If you are in the process of choosing a career path and have decided that you like the sound of a medical coding job, you might be wondering what the job entails and whether it is difficult to do. Below is a guide to medical coding as well as what is involved.
What is Medical Coding?
Medical coding is the practice of translating a patient file into specific coding as required by a medical biller, who will then raise an invoice to send to the insurance company for payment. So every time a patient receives medical care, every aspect of the visit and treatment will be coded and billed separately.
There are different types of classification codes used by medical coders, including ICD 10 Codes, HCPCS codes, and CPT codes. Coders must use a specific code for every aspect of the visit. This will include the consultation, the initial diagnosis, any lab tests that were performed, medication provided, hospital stays, etc.
Where Do Medical Coders Work?
Medical coders are required by healthcare providers throughout the U.S. and in other parts of the world. Some healthcare facilities hire in-house coders while others outsource their coding to dedicated medical coding and billing companies.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Medical Coder?
Some healthcare providers will hire people to work as medical coders with a high school diploma, although for most individuals some further education is required. Medical coders can obtain a certificate in medical coding, an associate degree, or an undergraduate degree with a certificate program (which is the fastest route into the profession).
Those with the higher-level degrees are likely to earn more at entry level than those who have come straight from school and who require training. You will need to have a knowledge of medical terminology and be able to navigate the coding systems and structures.
Is it Hard Being a Medical Coder?
Being a medical coder can sometimes be a stressful job as there are deadlines to meet and because it is vital that codes are correct. Failure to use the correct coding could mean an insurance payment is delayed or the claim is completely rejected, resulting in a loss of revenue for your employer.
There is a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of the medical coder in terms of accuracy and it can be very daunting getting to grips with medical coding in the beginning. However, it is not as difficult as it once was thanks to online databases such as those at Find-A-Code.com, which make it easier to look up diagnostic codes and medical billing codes.
Learning the different coding systems and when to use them is an important part of the medical coder’s job, and it can be challenging. Nevertheless, as is the case with most jobs, the longer you are doing it the more familiar the coding structures become and the easier the job is to do.
It is also worth noting that the medical coding system changes with time, so it is important to be flexible and keep up with changes to government regulations, etc. This helps to ensure that coding is always accurate.
What are the Benefits of Working as a Medical Coder?
Medical coding is a remarkably interesting career choice and one that has many benefits. It offers a competitive salary and the opportunity to learn and progress. Many people who entered the role straight from high school have gone on to become medical coding supervisors or managers. Some have even set up their own companies providing coding services to medical facilities around the country.