All You Need to Know About Medical Coding Training
Medical Coding Training – What You Need to Know
A lot of privately practicing physicians, small to large clinics and facilities, as well as state hospitals rely on medical coders. Medical coders are the people behind the scenes who convert patient records into standard codes which healthcare system computers can easily read. They examine patient records and charts to see if there are any billable or reimbursable events or procedures. They then use a standard set of codes through which they convert these events, activities, and procedures. By doing so, medical coders are able to help healthcare professionals and facilities with reimbursement by insurance companies and Medicare.
Kinds of Medical Coders
In general, there are two kinds of medical coders. Most entry-level medical coders would start out as outpatient medical coders. Outpatient medical coders perform coding for outpatient medical records. These involve day-in and day-out events and procedures such as minor procedures involving cuts and lacerations. Basically, outpatient events do not require the patient to be confined. In-patient events and procedures, on the other hand, involve confinement. While most surgeries in the past require an overnight stay, surgeries nowadays have become more of an outpatient activity. Medical coders who have had experience in outpatient medical coding eventually advance to inpatient medical coding in large hospitals.
Medical Coding Training and Medical Coding Certification
Training for medical coding is essential as no hospital, clinic, physician’s office or medical billing and coding servicing firms would hire untrained coders and billers. Medical coding is not a simple data-entry profession. It requires knowledge of medical terminology, pharmacology, and anatomy for one to be able to comprehend patient records and charts. Medical coders and billers would also have to be undergo training involving proper usage of the code systems used in medical coding including the CPT or Current Procedural Technology, the ICD-9-CM or International Classification of Diseases, and the HCPCS or Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System. Typically, comprehensive training for medical coding would take at least 9 months to a year with more advanced programs taking at least 2 years. A comprehensive training should also include lectures on insurance claim procedures and hands-on application of medical office technology.
There are many schools offering medical coding training both on campus and online. Look for a school or program which allows you to take the certification exams. Taking the certification exam offered by AAPC or AHIMA is not necessary. However, certified medical coders and billers are known to have more chances of landing jobs and advancing in their careers.
Medical Coding as a Business
If you are already experienced in the industry, you may also choose to set-up your own medical coding business at home. You would need to invest in medical coding software, a reliable internet connection, as well as some office supplies. Other than that, you may also take some extra and advanced classes involving medical office management to help you handle your business. These classes would instruct you on how to market yourself as an independent contractor or strategies on how to attract more clients as well as some proven techniques on how to make your business grow.
Examples of Coding Test
If you're looking for a practice test or a great way to prepare for your medical coding test, Career Coders has a great “test your knowledge” section that you might want to check out. You can also get sample test questions for the CPC exam here from HCPro.
Helpful Job Search Information
– Medical Billing and Coding Program offered that can be done from home at your own pace.
Be sure to check out my Medical Billing, Coding and Transcription Job Board to find work at home job leads in this field. As well – you can search the regular work at home job board too for leads. Both boards are updated frequently.
Read more about Medical Billing and Coding from Home.