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How to Choose the Right Medical Billing and Coding Training?

medical billing and codingWith the new changes coming to the medical codes in 2013, it’s more important than ever to receive the right medical billing and coding training. With so many options available to the prospective student, how can you decide which medical billing and coding training program is the right one for you? We are glad you asked!

In this article, we will help you weed past the types of training programs you should avoid, as well as clarify what features in a medical billing and coding training program you should definitely look for as you are comparing schools.

Medical Billing and Coding Training Programs to Avoid

First of all, avoid any fast track program. If any school or program claims to be able to prepare you in a few short weeks, keep walking. It’s simply not true. Becoming a competent medical coder is no small task. The healthcare industry and all it entails is extremely complex, and sometimes difficult even for the most knowledgeable and properly educated coders.

Medical billing and coding specialists are responsible, not only for properly deciphering and coding charts and medical procedures, but also submitting billing paperwork according to tight deadlines. All billing must be accurate and all medical procedures must be included. Some bills are just a simple office visit, but at other times the medical billing and coding specialist will be submitting paperwork and billing insurance companies for emergency surgery or extended hospital stays. In these instances, the medical billing and coding specialist will be responsible for hundreds of thousands of dollars. This highly detailed career requires the proper training. There is much to learn.

What to Look for in a Medical Billing and Coding Training Program

A medical billing and coding training program is going to teach you two very detailed subjects. The first being the “billing” end, where you, as a trained medical billing specialist will be able to complete paperwork, double check patient billing histories, verify medical coverage, and submit requests for payment to insurance companies. All of this is the “medical billing” portion.

Within medical billing, and in order to properly perform the duty of medical billing, there is the practice of “medical coding” which must be learned. Medical coding, also known as insurance coding, is the act of assigning a universally accepted medical language, or code, to each medical procedure and diagnoses, so that any party (insurance company, physician, or medical administrator) who reads the code immediately knows exactly what was done.

A quality medical billing and coding training program will cover each of these areas separately, and then show the student how they are combined in the work force. Topics to look for in a course outline include the following:

  • Diagnosis Coding
  • ICD-9 explained (along with preparation for the upcoming ICD-10)
  • Medical Coding Basics
  • Coding Accuracy
  • Healthcare Reimbursement Procedures / Problems / Billing
  • CPT Codes Explained
  • Evaluation and Management Coding
  • Surgical and Integumentary Coding
  • Anesthesia Coding
  • Cardiovascular, Respiratory Coding
  • Radiology and Pathology Coding
  • Documentation and Medical Records
  • Legal Issues and Ethics / Fraud and Abuse / False Claims Acts
  • General Medical Examination Codes
  • Common Coding Errors

As you can see, medical billing and coding is very entailed. In order to choose the medical billing and coding program that is right for you, be sure to compare the above list to the course of study as provided by the school.

Correct training is your first step to a rewarding career as a medical billing and coding specialist.

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