If you’re interested in a new healthcare job opportunity, you’ve probably thought about a medical billing and coding career. Professionals in this field are responsible for assigning codes to patient visits, diagnoses, and treatments, which are submitted to health insurance companies for reimbursement. Billing and coding professionals insure that the healthcare practice is compensated for the services it provides, making them some of the most important people in a medical office.
Medical billing and coding careers usually require a postsecondary certificate or an associate’s degree. medical billing and coding jobs may suit your goals of preparing for a new career in less time than other degrees. Best of all, some roles can be performed from home, meeting the needs of busy parents or others desiring a more flexible schedule. But what exactly are medical billing and coding jobs, and what do they entail? Read on to learn about some possible positions.
Unlike some medical billing and coding professionals, medical assistants often complete clinical as well as office tasks. They may check vital signs, perform blood tests, collect patient information and medical history, make patient appointments, and manage medical records. In most cases, medical assistants work in a physician’s office, and duties vary by employer. Postsecondary education, along with knowledge of medical billing and coding, is typically a requirement for this career. Certification is optional but preferred. [i]
Medical Records or Health Information Technician
Health information technicians are responsible for the management of health records. They organize critical patient information, like tests, examination results, and medical history, and they’re responsible for keeping hospital databases accurate. An important part of a health information technician’s job is to assign medical codes to patient information, which is necessary for insurance reimbursement. For this medical billing and coding career, you’ll typically need a professional certificate or an associate’s degree. In most cases, you can expect to work in a hospital or physician’s office. [ii]
A cancer registrar is a type of health information technician who specializes in maintaining medical records for cancer patients. Cancer registrars track treatments, recovery, and survival of cancer patients, and they code this information in order to bill insurance companies. They may even be responsible for managing regional and national databases of cancer patients, or analyzing information for research. [ii]
Medical secretaries work in the offices of hospitals and healthcare practices to answer phones, set appointments, transcribe and prepare doctors’ reports, and bill insurance companies for services. Duties vary by position, but medical secretaries must typically have knowledge of medical billing and coding, in addition to an understanding of medical terminology and procedures. Especially if you have prior office experience and wish to enter a more specialized career path, this medical billing and coding job may be for you. [iii]
Medical Coding Specialist
Specialists in the field of medical billing and coding usually have few other duties besides coding. Working for hospitals, physicians, nursing homes, and other facilities, these experts use their knowledge of healthcare terminology and coding to translate medical information into universal codes, track patient data, and bill insurance companies. While certification is not mandatory, becoming a Certified Professional Coder may help you to qualify for more opportunities. [iv]
Medical billing and coding from home
Not all medical billing and coding careers require you to work directly from a physician’s office or hospital. In some cases, you may be able to find positions that offer flexible hours or let you complete your duties at home. Because medical billing and coding mostly requires working in databases and completing coding tasks quickly and accurately, your performance may be more important than your location. An important consideration is a secure internet connection, which is a requirement for HIPAA compliance. Aside from concerns about protecting patient privacy, medical billing and coding jobs are some of the easiest to perform remotely. [v] However, beware of opportunities that sound too good to be true. An employer will likely want you to have proven experience before you are given the flexibility to work from home.
Want to learn more about medical billing and coding careers? Check out some of the postsecondary education programs available in this growing [ii] field. Your knowledge of billing and coding could prepare you for a new and challenging professional path.
[i] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-assistants.htm#tab-1 [ii] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-records-and-health-information-technicians.htm#tab-1 [iii] bls.gov/ooh/office-and-administrative-support/secretaries-and-administrative-assistants.htm#tab-2 [iv] aapc.com/certification/cpc.aspx [v] medicalbillingandcoding.org/qnas/is-medical-billing-a-career-where-i-can-work-from-home/