Medical Coding and Billing in Ohio
It used to be that medical billers and medical coders were trained on the job. Increasingly, though, employers are expecting education and credentialing. Why? Part of the reason for this is as old as the history of labor specialization. Another reason is found in the explosion of medical knowledge in recent years. Pre-term babies are surviving into adulthood; adults are managing heart conditions and triumphing over cancer. These success stories are the result of medical interventions; each one of them requires a code for payment purposes, and sometimes for research purposes as well. There are thousands of codes, and the process of coding often involves abstracting information from medical practitioners’ charts. Professionals must know which conditions and procedures are being referenced even when the language varies.
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Recent years have also seen increased healthcare legislation, from privacy laws like HIPAA to comprehensive healthcare reform like the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. These also result in an increased need for trained professionals. Yet another reason is tough economic times. Faced with an abundance of applicants and a budget shortfall, employers naturally favor those who have already been formally trained through a medical billing and coding program, HIM or HIT program or a health informatics program. Workers want to set themselves apart through education and certification.
Medical Billing and Coding Training in Ohio
What is covered in a typical course of study in a medical billing and coding program? Students start with core allied health courses like physiology, disease pathology, and medical terminology. These help them understand patient health charts and also give them a common vocabulary when talking with medical professionals about missing information or compliance issues. From there, students progress to courses in payer policies, coding taxonomies, and medical law. Toward the end of the program, they are placed in externship sites to get real world experience.
Students presently entering medical billing and coding programs have a rare opportunity. They will be among the very first to graduate with a foundation in ICD-10-CM coding. The switch from ICD-9-CM to ICD-10-CM coding is no small change, but rather the overhaul of a classification system that has been in use some thirty years. The AANP estimates just learning the new codes will take 70 to 80 hours. This could, however, represent opportunity in the field. Already in the field? The transition may create new higher level positions.
AHIMA, one of the two largest national certifying bodies, has released a time frame for schools to make the transition. Graduates are projected to begin sitting for exams in ICD-10-CM between June and September of 2013.
Medical Billing and Coding Salary and Job Outlook in Ohio
There are excellent advancement opportunities in the medical billing and coding profession. The most difficult part can be securing that first coding position. Ohio coders and students have offered some advice on the forums at Indeed.com. It may be best to apply to smaller facilities first.
Some Ohio medical billing and coding specialists also turn to specialized staffing agencies to help them procure employment. Office Team reports that Ohio is one of their large markets. Recently, they offered the following advice for those bent on succeeding in the field: Employers value, in addition to experience, strong interpersonal skills. As the medical billing and coding profession prepares for the major transition in 2013, those with strong knowledge of the new system will be attractive to employers.
The BLS classifies coders as HIT professionals and lists $15.31 as the average hourly wage for Ohio workers in 2009. Some large metropolitan areas report slightly higher wages. Cleveland is listed at $16.85 and Toledo, $15.98. The AAPC has a highly credentialed membership and reports somewhat higher numbers based on a 12,000 person survey carried out over the internet in 2010. Ohio is listed at $40,890 a year.
Some of the places where people research job qualifications for medical billing and coding specialists include The Cleveland Clinic, Mercy Hospitals in Cincinnati, Batavia, Fairfield and Mt. Airy and Akron City Hospital. These are also great places to start a job search. Office Team can also help you along with searching for jobs once you complete a medical billing and coding program or a related educational program.
Related allied health training like the Medical Assistant programs in Ohio are also a promising entry way to the health care field with similar job growth projections to that of medical billing and coding in Ohio.