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MEDICAL CODER OVERVIEW
The medical coding job postings will vary according to the needs of the hiring person / company. This job description is only to give a general idea of the typical skills and requirements for this type of job posting.
For entry level medical coders with the CPC or CCS-P certification exam. Either of these credentials will help you get a job in a doctor’s or physician’s office with a starting salary of $34,000-43,000 per year. Once you gain at least 3-5 years experience as a physician coder, get the CCS certification. This will help you move up to hospital coding with salaries in the range of $44,000 and $57,000 per year.
SCOPE OF JOB DUTIES
Medical coders don’t provide health care, but they do help determine whether patients receive the right treatments. Coders retrieve patient records for doctors and nurses who need to know prior history for future diagnosis and treatment. They also comb through files to look for preexisting conditions. As patients receive care, coders keep track of medical records to document improvement or deterioration in condition. If a patient must be admitted to a hospital or has regained enough health to go home, the coder processes the admission and discharge paperwork.
The successful candidate must possess the following core skills:
- Entry-level positions typically require completion of a certificate or an associate’s degree program in medical billing and coding. These programs introduce students to commonly used classification systems, such as ICD-9, CPT, DSM-IV and HCPCS. Students engage in coursework that covers medical terminology and pathophysiology. They are trained in medical insurance and the various public and private providers, such as Medicare or Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Additionally, medical coders must have an understanding of laws and ethics related to health insurance, medical billing and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). 1 + years experience is required.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employers typically prefer employees with certifications in the field, though this certification is not mandatory. The most common certification examination is the Certified Coding Assistant (CCA), which is administered through the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). This exam is typically taken after graduating from a training program. After acquiring a few years of work experience, technicians are eligible to sit for the Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) examination, which includes either a physician-based or hospital-based option.
Other possible skills:
- The two main national certifications today are AAPC’s Certified Professional Coder (CPC) credential, and AHIMA’s Certified Coding Specialist (CCS)credential.
- Work station is located in a room with a door to avoid distractions.
- If necessary, babysitting services are arranged to provide a time slot of undisturbed, focused attention to details.
- Desktop computer
- Internet connection
- Landline phone service and headset