Medical Billing and Coding in Michigan

What’s the ICD-9-CM? It’s the International Classification of Diseases, Clinical Modification, Edition 9 — and it’s a volume that medical billers and coders come to know very well indeed. Professionals in the medical billing and coding fields must master a surprising amount of medical terminology and concepts in order to correctly code health care visits for those in Michigan and around the globe. This is even more true for coders than it is for billers. While the entry point into the profession is often the same, medical billing and coding specialists who advance in the field pursue increasingly specialized knowledge. Another handbook Michigan’s diligent prospective medical billing and coding specialists may stay up at night studying is the CPT-4, or the Current Procedural Terminology of the American Medical Association.

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Medical coding is a challenging career with good advancement potential. Medical billing and coding specialists abstract information from physician’s documentation and code it for the purpose of reimbursement and sometimes for medical research as well. Medical billers and coders need to be well versed not only in medical knowledge but in Medicare and insurance policies and legal mandates. They need to be good analytical thinkers and have strong math skills. Codes are complex, and it’s not always obvious what the best one is. Medical documentation can be messy — and when it gets too messy, coding specialists sometimes find themselves educating the physicians they work with! (Thankfully, a 2009 survey by the AACP reported that most physicians are grateful for the support.)

Up for a challenge? You might consider a career in medical billing and coding training program in Michigan to get your career started.

Medical Billing and Coding Training and Certification in Michigan

There are opportunities to break into the field with different levels of education. Some in the medical billing and coding field have a certificate, others a master’s. Opportunities for advancement, in terms of both job responsibility and compensation, of course depend on education and certification. Thankfully, education doesn’t have to be completed all at once. If one starts with a shorter program but wants to advance beyond entry level positions, he or she may want to ask what credits can be transferred.

Conversely, some students choose to enroll in a more comprehensive health information management program at the onset and then pursue specialized certifications after they have garnered some work experience. State licensure is not necessary, but certification is often expected. The two best known and most respected credentialing bodies are AHIMA and AAPC.

Medical Billing and Coding Salary and Job Outlook in Michigan

What’s the job market like in Michigan for medical coders? The Bureau of Labor Statistics projected in 2006 that the coming decade would see a 14% growth in medical records and related technologies, placing the field somewhat above the average growth rate for all jobs. A coding instructor in Grand Rapids shared that 2013 may be a good time for finding work as a coder as the ICD-10-CM replaces the ICD-9-CM — those who don’t enjoy their jobs may be moving on as opposed to mastering all that new content.

The AAPC survey reported an average salary of $42,306 for Michigan. Job setting ultimately goes a long way toward determining salary. The AAPC reports a nationwide salary of $46,795 for those working for the government. Medical billing and coding experts working in hospital settings earn nearly as much: $44,895. The reported average was $40,301 for billing and coding experts employed by billing companies, $39,102 for those with private practice physicians, and $37,500 for those at rehab centers.

Great places to start a medical billing and coding job search in Michigan include William Beaumont Hospitals in Grosse Point, Troy and Royal Oak, Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit (And other locations in the state), Henry Ford Macomb Hospital in Clinton and Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. These are some of Michigan’s largest employers in the field of health care. In general, the cities of Lansing, Grand Rapids, Sterling Heights, Warren and Ann Arbor will have more opportunities in the way of job openings since they are the larger cities in Michigan.

Of course, settings with lower reported wages can be easier to break into. Although prospects are good comparatively, the current economic situation can make it more difficult to land that first job. Veterans hospitals are sometimes receptive to very well qualified individuals who are just entering the field. Physician’s offices are considered easier entry points than hospitals. Some candidates use medical data entry as a springboard to a career.

You may want to check out the Medical Assistant programs in Michigan. Medical Assisting is another rapidly growing field of health care with promising career potential.

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