In order for a healthcare provider to be financially compensated for his or her services, there needs to be a medical billing and coding specialist on hand to process the paperwork. Without financial compensation, there’d be no way healthcare facilities would be able to operate. The consequences could lead to not having any healthcare services at all! This should give you an idea of how important a Medical Coding and Billing Specialist is to the healthcare industry, proving it to be one of the most crucial components in the field.
Is a Medical Coder and Billing Specialist Two Separate Jobs?
Yes they are, but one really cannot operate without the other and in most cases, a person can perform both duties. As a result, the titles are usually combined. Here’s how it works:
The job of the Medical Coder is to translate the diagnoses and treatments from a visit into a code that can be shared between all healthcare and insurance companies. Then the Medical Biller takes the translated information to create a claim to submit to insurance companies that will ultimately determine how much they will cover and then disperses an invoice to the patient for the remaining balance.
What Does a Medical Coding and Billing Specialist Actually Do?
- Review patient records for accuracy
- Organize and record data for reporting analysis
- Track patient outcome
- Use classification software to assign clinical codes for reimbursement and analysis purposes.
There are also other titles for Medical Coders and Billing Specialists such as Health Technician or Health Information Tech. So if you’re searching for this kind of job, be sure to consider these other titles as well.
Other Responsibilities of a Medical Coder and Billing Specialist
Medical Coding and Billing Specialists work with healthcare facilities to verify that insurance companies are getting billed correctly. If you ever received healthcare services and had no idea what all those codes on your bill meant, you’re not alone! This is the language of the Medical Coding and Billing Specialist. Unless you’ve gone to school for this, you’re really not expected to understand it!
Reasoning Behind the Code
The healthcare services in the industry alone are complicated. Printing the medical terminology for every patient’s diagnosis would only create more confusion. The healthcare administration has come up with a universal alphanumeric code that relates to certain medical practices and procedures. This makes the bill a little less complicated to read and it’s certainly preferred over long medical terms.
The Purpose of the Medical Coder and Billing Specialist
The Medical Coder and Billing Specialist makes sure that insurance companies know exactly what kind of treatments they’re paying for. This is done by reviewing every patient’s medical records. There, the doctor keeps a record of his or her observations, diagnosis, recommendations and treatments. The Medical Coder and Billing Specialist translate these observations into codes. Those codes are then related to a certain dollar amount that the insurance company receives. The amount that the insurance company and the patient pay is determined by the type of plan the patient has.
Finding the Right College That Offers a Good Medical Coding and Billing Specialist Program
The Medical Coding and Billing Specialist diploma offered at Florida National University (FNU) is designed to prepare students for an entry-level position in the healthcare industry as a Medical Coder, Coding Technician, Coding Clerk, Health Technician and/or Health Information Tech. The job descriptions for these titles may vary, but the core responsibilities will remain the same meaning that you’ll need to understand the medical coding language.
Being a Medical Coding and Billing Specialist requires more than administrative terminology. Working in the healthcare industry, you’ll need to know and understand basic fundamentals of anatomy along with medical office procedures, ethics, and the like.
FNU students will need to complete a minimum of 30 credit hours to complete the program. The diploma can take up to 12 months to complete.
Here is a the list of courses that are offered in this diploma program:
- Introduction Information Technology
- English Composition I
- Medical Terminology
- Basic Anatomy
- General Pharmacology for Health Care Prof
- Ethics and Law
- Medical Office Fundamentals
- Introduction to Health Information Management
- Coding ICD-9-CM
- Coding CPT-4/HCPCS
- Health Insurance Billing
- Coding ICD-10-CM
Getting the Experience You Need
There is a medical externship of 80 hours in clinical rotations that students will need to complete. But in order to be eligible for this externship, students will need to have completed the Basic Life Support (BLS), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) seminars.
The Need for Medical Coders and Billing Specialists
According to the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, Medical Coders and Billing Specialist have the potential to earn approximately $37,110 a year. Also, people in this line of work held about 118,600 jobs in 2014. The need for Medical Coders and Billers is expected to increase at 15% from 2014 to 2024.
FNU is a fully regionally accredited university with 3 campuses in the South Florida area, 2 in Hialeah and 1 in Miami. We encourage you to call any one of our campuses today to schedule a tour. You’ll find that our campuses are close to major highways and that makes for a fairly easy commute. Also as an FNU student, our online and training center is always available to you.
If you’re interested in becoming a Medical Coding and Billing Specialist, and possibly taking some online classes, contact an FNU advisor today.