The Job of a Medical Biller and Coder
As a professional medical coding and billing specialist, you are a master of the medical –specialized language. This career choice involves reviewing medical records and assigning the exact codes to patient’s procedures, assembling bills, posting payments and reconciling accounts. You have the opportunity to either work in-office of healthcare facilities or with experience, work from home. Entry level positions include data entry, collections, payment posting, and claim reconciliation. Professionals who perform these job areas are vital to the medical practice; they are given authority over how healthcare information is reported. The job outlook for this field is excellent due to changes in the health care systems coding manuals.
Internships Create Opportunities
Continuing changes are imminent in health systems, and providers like to hire the best of the best. In order to command a top salary in the course of your career, getting a solid formal education in the basics is a must. The next step you should take is to continue your education and experience. Competition is always a factor in almost any job market, so make yourself marketable. An internship may be the difference between who gets the job. Internships allow you opportunities in many ways. You will get on-the-job experience, being able to actively apply what you learned in a school setting to real time. Even as important, you will be networking. Meeting those who work in the same career arena as you have studied to be in is the win-all. In today’s job market, connections seem to play a big role in securing an entry level position.
Check out your local AAPC (American Association of Professional Coders) chapter for non-paying internships or contact the AHIMA (American Health Information Management Association). Both of these professional organizations have excellent job boards and provide free job resources. Large organizations can offer paying internships and often look for a few ‘green’ coders to train to their specific way of doing things. Check with college boards and professors for available or upcoming internships. Many of volunteer internships are not advertised. Hospitals and private practices also may have on-the-job learning positions. Do not be afraid to ask, and try to remain flexible. If you are eager for the opportunity to gain medical billing and coding experience, earning any kind of experience in the medical field is going to help you. Job shadowing is an option when you cannot commit to an allotted time frame, and if you have a connection with a professional medical biller or coder.
Small employment agencies will sometimes have a job nugget. It may be in a medical records or registration, but this is ideal for a beginner. Job fairs are a great way to network; these people are recruiters looking for the candidate which makes a good impression. Any medical internship is golden on a resume. If you have already got your degree, but are having a hard time securing a great position, externships (after graduate) and volunteering are the essential tools. You can keep applying to companies and still be getting experience, even paid experience. Your earning potential only increases.
The “Seasoned” Professional
What can you expect from a career in medical billing and coding? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics this particular field is in high demand and will continue to grow as the population ages. Certified medical coders with a decade or more of experience have earned in excess of $50,000 per year according to the latest job surveys, the median annual wage is around $34,160 depending on geographical location.
Many professionals eventually open their own consulting business or work from home. An alternative well -paid career path is that of an educator, with many experienced medical professionals training the next generation. Experienced coders can boost their earning potential by becoming peer reviewers, auditors and supervisors. This is a demanding field, but the rewards are huge. Experience will take you to a whole new level. Medical coders and billers, who continue their education through professional associations and seminars, stay on top and in constant demand.
Changes in Coding Means Jobs!
In October of 2015, a new coding standard known as the ICD-10 will be adopted and implementing over 140,000 new codes. This will be a huge change from the ICD-9 which only has a little over 17,000 codes currently used. This is relevant to the field of medical billing and coding because it is expected a coder’s productivity will be reduced by almost 50 percent, which means more coders will have to be hired. Many current seasoned professionals are also considering training their replacements due to the massive amount of new codes to be learned and applied. This headhunt has already begun by many healthcare facilities offering attractive hire packages. If you are considering a career in medical billing and coding, this is an excellent time to enter the field.