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Medical Billing and Coding in Florida

Americans are living longer, and many are relying on federally funded health programs in their senior years. As medicine rises to meet individuals’ needs, so does the medical billing and coding profession. Medical billing and coding specialists are responsible for reading and understanding documentation that describes complex medical procedures, and also for understanding the policies of Medicare and various other insurance providers.

The 2011 Medicare physician fee schedule is 2023 pages, and, no, medical billing and coding specialists don't have to memorize it, but they do have to have a good deal of savvy when it comes to utilizing it. The same goes for the ICD-9-CM (soon to become the ICD-10-CM) and the CPT-4. Together these are the two main taxonomies of medical terminology and procedures, and two of the main textbooks for billing and coding experts. It takes skill and training to assign codes for either reimbursement or research purposes.

Why become a medical billing and coding specialist? It can be a satisfying intellectual career that bridges health care and administrative work.

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Medical Billing and Coding Training and Certification in Florida

There are many medical billing and coding training programs available, both online and traditional. Prospective students should consider the reputation of the program. What is its track record for giving students the skills they need to be successful on the job? Accuracy can make or break a coder. A recent posting for an experienced medical billing and coding specialist in an inpatient setting in Loxahatchee asked for 95% coding accuracy. The posting also listed per hour expectations with regard to workload, making it clear that their establishment was looking for the best.

Some Florida employers prefer credentialing through AHIMA; others look equally favorably on AAPC . Many do prefer education at the associate’s or bachelor’s level. Schools may require the College Placement Test as a demonstration of academic readiness. A physical exam may also be required before clinical practice.

Certification requires an initial test and continuing education units thereafter. If a person takes board exams through AHIMA (as a CCA, CCS, CCS-P, or RHIT) 20 units are required during each two year recertification period. CEU requirements will go up somewhat if the person has more than one certification.

Medical Billing and Coding Salary and Job Outlook in Florida

Medical Billing and Coding expertise is quantifiable and measurable. In medical and billing and coding, more so than in many professions, one can expect to take tests at points along the away. There is a lot of competition for entry level positions, but excellence is ultimately rewarded. For some, the path begins early. Santa Fe Community College in Gainesville is one of the Florida medical billing and coding schools that offers vocational training to high schoolers through the Pathfinders program. An instructor reported recently that she would take an exceptionally well qualified high school student into medical billing and coding, but as in other vocational subjects, aptitude must be demonstrated.

Medical billing and coding specialists work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, physicians’ offices, and insurance companies. Hospital positions offer the most room for advancement, but are quite competitive. Some people get their foot in the door by taking related jobs that put them in the setting they desire. There are positions that don’t necessarily require coding credentials, but the employers do look favorably upon them. A recent ad for a customer service representative in pediatric cardiology, for example, listed coding expertise as desirable.

Baptist Medical Center in Jacksonville, Florida Hospital Orlando, Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami, Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami and Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, FL are some of the largest health care industry employers in Florida and while they might not be hiring all the time, they are definitely good places to begin searching for jobs.

The BLS reports that people in the health information technologies make good wages in Florida. The highest salaries reported are for the Fort Lauderdale and Lakeland metropolitan areas. The lowest salaries reported in Florida are in the Sebastian-Verano Beach area and the nonmetropolitan areas in the southern part of the state, both of which report incomes in the $27,000 to 28,000 range.

You may also want to check out the medical assisting programs in FL. This is another popular career pathway with a shorter training period required.

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