Medical Billing and Coding

You shouldn't have to spend a fortune to get your medical billing and coding training. This article gives you ideas on how to choose the right training to fit your career goals, current experience, time, and budget. This is in keeping with the purpose of this website: to save you time and money AND to share helpful information gathered from other medical billers and healthcare professionals.

Most of the education and training available in schools, classes, and online is a blend of both medical billing and coding. Before you decide what kind of training you need, it is important to understand the differences between billing and coding because they do not mean the same thing. Let me explain:

Medical billing is the process of handling patient accounting administration. This requires the use of software to: process patient charges and payments, transmit insurance claims, apply insurance EOBs, send patient statements, perform insurance followup, and generate management reports.

A critical part of medical billing is medical coding This is the process of reading a chart or op note and determining the correct procedure and diagnosis codes to be billed. In order to perform this task for a healthcare provider, you must be a certified medical coder.

As a medical biller without that certification, you can only process claims that a healthcare professional has coded for you. The provider gives you the information about the visit; the CPT code (procedure) and the diagnosis codes (problem). You can add modifiers, change the order of the procedures, but the provider is ultimately responsible for the coding. If you feel the provider has miscoded the charge, it is your responsibility to notify the provider of what you think the codes should be and obtain provider approval to change them.

Medical billing and coding are skills that most people develop over time "on the job." You can certainly be a medical biller without being a certified coder. However, medical coding certification is a good credential to have, especially if your job experience is limited.

Education Options

As you can imagine, your medical billing and coding education plan will vary depending on: current experience, your learning style, current employment, available time, and your finances.

If you already have experience as a medical biller, you may want to consider becoming a certified coder. You will require medical coding education that includes specific courses and a state exam.

Maybe you're the academic type and prefer formal schooling as opposed to learning through experience on the job. Or perhaps you already have a job in medical billing and want to improve your skills or start a medical billing home business.

There are lots of ways to obtain the training you need. If you have the time and money and prefer "formal education," you might consider attending one of the business schools in your area. These schools are usually fairly expensive but most offer a comprehensive medical billing and coding education program. The advantage here is that they usually include many preparatory classes as well.

If you have a full-time job and/or family to care for, you probably don't have the time to go to school. In this situation, online medical billing courses are a good choice because they are self-paced and you can study in the comfort of your own home. We have reviewed several of them for you.

Maybe you are just exploring the idea of making a career change. Before jumping in, you may want to get your feet wet by taking some medical billing classes at your local community college. This option allows you to get an idea if medical billing is something you would like to do without making a huge commitment of time or expense.

So, once you obtain your medical billing and coding education, then what? You will still need to learn how to apply that knowledge to actually do medical billing using a software application. This is where medical billing training comes in. What I am referring to is "hands on" training you will need, especially if you plan to start your own medical billing service or obtain a job in a medical practice.

Certainly, you can obtain some of this training through medical billing schools or classes. However, it will probably not be sufficiently in depth in order to hit the ground running.

Our company offers online medical billing training using Medisoft Patient Accounting software. We chose Medisoft because it is so widely used in small medical practices. Click on the Medisoft link from the home page to find out about our comprehensive and reasonably priced training program.

Whatever your situation, and however you choose to obtain your medical billing and coding education, you will succeed as long as you have perseverance. I encourage you to take your time and research your medical billing and coding education options. There are many to choose from that are sure to accommodate your needs.

You may be feeling overwhelmed at this point, but don't be. There's a lot to learn, but it's not rocket science.

Remember how you eat an elephant? bite

at a time.

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