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Medical Coding and Billing in New Jersey

When a family member is ill, that’s a significant source of stress. Who needs the worry of medical bills on top of that? It’s good to get an invoice in the mail that shows that those bills have been covered! For New Jersey residents on NJ FamilyCare and other insurance programs, medical billing and coding specialists in New Jersey are among the unsung heroes.

Those in the medical billing and coding professions have a variety of duties. They attach codes and modifiers to diagnoses and interventions and may also analyze data, investigate claims, and educate other health workers. The career requires a surprising amount of expertise. Medical coding specialists need to be adept at working with coding taxonomies, including the ICD-CM and the CPT. They must also be familiar with the procedures of different payers: HMOs, PPOs, Medicare, and Medicaid.

Although medical billers and coders start out on the same education and career track, their paths often diverge. Medical billing has it own set of duties, which can include filing electronic claims, following up on denied claims, and handling compliance issues. Medical coding often represents a more highly skilled occupation with more advancement potential. The AAPC, which has a generally well educated and skilled membership, conducted a nationwide survey of more than 10,000 coders in 2009. They noted that certain specialty areas, including radiology and rheumatology, were among the highest paying.

How does one find their way into the higher paying medical billing and coding jobs in New Jersey? They start with a solid education.

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Medical Billing and Coding Training in New Jersey

There are a number of medical billing and coding schooling options, online as well as through traditional brick and mortar campuses in New Jersey. These programs are available at different levels, so prospective medical billers and coders should be aware of the advantages in each. High levels of education can help a person advance in the field. Some New Jersey employers prefer candidates with a BS or BA.

An advantage to shorter programs, of course, is time in medical billing and coding training -- if one lives in a part of the state where demand is quite high. Some New Jersey residents may be eligible for special programs. Those who are unemployed due to reductions in demand in some other field may qualify for free training, depending on the needs in their own geographic area. State-approved medical coding programs sometimes advertise for such students, noting particular ‘in demand’ codes to use. An employee of the Center for Occupational Employment Information noted that medical billing and coding is not classified as in demand statewide, but that people can check on the status in their particular part of the state by looking up ‘health science’ on the Department of Labor and Workforce Development site. Clicking on the contact button at the bottom of the page will put a person in touch with a representative willing to walk her or him through the steps or look up her geographic region.

Those who do manage a quick entry into the field will still have the option of pursuing higher degrees later. Many medical billing and coding schools in New Jersey cater to the needs of working professionals. It is not uncommon for courses to be conducted online.

Health informatics programs are also worth a consideration since they offer much of the training a medical billing and coding program does, yet it incorporates this training into a more comprehensive degree program that can lead to more advanced and desirable certifications.

Medical Billing and Coding Salary and Job Outlook in New Jersey

Income-wise, New Jersey is a good state for a medical billing or coding professional. The Bureau of Labor Statistics categorizes these professions as medical records and information technology careers and place New Jersey, with an average annual salary of $45,750, at the very top of the fifty states. Three of the nation’s top five metropolitan areas are located within New Jersey. The greater Newark metropolitan area, which encompasses parts of Pennsylvania as well as New Jersey, is the top in the nation with an impressive $51,390 average. Number four is the Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton area, listed at $44,350, and number five is the Edison-New Brunswick area at $43,890.

These figures, it should be noted, reflect workers not just in medical billing and coding, but in other related health information fields. AACP places New Jersey slightly lower (fourth highest) but reports a higher figure of $52,369. Part of the explanation for the discrepancy can be found in AAPC’s membership; the organization counts a lot of highly educated and credentialed coding specialists in its membership.

Though it is not considered an in-demand career throughout the state, many of the largest employers in New Jersey are in the health care sector and have huge medical billing and coding department or hire agencies to provide the services. Some of these employers include Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, Bergen Regional Medical Center in Paramus, Atlanticare Regional Medical Center with locations in Atlantic City, Pomona and Egg Harbor Township and Hackensack University Medical Center.

Get a jump on this career by first finding a medical billing and coding program or a health informatics program that fits your current schedule and matches your career goals. After learning about those programs you may want to check out the Medical Assistant programs in New Jersey.

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