Are you one of those people who still think that medical billing and coding are the same careers? It's just a misconception. Both fields are entirely different from each other. However, it has been observed that people are more curious about knowing the answer of: what does a medical coder do?
Because due to the growing complexities in the field of medical coding i.e. adaptation to ICD-10 codes, have increased the demand for certified medical coders. As accurate medical coding is crucial from a compliance perspective too, healthcare providers don't rely on inexperienced people.
Along with avoiding financial loss, medical fraud prevention has become a major factor that makes medical coding more important than ever before. So, in order to get completely reimbursed and save their practice from healthcare frauds such as; upcoding, under coding, unbundling, etc. Medical practitioners prefer to hire well-experienced coders, having in-depth knowledge about the latest coding classifications.
So, the market for coding jobs witnesses a surge in terms of new job opportunities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were an estimated 215,500 medical coding jobs in 2018. And this trend is expected to grow by 13 percent by 2028. This growth rate is much faster than the average as compared to the other fields.
Before diving into further discussions let it be clear that medical coding is the procedure of translating patients' diagnosis, injuries, treatments and medical services, performed during a patient's visit into universal medical alphanumeric codes.
On the other hand, medical billing is the process of preparing, filing clean medical claims and following up with the insurance companies to get payments for the healthcare services rendered.
What Are the Responsibilities Of Medical Coders?
What are the major duties of a medical coder? It is the most frequently asked question as a large number of people are showing interest in starting their career as a coder.
It is the best field for those, who have no interest in patient care and performing medical obligations. But still, they want to enter this profession. Medical coders are part of the healthcare administrative teams, who are responsible for the following tasks:
- Careful analysis of medical records and identifying documentation deficiencies.
- They extract information about a particular injury, treatment, medical procedures and services from medical record documentation i.e transcription of physician's notes, laboratory and radiologic results, etc.
- Reviews and verifies documentation support diagnoses, procedures and treatment results.
- Assigning precise and accurate diagnostic codes by using CPT, ICD-10 and HCPCS Level II classification systems to describe the medical procedures etc.
Topmost Qualities of a Successful Medical Coder?
After searching for the responsibilities of medical coders? The next question that comes to mind is the qualities and skills that make a medical coder successful.
There is no "typical" prototype in this field but there are some traits and skills that can help you to reach the peak of your career as a medical coder. For instance, first of all, medical coders must have a strong ethical standard as they deal with highly confidential patients' healthcare information.
However, the analysis of nearly 17,000 medical coding job postings from the past 4 years, indicates that the recruiters are looking for the following technical and transferable skills in a professional medical coder.
Top technical skills:
- Diagnostic Coding.
- Procedural Coding.
- CPT coding.
- Inpatient coding.
- Outpatient coding.
- Anatomy, Physiology, and Pathophysiology.
- HCPCS coding.
- Billing and Coding Application.
- Introduction to Healthcare Communication.
- Medical Terminology.
- Medical Law and Ethics.
- Records Management.
- Customer billing.
Top transferable skills:
- Analytical skills
- Ability to face evolving challenges.
- Ability to adapt to new technologies.
- Strong Communication skills.
- Able to retain information easily.
- Research skills.
- Computer literacy.
- Attention to detail.
If you possess these transferable skills, you can definitely begin your career as a medical coder. You just need a complete understanding of what does a medical coder do. If you have a passion for this job, then don't worry about the technical skills, you can acquire these skills through formal training and education.
Where Do Coders Work?
As we have already discussed the latest healthcare reforms, strict policies established by the regulatory authorities & insurance companies have made it crucial for healthcare providers to hand over their coding tasks to the highly trained medical coders.
Furthermore, the growing trend of implementing electronic health records (EHR) also leads to a greater demand for medical coders, who can manage the large flow of data in terms of patients' healthcare records etc. So, all these factors continue to drive demand for medical billers and coders across the world, particularly in the United States.
However, it's another major misconception that coders can only work in hospitals or medical offices. Now the scenario has been changed. There are many other organizations that are acquiring the services of coders to get things done accurately.
As a medical coder you can work in the following professional settings:
- Acute care hospitals.
- Physician offices.
- Independent/associated laboratories.
- Rehab facilities.
- Psychiatric hospitals.
- Government entities i.e. Medicare, Medicaid.
- Insurance companies.
- Urgent care facilities.
- Pharmaceutical manufacturers.
- Law firms also hire medical coders to identify healthcare billing fraud.
How Can You Become a Medical Coder?
Have you got complete information about the job description as well as the duties of a medical coder? If yes then you must look for the educational requirements to land in the coding field.
There are no specific degree requirements to become a medical coder. You can get your dream job by earning medical coding certifications from renowned and reliable community colleges or training schools. It's pertinent to mention here that every billing and coding certification requires a high school education or equivalent.
Here is the list of the following certifications that can help you to achieve your career goals as a medical coder.
- Certified Coding Associate (CCA)
- Certified Coding Specialist (CCS)
- Certified Coding Specialist -Physician-based (CCS-P)
- Certified Outpatient Coder(COC)
- Certified Inpatient Coder (CIC)
- Certified Professional Coder-payer (CPC-P)
- Certified Risk Adjustment (CRC)
- Anesthesia and Pain Management (CANPC)
- Specialty Coding Professional (SCP)
- Advanced Coding Specialist (ACS)
If you want to get more information about the responsibilities and job requirements for coding? Then stay in touch with Medical Billing Benefits. It is the most reliable healthcare newswire that has been providing updated information about healthcare reforms, coding, billing, and other happenings in the medical industry. Visit our website to keep yourself up-to-date.