Without a doubt, the fastest medical path or career to venture into is the phase of medical coding and billing, and there are many schools that offer this course.
When you go to a medical center or any health facility, it is customary that the set of persons you will see are doctors and nurses.
However, there are other sets of persons who work behind the scenes in these healthcare facilities, they are charged mostly with administrative work like collating data in form of codes and billing these codes or data.
This article is focused on unveiling all you need to know about medical billing and coding i.e meaning of medical billing and a general overview, how the institutions operate, the duration for taking the course, if there is a part-time program, medical billing, and coding curriculum, also, a list of top medical billing and coding institutions and, what to expect from the program.
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What is medical coding and billing?
The medical sector uses a system known as coding to align treatments received by patients to match with insurance billings and government standards, the medical billing and coding personnel are charged with the duty to transcribe the doctor’s prognosis and treatments into an array of codes that are sent to insurance companies and government agencies.
In simpler phrases, they help in the processing of a patient’s data such as the treatment records and insurance information, they help ensure that healthcare providers get compensated by insurance companies and patients efficiently without a hitch. These persons can be otherwise referred to as medical records and health information technicians.
Going further, I would love to shed some light on what a medical biller and a coder do.
The medical coders use a special classification system to translate a patient’s information into codes that can be entered into a patient’s medical records and billing system. It is the first step in recording a patient’s data for billing purposes and also for medical records.
The medical biller reads and reviews medical records that must have been coded and translates them into a bill. They keep track of the bills created to ensure it gets paid efficiently, amongst other things they check for accuracy in all the bills before submitting them.
On the whole, however, it is important to note that once a medical service is rendered to a patient, a bill is submitted for payment. The bills are sent to insurance companies and government agencies as well as to the patients to whom the services are being rendered.
Generally, both medical billing and medical coding personnel are involved in the medical compensation job, they work to ensure that healthcare providers are efficiently paid for the services they render.
How does a medical coding and billing school operate?
The medical billing and coding institution is designed to fit your day-to-day lifestyle, depending on your status and schedule. The course is available both online and physically.
The online course will allow you the leverage to train anywhere, at your own pace and schedule. It offers you the chance to access the class from the comfort of your home whenever you want, so far you are on track and always coming through with your projects or coursework, and it is often less costly.
However, you give up that chumminess of interacting with classmates and the face-to-face interaction with course instructors.
This particular program takes the form of our conventional classroom setting, with face-to-face interaction with the instructors. It is not as flexible as the online program, as many people with tight schedules cannot apply for this particular program.
In addition, there are certain admission requirements you need to look out for in schools that offer medical billing and coding courses, making it a condition precedent that their admission requirements are complied with.
First off, the search should always begin with you looking out for what they require for admission. Most schools will need a GED or high school certificate and a passing score on the admission test.
What is the duration of taking the medical billing and coding course?
The need for medical records and health information technicians is on the rise with the high demand for a digital-inclined medical sector. The foremost reason why people choose this career path is that the program duration is short compared to other medical career fields.
The duration of the online certification program is mostly less than a year, or most times up to 1 year.
However, you can decide to pursue the certificate program from a university as an associate degree. The certificate programs from universities will additionally teach you disease processes, treatment procedures, terminologies, and basic coding. The duration of this certificate course from universities as an associate degree is usually a period of 3 years.
Is there a part-time program in medical billing and coding schools?
From what we have seen above, the least duration for a medical billing and coding program is 9 months to 1 year, and this is for the online program, which we can say doubles as the part-time program for the course.
Because of the flexible nature, and your ability to attend classes at your convenience and within your schedule, the online program is generally designed to fit into all spheres of lifestyles. It is for the working class, pregnant moms, and full-time students, among other denominations in society.
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What does going to a medical billing and coding school teach you?
The program is focused on teaching students how to work as a conduit between patients and healthcare providers. They are however charged with the responsibility of learning medical terms and basic procedures and mastering various administrative tasks associated with the position.
The program prepares you to take on any entry-level work for starters with a certification known as a certified professional coder (CPC). It includes courses like introduction to healthcare procedures, anatomy, pathophysiology, and pharmacology. Also, it includes courses narrowed to the job duties like how to break down medical procedures into codes used for billing and record keeping, you will learn advanced medical office procedures, online communications, and the legal and ethical phases of health information.
What are the top accredited medical billing and coding schools?
It is important to note that while searching for an institution that offers a coding and billing program, you should look out for the American Academy of Professional Coders or the American Health Information Management Association, accredited institutions.
The following are the top accredited medical coding and billing institutions you should look out for:
Drexel University is known for its quality healthcare training. The main campus is in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Upon completion of the program, you can take the national certification exam and become a certified professional coder. The program here is fully online and can be completed at your own pace, and the cost for tuition is $928 per credit.
The online division of the university at the Fort Lauderdale campus, Florida, offers a program on medical administrative billing and coding. By the end of the course, you must have been transformed to become a competent coder and be able to execute administrative duties in a medical setting fully. Graduates are well-trained to take the certified coder examination by AAPC. The college annual tuition is $21,000.
The university is located in Indianapolis. They offer a 100% online medical billing and coding program. Their curriculum covers all areas of billing and coding like the CPT and HCPCS level II coding and survey of hospital billing, and medical terminologies amongst other courses.
This college located in Bozeman, Montana, offers a program in health information coding. It is a two-semester course, relatively short, and it can be completed within 32 weeks. Upon graduation, you will gain all the requisite knowledge in coding to work in varieties of healthcare establishments.
San Joaquin College in Visalia, CA, offers you the opportunity through its online program to access top-notch courses on administrative jobs in the healthcare field. Here there’s a chance for you to either pursue the 7 months program or the 15-month associate degree program. Both programs will train you in the areas of medical administrative duties as well as procedural medical coding.
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The college boasts of a 77% job placement rate for graduates, and most of its online students gain access to in-state tuition fees, which makes it an affordable choice. The college annual tuition is $5,296.
This is another university that offers medical billing and coding programs located in Minnesota. The college uses a well-organized admission process to get students into their courses. The college program prepares you to either transfer to an associate degree or to go straight into the labour market with an entry-level health information position. The annual tuition is $5,970.
The Cowley College program includes the associate of applied science in medical coding and leads to career opportunities. The college was established as a junior college in 1922. Its annual in-state tuition is $3,750, and the out-of-state tuition is $5,190.
The Hazard community and technical college offer medical coding and billing degree programs like associate in medical coding, associate in medical administration, medical coding certificate, and a diploma in medical administrative assistant. The university’s annual in-state tuition is $5,370, and the out-of-state tuition is $18,810.
The Laramie County Community College only offers medical billing and coding degree programs like an associate in health information technology and management. The university is located in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and they enroll nearly 6,000 students annually. Many students study online. The college tuition for in-state students is $4,432, and that of out-of-state students is $10,372.
Frequently Asked Questions about medical billing and coding schools
As a medical biller and a coder, you have the opportunity to work in hospitals(this is the primary duty place of every medical biller and coder), and offices of physicians, and you can offer administrative and support services amongst other things.
For starters, you will earn close to $29,310 annually, $2,440 monthly, and $14.09 hourly, which is higher than the approved federal minimum wage.
Many employers hire remote certified coding professionals to handle their office administrative billing and medical information online. More than one-third of medical billers and coders work remotely.