Medical Billing Coding Specialist Jobs --Is One Right For You?

Medical Billing Coding Specialist Jobs are in the fast-growing healthcare industry, which is expected to add jobs at a double-digit rate over the next few years. This makes it a great career option to explore. These jobs go beyond plain-vanilla medical billing to also encompass the medical coding side of the industry, and thus requiring additional training.

Nature of the Work as a Coding Specialist

People employed in Medical Billing Coding Specialist Jobs work in a medical office setting, usually either in a hospital or doctor office, but sometimes in outpatient clinics, long term care facilities, dental offices, or insurance companies. When a patient visits their doctor, each service provided has a specific numeric code attached to it. After a patient visit, a medical coding specialist evaluates the medical records generated to ensure the procedure codes are complete and accurately reflect the care given.Because accuracy is key to the medical provider being paid accurately, mastery of the appropriate codes is key.

Coding Specialists then accurately assign and sequence the correct International Classification of Diseases Manual - Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) and the American Medical Association's Current Procedural Terminology manual (CPT) codes to submit to private insurance companies as well as Medicare and Medicaid.

In addition, medical coding specialists evaluate records, follow up on denied claims or other coding issues, and assist data processing staff in updating and revising the computer master file. The information compiled by the medical coders is also used to prepare statistical reports for use by clinic and hospital administrators for planning, marketing, and other management purposes.

Training and Qualifications Required

Qualified candidates for medical billing coding specialist jobs have knowledge of ICD-9-CM, and CPT coding guidelines, medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, and Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement guidelines.

They may hold an Accredited Record Technician's certification (ART) or Certified Coding Specialist designation (CCS) issued by the American Health Information Management Association, or they will have two years experience in medical records coding, or a combination of experience, education and training.

Opportunity For Advancement

With experience, medical coding specialists usually advance either by specializing or becoming a manager. In a large facility, opportunities to advance may include becoming a section supervisor overseeing work in coding, correspondence or discharge sections, for example. In addition, senior coders may become director or assistant director of a medical records and health information department in a small facility.

Long Term Job Outlook

Medical billing coding specialist jobs creation is expected to be excellent over the next few years, making it a solid long term opportunity. With insurance companies and the government increasingly scrutinizing medical records in an effort to control costs, the demand for medical coding specialists is on the rise. Since the healthcare industry overall is experiencing robust growth, medical coding specialist opportunities will also continue to increase proportionally; growth is expected to be in the double digits over the next ten years.

Salary/Earnings Potential

The average medical coding specialist salary is around $31,000, with a salary range of $23,500-$39,700, depending on area of the country, specific job setting, and experience attained.

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