Medical Coding and Billing in Nevada
Medical billing and coding specialists attach strands of alphanumeric code to illnesses and procedures as well as to the circumstances under which they were carried out. People tend to think of medical billing and coding as being about reimbursement. Most often they are. There are other possibilities, though, as is demonstrated by a recent posting for medical coding manager in Nevada. The manager, who would travel and work remotely, was to have the job of ensuring that information used for reporting treatment outcomes was accurate and complete. S/he was to gather information from various sources to document severity of illness and risk of mortality.
This is the sort of position one can hope to achieve after at least a few years of excellence and experience in the field. Even entry level positions, though, can require a surprising amount of skill and understanding. The 2011 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule is 2023 pages. No one can memorize documents of this scale; what’s required is an understanding of the principles and the ability to locate information quickly. Medical billers and coders must master the coding taxonomies of the World Health Organization and the American Medical Association in addition to the policies of Medicaid, Medicare, and various third party payers. Medical coding experts may be asked to abstract information from medical charts. For this, they need a foundation in biomedics. In short, medical billing and coding is becoming an arena for well educated health professionals.
How does one gain this knowledge? Most medical billing and coding specialists choose either a medical billing and coding training program or a health informatics degree program. These programs can be found offered at traditional campus based schools in Nevada or via an online format through accredited colleges and universities.
Medical Billing and Coding Training in Nevada
Some Nevada employers give preference to candidates with an associates or even a bachelors degree. Students who are entering the field with the intent of advancing through the ranks will want to carefully consider their choice of educational programs. Certain certifications are available only to individuals who have graduated from a program accredited through CAHIIM, while others are open to just about anyone who has the skills to pass the board exam.
Many Nevada employers desire credentialing through AHIMA. CCA, or Certified Coding Associate, is accepted by some; it is generally considered an entry level certification. Other positions require CCS, RHIT, or RHIA credentialing.
A person with an RHIT background may need a little more preparation to pass a CSS test, but a person without the program lacks the option of pursuing both. The CSS has two parts, and a person must pass the first to go on to the second. The exam simulates what would be seen at real hospitals, and there is a time limit imposed. Those in the field say it’s hard!
Medical Billing and Coding Salary and Job Outlook in Nevada
Medical billing and coding specialists, and other health information technicians, make good wages. The BLS reports an average hourly wage of $17.23 for Nevada. This is above the national average.
As with any profession, it takes some time to prove oneself in the field. Most employers favor candidates with experience. Sometimes high levels of education will substitute for experience, though, as is demonstrated by a 2010 ad for a medical billing and coding technician, posted by the Veterans Health Administration in Nevada. The government asked for one year of work experience in a similar specialty or a four year degree in the field. Government positions are known to be lucrative but quite competitive. Applicants can expect background checks as well as scrutiny of transcripts and work record.
Other employers who hire medical billing and coding specialists or agencies in Nevada include Spring Valley Hospital in las Vegas, Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas, Renown Medical Center in Reno, St. Mary's Medical Center in Reno, Desert Springs Hospital in Las Vegas and Northern Nevada Medical Center in Reno.
Nationwide, employers often test job applicants on accuracy and sometimes speed as well. Tests may be given in different specialties like internal medicine, cardiology, or obstetrics. These tests are designed to be like real life medical coding and may feel quite different from certifying exams, especially those at the entry level.
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