Medical Coding and Billing in Wyoming
Medical billing and coding specialists concern themselves with laws and regulations that most of us take for granted. The Workers Compensation Law is just one of many that they come to know well. Whether an injury or illness is job-related may or may not be a health concern; it is, however, a payment concern. Accurate abstraction of medical records and proper coding is important for getting those bills paid and those expenses reimbursed. Yet it is estimated that mistakes are made in as many as twenty percent of insurance claims.
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Medical coding can be a rewarding and enjoyable career, but it does take skill. The ICD-9-CM has 17,000 codes in the code set, and it is but one of the resources specialists use. If you can code with the best, though, you may find nearly unlimited advancement potential. Duties can include abstracting medical information from patient charts, attaching codes and modifiers and conducting audits.
Medical billing or coding can be especially good career options for people with either health care or general office experience. These skills are often sought after by employers. Customer service experience may also be valued by those posting entry level positions.
To gain the experience you need find a formal education or training program in medical billing and coding, health informatics or health information technology/management. These programs can help prepare you for the certification exams as well as for entry-level jobs in Wyoming.
Medical Billing and Coding Training in Wyoming
The basic coursework for a billing or coding specialist includes coding taxonomies, payer policies, ethical and legal concerns, and computer systems. Core medical classes are also included. These include anatomy, disease pathology, and medical nomenclature. Programs may also include classes in health information management. Longer programs generally include general studies and electives.
Students who are interested in advancing to the level of coding manager or similar positions of responsibility will likely want to enroll in a degree program right away or at least enroll in a program where units can be transferred. Accredited health information management programs can be a good option. Although there are no CAHIIM accredited schools in Wyoming, it is possible to find an accredited program online. Medical billing and coding and other health information technologies lend themselves well to e-learning as the job itself is often done via computer. Another related schooling option is healthcare administration.
Although Wyoming does not license medical billing and coding specialists, board certification can be important for signaling to employers that one has the skills for success.
Medical Billing and Coding Salary and Job Outlook in Wyoming
In 2006, the Bureau of Labor predicted that Wyoming would see 26% growth in its health information technologies industries over the next decade. That would bring the total number of professionals employed in the field from 360 to 460. 30 new positions were expected a year, due to combined growth and replacement.
How well are medical billing and coding specialists compensated? In 2009, the BLS reported an average salary for Wyoming that was identical to the national average: $33,440. Nationwide the following trends are reported: Hospitals pay more than physicians’ offices, with outpatient care centers falling somewhere in between on the salary scale.
There are some regional variations within the state. Cheyenne is listed at $33,810 and Casper $30,290. The nonmetropolitan areas of Wyoming surprisingly report higher wages. Within geographic regions, there is good deal of variance, with those at the 90th percentile pulling in over twice as much as those at the 10th. In the Southwestern nonmetropolitan region the range is a startling $11.27 to $27.65 per hour. Years on the job greatly influences the positions one can compete for.
Internships can help a person make a quicker school to work transition, and they are available even to people in remote areas of Wyoming. An internship can be at any facility that performs — and bills for –medical procedures, notes a representative of Alex T & C.
Large employers in Wyoming employ the services of medical billing and coding specialists for all their billing and coding needs. Some of the largest employers in Wyoming are actually in the health care field and include Campbell County Memorial Hospital in Gillette, Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, Saint John’s Medical Center in Jackson and Wyoming Medical Center in Casper and Rock Springs.
Take the first step on the path to becoming a medical billing and coding specialist and find a school that can help prepare you for the career and certification exams.
You may also want to check out the medical assistant programs in Wyoming as an alternative career path with a shorter training period.