The workflow of the healthcare industry is such that it has given rise to the need for medical billing and coding specialists. They are not directly attached with patient care but work in real-world healthcare environment. In fact we can’t imagine this industry without the active participation of medical billing coding specialist. They tie the bond between healthcare provider and insurer. They are the trained professionals who know how to maintain a constant and dependable stream of reimbursement from the insurer.
Role of Medical Billing and Coding Specialists
In order to get paid for the medical expenses, hospitals and other healthcare organizations need to prepare and submit detailed insurance claims along with the supporting documents. Every day, a few hundred patients visit with each requiring a different medical care and treatment and also covering various kinds of healthcare plans. It is next to impossible for that organization to assemble a detailed bill for each patient visiting to them on daily basis. In this situation, medical coder and medical billing specialist work together in preparing insurance claims on behalf of the healthcare provider.
To establish a standardized process for medical billing, CPT codes have been introduced, some pertaining to international standard codes for different treatments while others are country specific codes for medical supplies and other services. These codes need to be followed when developing medical bills. The bills are developed as per the codes assigned to the appropriate services rendered. These are then checked by the insurance companies and payment is released if the codes are found appropriate as per the patient’s ailment.
Increasing Demand of Medical Billing and Coding Specialists
As the healthcare industry is moving into the digital era of health records and data management, the positions for billing and coding specialists is increasing by hundreds. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the opening up of job opportunities for health information and medical records technicians. The necessity of medical coders is expected to increase by twenty percent by 2018. This is an increase rate that is higher than other occupations. There are other factors that contribute to the increase in the role of such specialists. Medical tests have increased and so have medical procedures and treatments. The aging population and longer life span as well as expansion of medical facilities are expected to contribute to the creation of jobs for billing and coding specialists. Find out the
Need For Specialized TrainingThere are professional organizations in the healthcare industry which offer certification programs. The medical coders can avail of such courses in order to make their resumes stand out from the crowd. Those who hold accredited associate degrees are offered the title of Registered Health Information Technicians by the American Health Information Management Association. The other organizations that offer specialized certification programs for such professionals are Board of Medical Specialty Coding and Professional Association of Healthcare Coding Specialists. On the job training and apprenticeship is offered to the medical billing and coding specialists by the different healthcare institutions.
Salary TrendsThose who are considering the profession of medical billing and coding specialists would like to know the kind of salaries earned in such occupation. As per the recent job surveys, an average salary figure of $40,000 was earned by such professionals in 2011 and the figures have been increasing steadily since then. As per the training and certification obtained by such professionals, the earnings vary such as:
- CPC certified coders can earn around $42,000 per year
- Medical records technician coders can earn around $51,000 per year
- Medical billers and coders without formal training can expect to earn around $29,000 per year
Geographical location plays a key role in salary trends as well. New Jersey is known to offer the highest mean wages for such professionals while places like West Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana are known to offer less than $30000 as annual wages to such professionals.
Salary Trends As Per Qualification And Experience
They also need to understand the various requirements for managing information in healthcare systems. They specialize in the medical code language and they need to master the art of assigning appropriate codes to the medical services and facilities provided. The medical billing and coding salaries averaged fifty one thousand dollars in 2011. Those who are certified earn at least ten thousand dollars more annually than their non certified counterparts. As per the current trends, medical billing and coding specialist with at least twenty years of experience in the industry make more than fifty thousand per year. Thus, the experience and the qualification do matter in the medical billing and coding salary trends.