Medical Billing and Coding in Connecticut
You're shooting for an 800, or a 720 at least. It's the SATs all over again! Why? Because the process can help you succeed as a medical billing and coding specialist. Medical billing and coding is a fascinating profession as well as a growing industry, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted a healthy 13% growth in Connecticut over a decade‘s time. Still, there are a lot of people right now looking for a better life. It helps to have a high level of education, it helps to have a high level of credentialing, and it helps to have experience. The AAPC, which sets the standards for credentialing, has recently announced a new program to give you just that. Normally a person certified through AAPC has an apprentice designation until they have a full two years of experience, even though they have passed their board exams. Now one can get that experience by scoring in the upper echelon on a simulated coding task exam.
Medical billing and coding experts master a lot of material. In order to perform their jobs, they have to be able to read and make sense of medical documentation, which often describes complex procedures. Medical billing and coding specialists also need an understanding of Medicare policies, insurance responsibilities, and various legal issues.
Medical Billing and Coding Training in Connecticut
The first step in beginning a coding career is to enroll in a medical billing and coding training program. Coursework will include medical terminology, anatomy, and legal and ethical concerns as well as coding taxonomies. The program will also prepare you to sit for exams through a national board, most often AHIMA or AAPC. Some Connecticut employers accept either agency; others have a preference. Both national boards have a rigorous examination process. The AHIMA has a CCA entry-level credentialing exam and a more difficult CCS one. The AAPC meanwhile designates those without experience as apprentices unless they demonstrate excellence through additional virtual scoring.
The field of medical billing and coding is continually evolving, . A medical billing and coding expert will need to take occasional continuing education classes to maintain certification. Fortunately, there are many options for obtaining your CEUs. Continuing education can include conferences seminars, webinars, and other online classes. Medical billing and coding experts can even earn continuing education credit by taking AHIMA online quizzes which have been designed to go along with academic journals in the field. In this increasingly digital age, virtual meetings too, are among the options.
Medical Billing and Coding Salary and Job outlook in Connecticut
Average salaries for medical records and health information technicians vary by region, ranging from $10.25 in the Bridgeport area to $13.19 in Waterbury. New Haven and Norwich-New London also report average wages above $13 an hour.
It is possible to begin medical billing and coding training at a young age. Lincoln College of New England-Southington reports that high school students may take the program there and that they have a separate representative to help them with their vocational training. As with any profession, of course, medical biller and coders will earn more money after more years on the job. The AAPC 2009 Salary Survey revealed workers who had been in the profession 21 or more years were averaging $54,477 -- more than $20,000 more than those with just two years of experience.
A career in medical billing and coding offers good advancement potential. A credential, particular one at the certificate level, may not be an immediate ticket to a high-paying job, but those who prove themselves in the field can expect very good salaries down the road. The AAPC, drawing from a 2009 salary survey of over 10,000 coding experts, reported that highly qualified coders had proved themselves recession proof, with an average salary increase of 4% over the previous year.
What does a billing and coding expert make in Connecticut? The AAPC reported an average salary of $50,420. This places the state well above the national average. Some of the largest employers in Connecticut include Masonicare Health Center, Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, New Haven Hospital and St. Vincent's Medical Center. Many experienced medical billing and coding specialists choose to start their own billing and coding business where they can work from home. This obviously comes with some drawback and challenges, but can be a great opportunity for the right person.
The medical assisting programs in Connecticut are also very popular entry ways to the health care sector. Many people select this route based on the shorter training period required, however, earning potential may be less as a medical assistant in CT.