Avoid these Top 3 Medical Billing and Coding Mistakes

medical billing and codingMost people are attracted to the world of medical billing and coding because it offers people with an interest in health an opportunity to start a home based business. If you are someone who is ready to launch a new career as a medical billing and coding specialist, there are a few mistakes that you should avoid at all costs.

Medical Billing and Coding Mistake #1 – Starting Your Business Without Training

A medical background combined with a few medical terminology courses are not the equivalent of a completed medical billing and coding certification course. In their rush to start a home based business, many people are tempted to cut corners. Unfortunately, skipping out medical billing and coding training is one of the corners some medical billing and coding specialists cut.

While it is possible to operate for a short term with the proper certification, eventually a new client will want to verify your credentials. Once the client finds out you are misrepresenting your education, they may be tempted to notify your other clients or even contact the issuer of your business license. Trying to save money or time by not completing medical billing and coding certification classes may end up costing you your business and professional reputation.

Medical Billing and Coding Mistake #2 – Over Charging Clients

After completing medical billing and coding certification training and starting your own business, you will be able to set your own hours and rates. Charging a medical practice hourly for the time spent completing their medical billing and coding is common. The medical practice will expect you to bill them for the hours you quoted when you began working for the client and it is important that you only bill the client for the hours you actually worked.

Remember, a quote or an estimate is just a rough guess of how much time you will need to complete a task.  It is entirely possible that medical billing and coding for a new client may take less time than previously anticipated. When that happens, do not charge them for time you didn’t work. Clients may grow suspicious when they see that you are always working 12.2 hours each week, and their suspicion may convince them to try another medical billing and coding specialist. If the new contractor takes less time doing the same task you were hired for, you may find yourself without any clients as the news that you possibly over charge gets out.

Medical Billing and Coding Mistake #3 – Sharing Private Patient Information

The life of a medical billing and coding specialist can become a bit tedious. Working alone for long periods of time going over medical procedures only gets interesting when you stumble across a file belonging to a friend or a family member. Since most medical billing and coding specialists work for local medical practices, it is not unusual for them to learn about a neighbor or friends emergency surgery or medical tests.

When you do come across information concerning someone you know it is important to keep the information private. The privacy of patients became a national act (HIPAA) in 1996, and even gossiping about something you learned while working as a medical billing and coding specialist violates that act. If the patient in question finds out you’ve been telling others about their medical care both you and the medical office could end up in serious legal trouble.

By avoiding these medical billing and coding mistakes you will add integrity and value to the field as a whole while also protecting your potential career and your reputation.

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