When you receive a bill from a hospital, your medical insurance, or other healthcare provider, it is full of codes outlining the specific procedures and healthcare services performed. Medical coding involves translating medical reports and health information into codes used by healthcare professionals and medical insurance companies. Medical billing involves submission of these reports into claims sent to medical insurance companies. Both medical billing and coding specialists must know how to interpret medical records and learn the various codes. Because medical billing and coding standards change and become more complicated over time, anyone working as a medical billing and coding specialist, a certified coding associate (CCA), or health information technician must undergo regular continuing education and medical billing and coding training.
A medical billing and coding specialist or health information technician may work in an office setting, although many work remotely with various healthcare services to perform diagnostic coding and track patient's health information and never have to leave their homes to do their jobs. While most billers and coders perform different jobs, smaller medical offices and facilities may want one person to combine these tasks. Medical billing and coding professionals work in all sorts of healthcare environments, but may also work at medical insurance companies, government agencies, and health information technology or data management firms. Virtually all work is done by computer, so a person must feel comfortable sitting during their work time.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects the job outlook for medical records and health information technicians to rise by 13% over the next decade, faster than the national average. The healthcare industry is the largest in the nation, and an aging population fuels the need for more workers in the field of medical billing and coding. Prospective students have options when they look for medical billing and coding programs within a community college, technical college, or even a university. They may complete and associate degree program or a medical billing and coding certificate program, among other options. Programs that lead to coding certification will encompass a variety of billing and coding classes. These may include courses in anatomy, health information technology, medical insurance programs, medical terminology, disgnostic coding, and more. Prospective students and learners can also find an online medical billing and coding program. Completing a program in medical billing and coding online or on campus will prepare students for entry-level positions throughout the U.S.