Medical Coding and Billing in New Hampshire
Combined cardiac and peripheral valve surgeries are tricky not just for surgeons but for medical billing and coding specialists as well! Medical coding specialists attach codes to medical diagnoses and procedures, and sometimes they must abstract information from medical charts in order to perform their jobs. These duties require a surprising range of skills, among them, mastery of medical knowledge.
Job duties can include, in addition to basic coding, analyzing data and educating other health professionals in compliance issues. There are a variety of career possibilities. Job titles may be medical billing and coding specialist, coding specialist or manager, chart completion analyst, denials/ appeals specialist, or medical collections specialist. Examples of entry level positions are medical records clerk or patient advocate.
How do you get started in this field? It starts with a solid educational foundation in medical billing and coding or health care informatics.
Medical Billing and Coding Training in New Hampshire
There can be a confusing array of schooling options. Programs vary in length and may or may not result in a degree. Most will prepare students for some type of credentialing exam. A recent scan of New Hampshire job postings revealed a preference for CPC certification through the national credentialing agency, AAPC. CCS credentialing through AHIMA will in some cases be accepted as well.
Students should be aware that, in most instances, a person who passes the CPC credentialing exam will be granted a lesser status, CPC-A (or Certified Professional Coder Apprentice) until they have two years of related work experience. The AAPC has a new program, though, that allows exceptional new scorers to remove the “apprentice” designation from their certification. Quite simply, a person has to code with the best! The program entails virtual coding of 800 medical documents that are designed to simulate what a medical coder would see in a real life work situation.
New Hampshire’s prospective medical coders should know that AHIMA is the preferred certification body in some parts of the nation, and that in many states, employers look very favorably upon those who have graduated from programs accredited by CAHIIM. Although there are currently no CAHIIM-accredited brick and mortal schools in New Hampshire, there are a number of options available online, for people who are planning on relocating or who want the convenience an online program offers.
Medical Billing and Coding Salary and Job Outlook in New Hampshire
A medical billing and coding education won’t pull a person out of a recession -- at least not immediately -- but excellence in the field can be a protection against future hard times. The AACP reported in 2009, after wrapping up a ten thousand person salary survey, that certified medical coders had seen a 4% salary increase that year.
New graduates sometimes get discouraged by the many job postings asking for experienced medical coders. A medical coding supervisor from Dover has offered a prospective from the other side of the hiring desk. She says that she likes to see job candidates who have taken the time to research her areas of specialty and prepare for testing. Recently, she had an entry level medical coding position, but had to go through many resumes and several interviews. She indicates that a program of just a few months is inadequate to teach a person to code, and that there are many things besides coding that a candidate will be judged on -- for instance, the quality of the writing on her resume. Another seasoned medical coder on the AAPC forum notes that what employers really want to know is that the person has already had an adequate education and will not need to be trained on-site.
In the medical billing and coding profession, excellence is ultimately rewarded with a handsome income. The 2009 AAPC average reported salary for New Hampshire was $47,184. In general, the New England states pay well above the national average.
Some of the largest and most popular employers of medical billing and coding specialists in new Hampshire include Wentworth Douglas Hospital in Dover, Catholic Medical Center in Manchester, Cheshire Medical Center in Keene and Concord Hospital.
Take the first step toward this career and find a program that fits your schedule. Contact the schools to learn more about their programs. You may also be interested inn the Medical Assisting programs in New Hampshire.