Medical billing continues to be one of the most rapidly growing jobs in the health care field. The medical billing specialist is a crucial member of the medical team, and competent specialists continue to be in high demand.
The job of the medical billing specialist is a specialized one. Because of the ramifications of incorrect billing procedures, most offices are seeking individuals who have obtained training or education beyond high school. Qualified specialists may be able to obtain certification through the states in which they work. Although certification is not presently a requirement, many employers prefer certified specialists.
During training, the student can expect to take classes that consist of courses such as anatomy and medical terminology. Extensive training in the areas of form completion, and proper use and defining of coding is also required. The career-ready candidate will be fluent in the use of Current Procedural Technology and International Classification of Disease Coding codes. Many students find this to be the most rigorous element of their studies.
It is imperative that the student receive substantial instruction on proper completion of the CMS 1500 form. The student should be able to recognize common mistakes on the form that can result in costly errors for the physician.
The college should provide ample instruction in medical billing software. The student should learn to create financial transactions, construct medical databases, and learn how to collect and submit insurance claims.
A solid understanding of the various health care policies and programs is essential. Special emphasis should be given to state and federal medical programs, particularly to Medicare and Medicaid. Medical claims are often associated with legal issues, thus the curriculum should include a thorough study of personal injury claims and workers compensation.
There are several career options for the medical billing specialist. Although most specialists are employed by a doctors’ office, some may choose to work in a hospital setting, rehabilitation clinic, or legal office. It is also possible to work independently at home. There are liberal opportunities for advancement for medical billers. Medical billing specialists may find themselves working as office managers or supervisors. Some acquire management positions as directors of coding or billing.
Training for medical billing specialists can be concluded in programs that last between nine months and two years. Programs of durations shorter than nine months are generally not supported. Online colleges have been found to provide a genuine opportunity for many prospective students. Since many prospective students are currently employed professionals, they require a convenient and flexible program of study. Online colleges and universities can usually accommodate schedules of individuals who have obligations that prevent them from attending standard on-campus colleges. Online students receive the benefits of convenient scheduling, while still receiving the same benefits as students of stand alone colleges. Students at online universities have similar access to qualified instructors, technology, and textbooks as do their counterparts attending face-to-face classes. Since online classes are generally taken at home, commuting is not a consideration for the online student.
The requirements to become a medical billing specialist are stringent. Physicians and other employers are seeking dedicated, conscientious professionals who can work well under pressure and can handle a variety of tasks. With proper training and a solid educational foundation, the successful medical billing specialist is an invaluable member of the medical professional’s team.