Becoming a Medical Coder

Medical Coders review detailed information about patient injuries, diseases and procedures by digging deep into the medical records and documents provided by the doctors and other healthcare service providers. They use the universal coding system to handle the reimburse claims made by hospitals and their physicians.

If you have a health policy, your medical insurance provider will get a bill from the hospital, which will contain a CPT (Current Procedural Terminology) code. There are over 9,800 CPT codes for various types of healthcare services provided by health care facilities. In addition, there are 14,000 International Classification of Diseases (ICDs). The Medical Coders spend time in reviewing the medical records and assigning these codes to the patients so that the health insurance providers are properly reimbursed. The Medical Coders are required to properly study the notes given by doctors and nurses before assigning the codes.

Education Requirements:

  1. Get a High School Diploma: High school diploma with subjects such as algebra, biology, chemistry and other computer skills is the first step of academic requirements for the aspiring Medical Coders.
  2. Get an Associate’s Degree: A degree in health information technology or similar course will be helpful for the Medical Coders to pursue their career ambitions. The college or university, which will provide the degree education, must be accredited with the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).

The coursework must include anatomy, physiology, healthcare reimbursement, classification, coding systems, database security and management.

  1. Certification: Many states in the U.S. require Medical Coders to possess Registered Health Information Technicians (RHIT) credentials. The exam is administered by American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).

Salary & Job Outlook: The job outlook for Medical Coders remains very good. According to AAPC, Medical Coders with certification earn more than the non-certified ones. The average annual salary of Medical Coders was $46,847 in 2013.

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