Like with many fields of health care, those interested in medical billing and coding will need to gain additional education from a college, a training program, or a university. It requires a certification or associate’s degree to get into the field. Students should expect courses like anatomy, physiology, medical coding, healthcare statistics, and computer sciences. High School students looking to enter the field should consider taking classes such as health computer sciences, biology, and math before entering a medical billing and coding program in Pennsylvania.
According to current projection, technical positions within the healthcare industry will be among some of the fastest growing during the 2014 to 2024 decade. The population of adults 65 and over is projected to grow by over 10 million by 2024. This population increase will result in a greater need for medical services and trained individuals capable of handling insurance and client file information.
When you make the choice to pursue a career in the medical billing industry, you will find yourself in the position to begin pursuing a career that is geared toward mathematics and cold, hard data. In order to be successful, you will need to be aware of the various changing laws and rules related to medical billing and coding. This is because failure to follow these rules and laws can result in federal charges against you or the facility that employs you. When you choose your program, make sure that it is teaching the most current codes and billing techniques used in the industry.
Venturing into the field of medical billing is a competitive undertaking that tends to open many doors in the professional life of those who choose to work in the profession. Given the lucrative nature of the occupation, most others taking part in the field will be ferociously competing against you. There are medical coders who work for billing companies, insurance companies, private hospitals, nursing homes, and some who are self-employed and work from home. Because of the recent changes in federal law, more people have access to insurance and doctors. This has created a bigger demand for qualified medical coders and billers.
On the job, a medical records and health information technician will be required to organize and manage health information data by making sure that it maintains its quality, accuracy, security, and accessibility in both electronic systems and paper files. They make use of various classification systems to code and categorize patient information for insurance reimbursement purposes, to maintain patients’ medical and treatment histories, and for databases and registries.
Specifically, health information technicians generally perform the following tasks: they review the records of patients for completeness, accuracy, timeliness, and appropriateness of data; they organize and maintain data for clinical registries and databases; they track the outcomes of patients’ cases for quality assessment; the utilize classification software in order to assign the appropriate clinical codes for reimbursement and data analysis; they electronically record data for collection, storage, analysis, reporting, and retrieval; finally, they maintain confidentiality of patients’ records. Furthermore, health information technicians are required to document the health information of patients. This is included (but not limited to) their medical history, symptoms, examination and test results, treatments, and other relevant information pertaining to healthcare services that are provided to patients. The duties of a healthcare information technician will vary depending on the employer and by the size of the facility in which a given employee works.
Laws in the medical industry change fast. It’s important that you stay up to date on all of the changes that are made. It is of vital importance that you also attend continuing education opportunities to ensure that you’re performing your job in an accurate way.
Despite the fact that health information technicians who specialize in billing and coding do not provide direct patient care, they work regularly with registered nurses and other such healthcare professionals. This is done in order to clarify diagnoses or as a method to obtain additional information in order to make certain that records are complete and accurate.
The ever climbing adaption and utilization of electronic health records (EHRs) are predicted to constantly modify the job responsibilities of health information technicians. Technicians will be required to have a degree of familiarity with, or at least be able to learn, EHR computer software, follow EHR security and privacy practices and procedures, and analyze electronic data in order to improve healthcare information. Such skills will become in much more high demand as a rapidly growing number of healthcare providers and hospitals continue to adopt EHR systems.
However, “health information technician” is a broad term. This is due to the fact that a health information technician is able to specialize in many aspects of health information. For example, some work as medical coders (sometimes referred to as “coding specialists”) or as cancer registrars. Medical coders are typically obliged to perform a variety of tasks, such as review patient information for preexisting conditions (such as diabetes); assign appropriate procedure codes and diagnoses for patient care, billing purposes, and population health statics; and, last, work as a liaison between the billing offices and the health clinician. On the other hand, cancer registrars are subject to perform such tasks as reviewing patients’ pathology reports and records in order to verify accuracy and completeness; assign classification codes to represent the diagnosis and treatment of benign tumors and cancers; conduct annual follow ups to track survival, treatment, and recovery; analyze and compile cancer patient information for the purposes of research; and, lastly, maintain facility, regional, and national databases of cancer patients.
Commonly known as health information technicians, you will organize and manage patient health information. They ensure that all paperwork contains accurate, accessibility for medical professionals, security from other outside sources, and quality of patient files in both paper and electronic formats. Health information technicians use multiple classification system codes and classifications for insurance reimbursement purposes, as well as, databases, and registries for maintain patient records, and billing.
