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Behind the Scenes Medical Jobs: What Does a Medical Coder Do?

stethoscope and medical information

It is a new year and new opportunity. You have already decided you need a new job and a new career. So what are you going to do? 

According to one source, 70% of jobs come from networking. What is your network like? Websites like LinkedIn are an excellent place to develop your professional network and find out what opportunities are out there.

Even if your network isn’t huge, have no fear. You are already in the right place for excellent advice. Have you ever considered becoming a medical coder? It is an interesting, challenging, and financially rewarding job. 

Yet, you may be asking “what does a medical coder do?” Here is a full diagnostic and prognosis for your future career.

What Does a Medical Coder Do?

A simple explanation is that a medical coder reads the patient’s medical record and converts that record into codes that are then billable to the insurance company. 

Tests, medical procedures and just about any activity associated with the medical care of patients needs to be billed to the right person. Most often that is the insurance provider. 

The medical codes are already defined and agreed between medical providers and insurance companies. The medical codes are actually copyrighted and maintained by the AMA (American Medical Association)

Where Does A Medical Coder Work?

You may think that medical coders work in hospitals. Yes, that is right.

Many people enjoy working in a hospital environment. In fact, hospitals are usually located in a convenient place with good parking and are accessible by public transport.

There are many positive points about working in a hospital environment. Still, some people may simply not like working in a hospital.

If that is you, then no problem. That is one of the great things about being a medical coder. You have a choice.

When considering what does a medical coder do, you can see there is a need for medical coders any place where medical services are provided. That means medical coders work in surgery centers, community clinics, dental offices, and outpatient care clinics. 

Depending on your point of view, another great place medical coders are able to work is at home. How? Through the internet, medical coders can work from almost anywhere in the world.

What Is the Training to Be a Medical Coder?

The first thing to note is that if you want a satisfying career that is financially rewarding, then you’ll have to train for it. There are plenty of jobs that anyone can do and requires very little training. The problem with those jobs is that they’re often boring and offer little financial incentive.

Medical coding is not for everyone. It requires someone to have good attention to detail. It requires someone to apply themselves to the basic training and be committed.

If you can do that, you will enjoy this as your new career.

Certified Professional Coder (CPC)

This is the most well-recognized certification in medical coding when the setting is a physician’s office. It’s considered to be the gold standard in training and certification. There are over 100,000 certified professionals working as a CPC. 

To be certified as a CPC you’ll need to take an exam and answer 150 multiple choice questions. Your answers will prove you know what you’re doing and that you’re serious about your profession.

That said, it’s not compulsory to get certified. If you’re certified, you’ll get paid more and it’s more likely you’ll get the job you want.

Subjects for Study

Besides studying the actual codes themselves and learning how to apply them to the medical records in an accurate way, you’ll also learn about the claims cycle. 

It’s also important to study and understand claims processing. Another important area is the subject of medical records. Plus you’ll be expected to be familiar with the ethics involved in your role and the importance of maintaining detailed and accurate records.

Also, it’s good to be aware that if you do get certified, you’re expected to maintain that certification through ongoing study. Check out this great quote from Gandhi about life long study.

How Much Does a Medical Coder Earn?

Medical facilities are competitive and do their best to make a profit or, at the very least, cover their costs. For some facilities that means improving their online marketing. For others, it means better investing in their medical coders.

Medical coders are one of the keys to facilities being able to claim all they are entitled to from insurers. That helps maintain profitability. So in short, good medical coders are worth the money. 

So how much can you expect to get paid? The average salary is about $50,000 per year. This can increase with experience and further qualifications. It also depends on where you work and who you work for.

What Are the Future Prospects for Medical Coders?

This is a very important consideration. Why train for a job that soon will be outdated or replaced by clever software. It seems a medical coder job is here to stay. 

The outlook is bright for medical coders. There are plenty of work opportunities and the numbers being employed are increasing at a healthy rate. Medical treatments are complex and translating those to billable codes is not about to be cracked by any supercomputer.

Become a Medical Coder – What Next?

You’ve considered the answer to the question “what does a medical coder do?” You are now better informed to help you decide whether this career is for you or not.

If you like what you read and want to learn more, then the best thing you can do is ask a medical coder directly about their job. Why not get in touch with someone through social media and send them a cool message.

If you are looking for inspiration learn more about us here and how we can help.

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