A certified medical coder is a medical administration professional who converts the reports generated medical transcriptionists into numerical codes. This universal code enables insurance companies to compare medical services to their own equivalents. Coding is required when submitting health insurance claims, and no insurance company will pay if the coding is incorrect. Before starting work, all certified medical coders must complete coding training and pass a certification exam.
To become a certified medical coder, you must first have a thorough understanding of medical terminology. Prospective coders will have a number of options for obtaining the necessary training. They can learn to code in a college program or through training at a vocational or technical school. There are also some self-taught online courses available that provide the medical knowledge required to succeed in this field.
The actual certification to work as a medical coder is the next step. Medical coders must be certified almost every employer. This is to ensure that the coder has the necessary skills to complete the task. The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) and the American Academy of Professional Coders both offer certification exams (AAPC). After passing the exam, the coder is officially certified and can begin looking for work.
A certified medical coder can find work in a variety of settings. They range in size from small private practices to large, busy hospitals. Medical coders are required to work in almost every medical facility. Some programmers even work from their homes. The number of coders on staff is determined the institution’s size. A typical hospital could have up to fifty coders on staff.
The work of a medical coder overlaps with that of other medical administrative professionals. Medical transcriptionists, for example, review the notes of the medical provider and generate a report. The coders use these reports to come up with specific treatment and diagnostic codes. In fact, many transcriptionists go on to become certified medical coders after completing their training. Their medical backgrounds qualify them as excellent candidates, and filling two positions with one employee streamlines the process.
Another position that frequently overlaps with coding is that of a medical billing specialist. Medical coders provide codes that are used on insurance claim forms and billing statements. In smaller medical offices, the positions of medical biller and certified medical coder are frequently interchanged. A single employee with all of these abilities is usually more valuable than a group of them.