Medical Coding and Billing in Vermont
DRG, RUG, HIPPS, APC… Reading a job posting for a medical billing and coding specialist can feel like reading a foreign language! That’s one reason why education is so important to the field. Medical billers and coders must master the ICD-9-CM and CPT coding systems, in addition to the policies of Medicaid and other organizations, both local and national.
What type of job does a person get with all this medical billing and coding training? Positions are available with hospitals, medical centers, and insurance carriers. Job duties of course vary by experience. People often get their start in the industry in the medical front office or financial office or in related roles like patient advocate. (People who already have office experience or health care experience are more likely to skip this step.) As people move through the ranks, a variety of positions open up. If they work in physician's offices, they are more likely to combine a variety of medical billing and coding tasks as well as clerical ones. If they work for hospitals or insurance carriers, their work may be quite specialized. Intermediate level positions include medical coding specialist, physician liaison Some medical coding specialists eventually go into education or consultation. Education can involve not only training new people to the field, but training other healthcare professionals in coding and compliance.
Medical Billing and Coding Training in Vermont
Medical billing and coding positions in Vermont, at least at the higher levels, often ask for an associate or bachelors degree. Depending on the position, this may be in medical billing and coding, healthcare administration, health information technology, or some other business or health field. A person who has a degree in another field will want to take at least a short course of study in medical billing and coding; this will include core medicine courses like pathophysiology. Accredited health information management programs include medical billing and coding. There are no CAHIIM-accredited programs offered by Vermont colleges or universities, but there are many available online. In many parts of the country, there is a preference for health information management accredited, so those who are considering relocating may want to look into these.
The two best known national credentialing agencies are AHIMA and AAPC. There are several levels of certification available. Another certification option is the CCDS, available from the Association for Clinical Documentation Improvement Specialists. This is particularly true for people who have some experience in documentation, especially in other health fields who are transitioning into documentation. Certification requires at least one year as a (concurrent) documentation specialist in addition to completion of a program at the associates level or higher. Those with shorter certificate programs will need to document two full years experience associates programs don't necessarily have to be in medical billing and coding, but a person must have demonstrated mastery of the basics (medical terminology, anatomy, disease pathology) through completion of a course of study in some allied health field, or through certification.
Medical Billing and Coding Salary and Job Outlook in Vermont
The National Labor Matrix has made some predictions about Vermont’s changing career landscape. In 2006, they projected there would be 22% growth in the state’s health information technology field over the next decade, with total positions going from 560 to 680. 30 openings are expected a year, counting replacement as well as newly created jobs. In other words, there will be ample opportunities for the best and most prepared new graduates. What can they hope to earn after they have a little experience? The BLS reports an average salary of $32,840 for Vermont health technology information workers.
Where will some of these jobs be found? Fletcher Allen Health Care with campuses in Burlington and Colchester, Rutland Regional Medical Center, Central Vermont Medical Center with locations in Barre, Waterbury, Montpelier and Berlin and Southwestern Vermont Health Care in Bennington ar esome of the largest employers in Vermont's health sector and they all utilize the services of medical billiers and coders.
Vermont JobLook is a resource for those looking for job leads Candidates may also use AAPC as a resource; this includes both the online forums and the regional chapters There are local chapters in Bennington, Burlington, and Newport. Of these, Newport has the most recent activity. A person can post his or her resume on the national forums and note his or her state. Specialists with experience and certification in clinical documentation may also want to become members of the New England local chapter of ACDIS.
Medical assistant programs in Vermont are also popular options for those looking for a shorter route to a career in th eallied health field.
Take the first step and find a health information management or medical billing and coding program today.