Is Medical Billing and Coding the Right Career for You?

New Regulations Mean Coders Are in Demand

You may have heard that medical billing and coding is a great field to get into right now. With the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasting a 22% increase in job prospects for health claims specialists, it is indeed a good time to consider stepping into this field.

But starting a new career training program is a big commitment. It’s important to take a look at any job you’re considering to determine if you’d be a good fit for the position. Finding a job that you’re well suited to will make your work time a much more pleasant experience.

Detective Work

Every procedure that’s carried out in a medical facility has a corresponding code. Medical billing and coding specialists ensure that codes are properly applied so that each procedure can be billed through insurance.

However, with so many codes there’s a lot of room for error, which may mean less reimbursement for a medical practice. That’s why skilled health claims specialists are in such demand.

For example, a coder may notice that a doctor only coded for three types of treatment for a certain condition, even though that condition normally requires four. Then, the coder may have to do some “detective work” to determine if the physician missed a code, or if the patient’s condition didn’t follow the typical treatment plan.

Work Environment

Health claims specialists often work in the “back office” of medical facilities, that is, the office area of a clinical environment, such as a hospital, outpatient facility or doctor’s office. However, some health claims specialists work from home.

Medical billing and coding specialists have very little patient contact even when they’re employed in a clinical setting. Rather, most of their time is spent at a computer reviewing healthcare codes that have been applied to different forms of patient care.

While some health claims specialists may work traditional hours, it’s not unusual for hospital coders to begin work very early in the morning, allowing them to leave work early in the afternoon.

Independent Work

People who may be well-suited for medical billing and coding are able to work independently. However, some collaboration with other health claims specialists may necessary to troubleshoot difficult cases. Contact with doctors, other clinicians, and insurers will also be necessary.

Medical billing and coding requires extreme attention to detail. In addition, successful coders should expect to continuously expand their skill sets, as new regulations create hundreds of new medical codes.

Does this career choice sound like it could be right for you? Find out more about Branford’s medical billing and coding/health claims specialist program.