If you are considering training to become a Medical Billing and Coding Specialist now is an opportune time. Demand for healthcare information technicians in the Dallas-Fort Worth area is on the rise.
Whether you are a working adult, a parent looking to pursue a new career in healthcare, or you are looking to start your first career, medical billing and coding is a great option.
One of the more advantageous aspects of training to become a Medical Biller and Coder is that all you need is a high school diploma. No college degree or prior experience is needed.
Responsibilities of a Medical Billing and Coding Specialist
Briefly, medical billers and coders support medical professionals by ensuring the accuracy and integrity of medical records and verifying they comply with established guidelines. Specific responsibilities may include:
- Patient registration
- Electronic Health Records management
- Data entry (medical documentation)
- Coding for services and disease
- Submitting insurance claims
- Management of outstanding claims and bills
- Handling rejected claims
- Communicating with patients/insurance companies
- Payments and collections
- Reviewing medical documents
- Medical record audits
While Medical Coders and Billing Specialists are usually discussed together, along with Health Information Technicians they actually represent three specialized aspects of medical clerical work:
- A Health Information Technician’s primary focus is keeping accurate electronic healthcare records.
- A Medical Coder matches clinical procedures and diseases to a specific classification code.
- A Medical Biller uses these codes to process insurance claims.
Whether someone is hired for one of these roles specifically or as a combination depends on the employer. In some cases, a position may require specialization in each area, or there may be specific positions for each one.
Regardless of the specific job title, when working in healthcare administration knowledge of medical billing and coding can put you ahead of other candidates and help you advance in your career.
All three of these positions are primarily administrative support, and have limited contact with patients unless the position is part of a more general Medical Assistant role.
Even though most medical billers and coders work independently, they often need to communicate with medical professionals and peers to help communicate any issues and select the proper codes used by insurance companies to reimburse a doctor’s office or hospital.
Why is There Such a High Demand for Medical Billers and Coders?
Healthcare reform, an aging U.S. population, and evolving healthcare technologies have led to an increased need for medical billers and coders.
According to the United States Department of Labor, the job market for medical records and health information specialists is expected to grow by 8% from 2019-2029; this is double the 4% growth rate for all other occupations.
Another cause of the increased demand for medical billers and coders was a federal mandate that required that the former medical coding system, ICD-9, be updated to ICD-10. This reform generated tens of thousands of new codes to the system and a need for more medical billers and coders.
While the qualifications needed to be hired as a certified medical biller and coder vary depending on the employer’s requirements, becoming certified increases your appeal as a candidate.
- Insurance claim processing
- Coding for diseases and procedures
- Records management
- Billing and reimbursement procedures
- Electronic health records
- Medical software
- Medical laws
- Medical terminology
If you are wondering if your skill sets would be a good fit for a medical billing and coding position, some of the top qualities many employers look for in candidates are:
Detail Oriented: Accuracy is essential, and health information specialists need to be precise. Verifying and coding patient information involves a lot of detail and a facility with numbers.
Analytical Ability: A key part of this role is the interpretation of medical documents to assess diagnoses, which are then entered into a patient’s medical record as a code.
Interpersonal Skills: Medical billers and coders interact frequently with physicians, registered nurses, finance personnel, and other colleagues involved with patient care. The ability to accurately and professionally discuss patient information, data discrepancies, and data requirements is essential.
Integrity: When working with patient information and data, it is vital to protect patient confidentiality in accordance with HIPAA law. Medical billers and coders must always exercise discretion and behave ethically with colleagues, vendors, and patients.
Dallas-Fort Worth Salary Information for Medical Billers and Coders
While the salary for a specific medical billing and coding position can vary widely depending on the employer and the specific position, according to Salary.com as of August 2021 the median annual salary in Dallas is $50,033 and the median annual salary in Fort Worth is $49,072.
In a study done in May 2020, the national median annual salaries for medical records and health information specialists in some of the most common work environments were as follows:
Medical Billing and Coding Can Open the Door to a Career in Healthcare
Medical billers and coders fulfill important roles in the healthcare field such as:
- Billing and Coding Technician
- Health Information Specialist
- Medical Administrative Assistant
- Electronic Medical Records Specialist
- Health Technologist
Students in a certified medical billing and coding program receive the training to sit for some of the top certifications in the industry, such as:
Who Hires Medical Billers and Coders?
One of the benefits of a medical billing and coding certification is the variety of organizations that need specialists in this area.