be a matter of life and death for patients. Every patient can thank coders for their diligence in keeping their records up to date and medical billers for accurately filing their claims.”|
Where Medical Coding Professionals Work
If you are pursuing a career in medical coding and billing, it will be helpful to know where you can work. Where you work depends on your training, experience, certifications, and recommendations. The typical medical facilities where positions are available include:
- Doctors’ Offices ● Medical Clinics
- Health Departments ● Physical Therapy Clinics
- Blood Banks ● Trauma Centers
- Mental Health Clinics ● Birthing Centers
- Hospitals ● Emergency Clinics
- Diabetes Centers ● Dialysis Centers
- Hospice Homes ● Addiction Treatment Clinics
This is not an all-inclusive list of medical facilities where coders and billers work, but it will give you a broad overview. Your college student services office will point you toward employers and positions for which you are best qualified.
What You Learn In Training
Students typically complete training for a Certificate in Medical Coding in less than one year. It is a fast-track educational program for working in healthcare. You can expect to learn:
- Medical terminology, law, and ethics
- ICD-10 and CPT coding procedures
- Essential computer software
- Professionalism in a healthcare setting
- Medical billing procedures
- Record keeping and reporting
Students also learn to interpret complex medical documents accurately. They develop strong organizational skills to manage large volumes of data effectively. Students receive hands-on training and individualized mentoring to grasp the knowledge and skills required of them.
Income, Benefits, and Working Conditions
Medical coders and billers are classified as medical records specialists. Their incomes are competitive and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for 2021 was $46,660 per year. California pays the most with an average of $67,660 per year. Higher wages come with larger workloads and higher costs of living in the area.
Entry-level specialists typically start with a basic employee benefits package. With increased expertise and experience, benefits and income will increase. Most of the work is conducted at a computer station and most employees work full-time in a positive setting. If you enjoy helping people in a healthcare setting without getting directly involved with patients, this may be the right career for you. Contact us today at (877) 591-1070 for more information!
For more information about graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information, please visit our website: https://www.iticollege.edu/disclosures