Medical billing and coding, a critical aspect of the healthcare industry, is witnessing rapid growth. A career in this field requires specialized knowledge and skills, which can be attained through a medical billing and coding certification.
This guide will delve into the specifics of this certification, its importance, benefits, and the process involved in acquiring it.
Understanding Medical Billing and Coding
Medical billing and coding are integral components of the healthcare revenue cycle. Medical coders interpret clinical documentation and translate that information into standardized codes.
Medical billers, on the other hand, employ these codes to bill patients and generate medical claims to submit to insurance companies.
Role of a Certified Medical Billing and Coding Specialist
A certified medical billing and coding specialist, also known as a health information technician, ensures the financial stability of the healthcare system. They are responsible for:
- Assigning accurate medical codes for diagnoses, procedures, and services performed by healthcare providers.
- Understanding coding guidelines and regulations to meet compliance requirements.
- Proficiency in a wide range of services, including evaluation/management (E/M), anesthesia, surgery, radiology, pathology, and medicine.
- Comprehending anatomy, physiology, and medical terminology to understand code descriptors and patient records.
- Integrating medical coding and payment policy changes into a practice’s reimbursement processes.
The Significance of Medical Billing and Coding Certification
Professional certification is crucial to be recognized as a coding and billing professional in healthcare. It presents you as a competent professional in the workforce.
Physicians and provider organizations rely on certified coders and billers to maintain a healthy revenue cycle. Employers prefer candidates with the AAPC credential as it signifies mastery of the skills they depend on.
The demand for medical billers and coders is escalating in line with the aging population. The Bureau projects a 9% job growth for this profession over the next decade.
Medical billing and coding offer an attractive career opportunity for individuals interested in highly specialized, rewarding work in the healthcare industry. The path to becoming career-ready is short and affordable.
Importance of Professional Certification
Passing the certified professional coder (CPC) exam assures employers that job candidates possess the necessary skills and knowledge.
Certified coding and billing professionals earn approximately 30% more than non-certified staff, and the salary gap widens with each additional certification added to a professional’s resume.
Exploring Medical Billing and Coding Certifications
There are several medical billing and coding certifications that cater to various career goals. Here are a few prominent ones:
|Certified Professional Biller (CPB)
|Certified Professional Coder (CPC)
|Certified Outpatient Coder (COC)
|Certified Inpatient Coder (CIC)
1. Certified Professional Biller (CPB)
This primary medical billing certification validates professional knowledge and skills across the medical billing and reimbursement cycle including preauthorization, charge entry, claims transmission, submitting appeals, payment posting, insurance follow-up, and patient follow-up.
2. Certified Professional Coder (CPC)
The CPC certification recognizes expertise in physician-based or pro-fee coding. Passing the CPC exam qualifies you to work at a physician practice, medical office, walk-in clinic, lab, or telehealth company.
3. Dual CPC and CPB Certification
Dual certification as a CPC and CPB validates expertise in pro-fee coding, claim form preparation, submission and payment processes, regulatory compliance, and insurance requirements. Many people start their healthcare careers with this dual certification for better employability and salary negotiations.
4. Certified Outpatient Coder (COC)
Students who earn their COC certification demonstrate proficiency in coding outpatient services and procedures to government and private payers. This certification also showcases a working knowledge of the Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System.
5. Certified Inpatient Coder (CIC)
The CIC credential recognizes expertise in inpatient facility coding. CIC certification is critical for a career as an inpatient medical coder working in a hospital or hospital-type setting.
The CRC certification validates expertise in dealing with diseases associated with chronic conditions and comorbidities, along with mastery of ICD-10-CM guidelines and risk adjustment guidelines.
Enrolling for a Medical Billing and Coding Certification Program
When choosing an online program for medical billing and coding certification, ensure the program covers the necessary skills required for the profession, compare costs, and look for training features that you consider important.
Above all, ask about their certification pass rates. You’ll want to choose a program with a high pass rate to ensure you get the education you deserve.
Enrolling in a medical billing and coding certification program is a significant step towards a promising career in the healthcare industry.
With the demand for these professionals on the rise, acquiring such certification can provide a competitive edge in the job market, ensuring a stable and rewarding career path.
Before opting for a medical billing and coding certification, it’s essential to address various questions that may arise. Here, we answer some common queries.
A: The average annual salary for a Certified Professional Biller (CPB) is $56,652, while a Certified Professional Coder (CPC) earns an average annual salary of $58,055. However, factors such as location and experience can influence these figures.
Q2: How long does it take to become a certified medical biller and coder?
A: Becoming a certified medical biller and coder doesn’t require a 2-year associate degree or 4-year bachelor’s degree. Instead, employers look for candidates with billing and coding certification.
The path for most certified professionals begins as a recent high school graduate who enjoys healthcare and learning about medical records. Medical billing and coding online courses require 4 to 8 months for successful completion.
A: Most students choose from the four core coding certifications when starting their medical coding careers. The choice of certification depends on your preference for the workplace, a hospital or a doctor’s office, for example.