Although it is not necessary to receive a certification for medical billing and coding, it’s important that you know that optional certifications do exist. These certifications can make you more marketable and give you the edge when you’re looking for work. There are several organizations that provide certifications for medical coding and billing.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the future of medical billing is very promising. Employment growth is projected 15% within the next eight years. The percentage of growth in the medical billing field is growing, and anticipation of growth due to the growing age of many of the older generations. Furthermore, the amount of individuals who have access to health insurance is expected to continue on its strong upward trend thanks in large part to the federal health insurance reform. This, of course, translates into more claims for reimbursement on the part of insurance companies. An overflow of records, paired with the extensive utilization of electronic health records by many types of healthcare providers, will result in a heavily increased need for technicians to organize and manage the associated information in all areas of the healthcare industry. Furthermore, cancer registrars are projected to continue to be in high demand. Throughout the aging process of the population at large, there is a high likelihood that there will be more kinds of special purpose registries. This is due to the fact that many illnesses are detected and treated later in a person’s life.
To elaborate, the medical field is a growing profession. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that healthcare occupations and industries (obviously including medical records and health information technicians) are expected to possess the fasted employment growth and to add the most jobs to the United States between 2014 and 2024. Indeed, this industry is extremely lucrative and surpasses all other industries as of Tuesday, December 8, 2015. Furthermore, through a variety of cause and effect factors, the healthcare industry is predicted to provide a gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 2.2% annually over the course of the next decade. Anyone who takes up a career in medical coding and billing is securing their future and setting themselves up for success.
Within the industry, the healthcare and social assistance major sector is predicted to take its place as the largest employing major sector for the projections decade; it will overtake the state and local government major sector as well as the business services major sector. Healthcare and social assistance is expected to grow in its employment share from 12.0% as of 2014 to 13.6% in 2024.
Average yearly salary for medical billing in Pennsylvania as of May 2015 is $37,110 per year, or on average $17.84 per hour. The average yearly salary for medical billing varies based on the place of employment and the industries in which the employee works. Those in professional, scientific, and technical services make $40,790 per year. Workers in hospitals (of state, local, and private classifications) earn $39,570 per year. In administrative and support services, workers will find themselves earning around $36,630 per year. Those in nursing care facilities (specifically, skilled nursing facilities) will make $35,270 in a year. Finally, those working in the offices of physicians make the least out of the listed place of employment or industry, pulling in only $32,080. It is worth noting that the vast majority of health information technicians work full time. In healthcare facilities that are open on a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week basis (such as hospitals), technicians are prone to working evening or overnight shifts.
Degree & Licenses
Typically, those wishing to pursue a career in medical billing and coding are required to hold a certificate of completion of some sort of training in order to enter the occupation, though some may be required to have an associate’s degree. Often, employers prefer people with additional voluntary certifications. To elaborate on the requirement for a postsecondary certificate: postsecondary certificate (as well as associate’s degree programs in medical billing and coding will generally include courses in medical terminology, coding and classification systems, health data standards and requirements, anatomy and physiology, healthcare reimbursement methods, computer systems, and, finally, healthcare statistics. Despite this vast list of requirements, a high school diploma or general equivalency degree (as well as previous experience in a healthcare setting) may be sufficient enough to qualify an applicant to qualify for some positions. However, the vast majority of jobs in the medical billing and coding sector require postsecondary education.
Furthermore, most employers have a tendency to medical billing and coding experts who have certification—that, or they expect applicants to earn certification shortly after they are hired. Important certifications include the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) and the Certified Rumor Registrar (CTR).
Aside from degrees and licenses, those who wish to enter into the field should possess a plethora of important qualities—qualities that may be contingent on them securing the job as opposed to one competing for the same position. These qualities are included, but not limited to the following characteristics:
• Analytical skills, which a medical billing and coding specialist should possess in order to be able to understand and follow medical records and diagnoses and how to best code them in a patient’s medical records;
• A detail-oriented mindset which is required for a medical coding and billing clerk to be accurate when recording and coding a patient’s information.
• Integrity is important to a current or potential practitioner of this field because medical billing and coding professionals are required by law to keep patient data confidential. You should always exercise a sense of caution and possess a strong recognition of ethics while working with this information in order to protect the confidentiality of patients.
• Interpersonal skills are required for a medical coding and billing clerk to be able to discuss patient information data requirements and discrepancies with other professionals.
• Technical skills are necessary in order for medical coding and billing technicians to utilize coding and classification software and the electronic health record (HER) system that their place of employment may have adopted.