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Medical Coding and Billing in New York

Certified medical coders are vital to healthcare legislation, a healthcare staffer at Office Team declares. Why? Employment of knowledgeable medical coders results in fewer improperly filed claims and duplicate claims. Adept coders also ensure that healthcare providers get paid at a fair rate; when a coder selects the most precise code, the provider may be paid at a higher rate than if a less precise one were chosen.

Expanded healthcare means an expanded role for the medical billing and coding profession as well. In response to new healthcare legislation, the American Association of Professional Coders has unveiled the CPCO (Certified Professional Compliance Officer) credential. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as well as patient privacy laws and fraud and abuse legislation, have made medical billing and coding more complex than ever.

What about those who prefer to work in a hospital or physician’s office setting, sifting through health charts and attaching alphanumeric codes? Medical billing and coding offers opportunity for those who want to be in the health care field but have very limited time, if any, with patients. Medical coding is becoming more complex as well. There are a range of credentials to signal your competence in this important field.

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Medical Billing and Coding Training in New York

A course of study in a medical coding and billing program begins with foundation medical courses, the same ones as in other allied health fields. These include medical terminology, pharmacology, anatomy, and pathophysiology. One might wonder why these are necessary for an office position. The answer is that coding is not always cut and dry, and the language in physicians’ or nurses’ charts doesn’t always match up neatly with what’s found in code books. In other words, a professional is required, not a machine. Computer software often is used in the coding process; a computer might, for instance, scan for keywords and assign tentative codes, but a human has to oversee it.

Medical billing and coding students as well as health informatics, HIT and HIM students also learn HIPAA privacy regulations, CPT and ICD-CM coding systems, and policies of Medicaid and other payers. After course completion, a prospective medical coding specialist can take national board exams. Although not required by the state of New York, credentials are highly valued by employers. Among the most respected credentials are the RHIA, RHIT, and CCS, all conferred by AHIMA, and the CPC, conferred by the AAPC. One can only get an RHIT or RHIA credential by graduating from an accredited school. The CPC and CCS don’t require formal postsecondary education, but they are not easy to pass.

Medical Billing and Coding Salary and Job Outlook in New York

How can one make themselves more competitive within the field? It is important to stay current. Having knowledge of particular computer programs can be an asset in New York, an Office Team healthcare staffing professional reports. The software programs that one might be asked about include Centricity, E-Clinical, ADS, IDX, and Misys. Health information technology (HIT) programs and health informatics programs are other routes to becoming a medical billing and coding specialist. These programs include coding and billing courses in addition to many of the software programs employers are looking for when they hire a medical billing or medical coding specialist.

What can a medical coding specialist hope to earn? Medical billers and coders are classified by the BLS as health information and medical records workers. The statewide salary average is reported as $18.33 an hour. Wages depend quite a bit on one’s location within the state, though. The Long Island area was above the state mean.

The AAPC, which boasts a highly educated and credentialed membership, reports slightly higher averages. Again, there is a marked difference between the New York City metropolitan area and other parts of the state. In the 2009 Salary Survey, $59,913 was listed as the NYC average, and $44,721 as the average for the rest of the state. Of course, experience is a big factor. For those who are very ambitious, the highest salaries reported are in product development and consulting. For those who have proven themselves in the field -- and don’t mind hitting the road -- there is money to be made.

To give you an idea of where medical billing and coding specialists may find work in New York, here are a few of the largest employers in New York: Presbyterian Hospital with locations in New York City and White Plains, Bellevue Hospital in New York City, St. Luke's Hospital in New York City, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center in Jamaica, NY, Brookdale Hospital in the city of New York.

People researching the medical billing and coding programs in New York also checked out The Medical Assistant programs in New York. Medical assisting offers another, sometimes shorter, route to a career in the health care field with promising job growth projections and earnings potential.

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