Medical Coding and Billing in Georgia
58% of Georgia’s Medicaid enrollees are children. It’s the job of Georgia’s doctors, dentists, and ophthalmologists to make sure these youngsters get the care they need to grow up healthy. It’s the job of the state’s medical billing and coding specialists to make sure that the expenses are covered and that the process takes place in a timely manner. As medicine advances, and as healthcare is extended to more and more of those who need it, the medical coding profession grows in complexity as well.
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Medical billing and coding specialists in Georgia are responsible for attaching codes and modifiers to medical, dental, and chiropractic treatments. They need to understand medical terminology, disease pathology, and standard treatments in order to abstract information from health charts and other documentation. In order to code it correctly, they also need a working knowledge of American and international coding taxonomies, as well as Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance policies.
Medical Billing and Coding Training in Georgia
Medical billing and coding training programs give students the skills they need to be successful in the field. It is not uncommon for Georgia employers to give a medical coding test as part of the interview process. The bar may be set very high for especially desirable medical billing and medical coding positions. A recent job posting for Southeast Georgia Health System, for instance, specifies 96% coding accuracy. What else do employers desire besides a proven record? The Georgia Health System ad does specify courses that applicants should have on their transcripts (anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, and computers). These are part of standard courses in medical billing and coding or health information technology programs.
In addition to knowledge of taxonomies and relevant policies, employers may ask proficiency with various computer programs (Excel, Word, QuickBooks Pro, Access, even PowerPoint). Character may also be deemed very important. One can get a sense of what employers seek by perusing online job ads. Piedmont Hospital asks knowledge of accounting and spreadsheets as well as field-specific knowledge. They note that candidates must submit to a background check, credit check, and drug screening.
Although medical billing and coding are taught together and often combined at smaller establishments like doctors offices, they are not quite the same thing. Medical coding can be a very specialized skill, particularly in hospital settings, and it offers more opportunities for advancement. Some jobs in Georgia are clearly delineated as being primarily medical billing or primarily medical coding. Some are termed medical billing and collecting, others medical coding specialist. Georgia employers tend to value credentialing through AHIMA or AAPC, so consider schools that will prepare you for this certification. Find many of these medical billing and coding and health informatics degree programs offered in Georgia listed below.
Medical Billing and Coding Salary and Job outlook in Georgia
It can be useful to talk to representatives from different schools about the various programs they have and what job opportunities they may provide. Atlantic Technical College offers certificates in medical billing or medical coding and also a more comprehensive associates in health information technology. A representative notes that the associates program prepares students to sit for RHIT board exams while the certificate program prepares them for the CCA or CCS. She says that at ATC, students take the same coding courses whether they are on the associates or certificate track. She notes that the difference in the programs is in breadth more so than depth, but confirms that some employers like what the RHIT certification stands for.
When applying for entry level positions in medical billing and coding, one should not discount previous work history. Prior experience as an LPN or RN can be desirable. Some medical billing and coding positions may also value experience as a billing records clerk, whatever the setting.
Some facilities that may be good places to find a medical billing and coding or related job in Georgia include Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Atlanta Medical Center, WellStar Kennestone Hospital in Marietta and DeKalb Medical in Decatur and in Hillandale.
What can a person in the health technology and medical record fields hope to earn? The BLS list an average annual wage of $14.32 for Georgia. Those at the 10th percentile earn about $9.52 an hour, those at the 90th percentile $20.77.
Check out related programs like the medical assistant programs in Georgia. Medical assistant training is a shorter process in most cases, yet the employment opportunities are quite good in the state.