Written by: Rebecca Sandoval, Department Director, Medical Billing Department
Medical Billing and Coding: One of the Fastest Growing Careers
This is such an exciting time to enter the field of Medical Billing & Coding! This industry is projected to be among the fastest-growing industries overall. Outpatient settings, otherwise known as “Ambulatory Care Settings”, including offices of health practitioners, are expected to grow the fastest, as well as to be the largest sources of future employment growth.
Outpatient and Ambulatory Care settings include:
· Physicians’ Offices: This is one of the fastest ways to gain the experience needed to move forward in your career. In the physician’s office, you’ll be exposed to many aspects of the business side of the medical field. Getting this type of training is exciting because you will gain an understanding of the flow of patients, knowledge of medical forms, learn the nuances of insurance plans, develop a strong understanding of medical terminology, and gain knowledge of the laws and guidelines that need to be followed in dealing with patients. This environment will keep you challenged and provide an opportunity to deepen your learning.
· Same-day Surgery Centers: Patients who are scheduled at a same-day surgery center don’t need to be admitted to a hospital for an overnight stay. Staff will work closely with the physicians, nurses, patients, and insurance companies. A variety of surgical procedures are performed in same-day surgery centers, which makes it interesting, challenging, and exciting.
· Medical Billing Companies: Medical billing companies are a great way to gain knowledge with both Medical Billing and Coding. These types of companies contract with physicians and other healthcare providers, and facilities, to perform the coding, billing, and accounts receivable management for those providers. This environment provides a great opportunity to gain knowledge and experience in a variety of career-oriented positions.
The Medical Billing & Coding program at Laurus College is career-focused and prepares you for an exciting career in the field of Medical Billing & Coding. While this field is called “billing & coding,” these are two very distinct careers, each equally important and in-demand. Additionally, upon graduating from Laurus College, you should have the skills to enter this field in many different entry-level positions. Billing & Coding Specialists are not limited to billing or coding jobs, and often obtain employment in various healthcare positions such as:
· Medical Records Clerk: If you want to gain knowledge of medical records–which is crucial for any healthcare facility–this is the position for you. This position is responsible for filing various medical forms, retrieving any records needed, and preparing medical records for upcoming visits. You will also be responsible for maintaining patient medical records’ confidentiality and communicating with physicians in regards to documentation missing or needed for the patient visit.
· Health Insurance Specialist: This position carries many responsibilities, such as reviewing patient records using medical coding procedures, examining claims, and verifying insurance benefits, as well as, recording medical charges, payments, and adjustments. The specialist is also responsible for detecting any coding errors.
· Medical Scribe: Medical scribe is a new and upcoming position in the medical field. The main function of this position is to increase the quality of care given to patients. The Medical Scribe accompanies the physician seeing patients. The Scribe documents what the doctor is doing, directly into the patient’s medical record or electronic medical record (EHR). During the patient encounter, the doctor will recite the patient’s past medical history, social history, family history, physical examination, as well as procedures, lab and x-ray results, and any other information having to do with the patient’s encounter, while the Scribe enters this information into the medical record in real-time. By having a Scribe take over these documentation duties, the physician can focus on patient care and not paperwork. You will be the doctor’s personal administrative assistant, which gives you one-on-one time with the doctor and a chance to deepen your learning.
As you grow your career and gain experience, career advancement opportunities will also grow. You will learn important skills at Laurus College, such as:
● Accurate claim form completion
● Knowledge of how medical insurance works and how plan options and carrier requirements differ
● Knowledge of medical terminology
● How to create appeals to claim denials
● Knowledge of Explanations of Benefits (EOB)
● How to work with Aging Reports
● Medical records filing systems and regulations
● Posting and applying insurance and patient payments
● Differences between CPT and ICD codes, and how to correctly assign these codes
● An understanding of modifiers and when and how to use them
● Knowledge and understanding of HIPAA guidelines
As in any new career, new graduates begin in entry-level positions, then “grow” their career in the direction that interests them. Your training and education in this program gives you an edge when applying for billing positions. If coding interests you, you will steer your career in that direction, gaining on-the-job experience as you go. In a smaller setting, the medical biller and medical coder may be the same person, but usually, they are different people who work together to make sure claims are paid properly.
Medical Billers prepare and submit claims to insurance companies for services rendered by a doctor or other healthcare provider. The biller follows up on the claims, making sure the practice receives reimbursement for the work the doctor or other provider performed. A biller uses their understanding of medical insurance, claims, appeals, and contracted agreements to maximize the practice’s revenue and success.
Coding is more specific as far as hands-on experience goes. Students interested in coding will steer their entry-level positions in that direction, seeking jobs with exposure to coding, in order to gain more coding experience. The liability with assigning codes is high; coding positions are usually achieved after being in the field for a while, with on-the-job exposure to coding. Most providers prefer to hire a certified coder, and coding certification exams require a year or more of on-the-job coding experience.
The Laurus College Career Services Department can help students search for jobs that expose you to coding as a part of planning a coding career. For students looking to fast-track their way to coding certification, the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) has Coding Apprentice certifications. Experience is not necessary to sit for an apprentice exam. Those who pass this exam and do not yet have the on-the-job experience required for certification will be designated as an apprentice on their certificate. For more information on the apprentice certifications offered by AAPC, as well as the requirements for removing the Apprentice designation, visit the AAPC website: https://www.aapc.com/certification/apprentice_status.aspx
This is such a great time to enter the field of Medical Billing & Coding! Upon earning your Associate degree from Laurus College, you will be eligible to enter a career field with:
● Excellent growth
● Multiple career options
● Career advancement possibilities
● Excellent pay
Students wanting to continue their education beyond the Associate degree can choose to continue at Laurus College to earn their Bachelor’s degree in either Information Technology or Business. Either degree is a good complement to the Medical Billing & Coding degree for those students with a goal of management positions, or for those wanting to explore Health Information Technology – a fast-growing, very exciting new area in the Medical field! Congratulations on beginning your journey to a new career! Your team (Instructors, Career Services, Student Services, Student Advisors and more!) is ready to help you reach your goals! Let’s get started!
For more information on Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, visit the BLS.gov web site: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292071.htm#ind
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