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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan. 6, 2003
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    CT
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    Default Medical Coding? How does one get into this field?

    Fat, old, broken down horsewoman looking to change career, if only PT to supplement her barn income. I'm interested in biology, science and medicine but my art education won't serve me very well.

    Anyone a medical coder here? Any advice for someone with a HS diploma and only some college, no degree?


    1 members found this post helpful.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul. 14, 2003
    Location
    MA
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    6,300

    Default

    You should always start with the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook. It's online. Here's what you need to do

    http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/me...ians.htm#tab-4

    Looks like a high school diploma is fine. All you need to get into the profession is a certificate or an associates degree. I would look into community colleges near you.

    I am not in this profession, but my SO is in a related field. What he says is in agreement with the Occupational Outlook Handbook. This is a growing field and it is hard to find good people. Go for it!
    Good luck.
    "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan. 16, 2003
    Location
    Tennessee
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    3,012

    Default

    Do not pay any attention to those commercial for-profit colleges and career academies that advertise on TV. Check out a local community college, or a vo-tech school for reasonably priced educational opportunities. Pharmacy tech may also interest you. Good luck!
    It's 2014. Do you know where your old horse is?


    1 members found this post helpful.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan. 19, 2000
    Location
    Ellijay, GA
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    Default

    You do not need a coding certificate....those are really only helpful in a hospital type enviornment and even then, you dont need one...

    Ive been coding/billing for about 12 years. To be honest, with the electronic billing and records systems these days, the computers do most of the "coding" for you...you just need to be knowledgable enough to know if the computer is right!! I work for 8 Dr's ranging from pediatrics, to internal med, and one specialist...we see basiclly the same stuff every day and very RARELY do I need to yank out a book to look up a diagnosis or procedure code. I will say the 3 certafied "coders" we have had just since I have been here have been nothing but a joke. Its all hands on experience and while a certificate might help you at some fancy hospital its not going to do you a whole lot of good elsewhere.
    Busy Bee Farm, Ellijay, GA
    Never Ride Faster Than Your Guardian Angel Can Fly
    Way Back Texas~04/20/90-09/17/08
    Green Alligator "Captain"



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan. 6, 2003
    Location
    CT
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    3,480

    Default I've heard the coding system is changing in 2 years..

    Any truth to that? Any reason I should pursue the coding end of things ATM before human physio/ anatomy courses?



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan. 19, 2000
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    Ellijay, GA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Sansena View Post
    Any truth to that? Any reason I should pursue the coding end of things ATM before human physio/ anatomy courses?
    What is now called ICD-9 is changing to ICD-10 is 2013. Thats the way we use codes to "name" diagnosis for insurance companies....it will be a HUGE change for those of us already in the industry, as well as for Drs who know coding. I highly doubt any school is teaching ICD-10 yet since there are not even courses available for those of us who already do this and NEED to know it...

    If you come in after the change it may be easier for you since you wont learn one way and have to re-learn another...that being said, it wont kill your career to come in now and have to re-learn it...your employer would just have to find those classes for you and honestly, the classes that are offered to providers, etc are far better than anything you will find "off the street" so to speak.

    Honestly, you dont need to take any anatomy, etc classes in order to code and bill...you really dont. You just need to be able to read and have basic medical terminology (sp?)...you need to be able to do data entry and read insurance EOB's (most "coders" also post money from insurance companies).

    Its really an all-inclusive type job....we are data entry, "coders", billers, insurance processesors, payment posters, and get all of the phone calls related to billing....along with having an AR portfolio to follow. Again, unless you are able to go to work for a large hospital you probably wont just be coding...and even if you are, most of the classes I have seen are crap, its better to start at the ground floor and work your way up rather than spend your $$$$ on a certificate.
    Busy Bee Farm, Ellijay, GA
    Never Ride Faster Than Your Guardian Angel Can Fly
    Way Back Texas~04/20/90-09/17/08
    Green Alligator "Captain"



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr. 17, 2002
    Location
    between the barn and the pond
    Posts
    14,495

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by relocatedTXjumpr View Post
    You do not need a coding certificate....those are really only helpful in a hospital type enviornment and even then, you dont need one...

    Ive been coding/billing for about 12 years. To be honest, with the electronic billing and records systems these days, the computers do most of the "coding" for you...you just need to be knowledgable enough to know if the computer is right!! I work for 8 Dr's ranging from pediatrics, to internal med, and one specialist...we see basiclly the same stuff every day and very RARELY do I need to yank out a book to look up a diagnosis or procedure code. I will say the 3 certafied "coders" we have had just since I have been here have been nothing but a joke. Its all hands on experience and while a certificate might help you at some fancy hospital its not going to do you a whole lot of good elsewhere.
    I could not agree more. Eight years of implementation of EMRs, consulting and training all over the US, and presently employed at a large ambulatory care facility. You don't need a certificate: You need attention to detail and the ability to read and understand insurance and data in general.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct. 23, 2004
    Location
    Southeast
    Posts
    1,511

    Default

    Out of curiousity, how much money do coders make? Do most freelance, or work for hospitals/large physican practices?
    "You gave your life to become the person you are right now. Was it worth it?" Richard Bach



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan. 19, 2000
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    Ellijay, GA
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    Default

    You have to understand that when you say "coder", you need to be saying or at least thinking "medical biller".

    I would say most work for an actual dr or facility...maybe the billing is outsourced to a third party billing company, but the coders/billers are not contract employees...they are employees of the billing company or dr or facility. I have worked for two smaller billing firms that did billing for several different offices/facilities locally and throughout the south. I have also worked in a small medical practice for 1 dr. I currently work for medical campus and do the billing for the dr's they employ.

    We are still a paper campus but will be implementing an EMR the first of the year...which means no more charge entry from paper encounters on our side and in theory, no more "coding".
    Busy Bee Farm, Ellijay, GA
    Never Ride Faster Than Your Guardian Angel Can Fly
    Way Back Texas~04/20/90-09/17/08
    Green Alligator "Captain"



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan. 19, 2000
    Location
    Ellijay, GA
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    Default

    Oh...and I make a fairly decent wage for my rural area, but far less than those with the same title just an hour south of me. I make $15 an hour, but the "norm" is closer to $20 an hour or so in th metro area.
    Busy Bee Farm, Ellijay, GA
    Never Ride Faster Than Your Guardian Angel Can Fly
    Way Back Texas~04/20/90-09/17/08
    Green Alligator "Captain"



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