It’s true that the healthcare industry is changing in dramatic ways. But those changes, brought on by healthcare reform, an aging U.S. population and cutting edge technologies bode well for medical coders—their career outlook is bright! A student on track to earn a medical billing and coding certificate is poised to benefit from the 22 percent employment surge.
Now that we’ve got your attention, let’s look a bit deeper into the field of medical coding. Why is it in demand? What does this position entail? How can you take advantage of the exciting opportunity? Keep reading to find the answers to all of your burning questions.
Medical Coding Jobs are in high demand?
The simple answer is: ICD-10!
The US Healthcare Industry -mandated switch from ICD-9—the current, 36-year-old system used for coding diseases, diagnoses and clinical procedures—has led to a shortage in medical coders. Implementation of the 10th revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) was extended past its original deadline from 2014 until Oct. 1, 2015.
FACT: Medical coding jobs are projected to increase by 22 percent through 2022.
This gives healthcare professionals a head start in getting adequate training for these advanced jobs. Hospitals are preparing for a smooth transition in order to prevent deep revenue losses. So, what else could be driving demand for medical coding specialists? Current medical billers are navigating a huge learning curve! Transitioning from the 17,000 codes of ICD-9 to the 140,000 codes of ICD-10 is quite a jump.
What do medical coders actually do?
Put simply, a medical coding specialist’s job is as follows: He or she translates all of the details of a patient’s record into codes used by insurance companies to determine how much they reimburse a doctor’s office or hospital.
What training is needed to become a medical coder?
You will need a post-secondary certificate to enter the medical coding field, along with a professional certification. Becoming a certified medical coder requires a variety of coursework in physiology, anatomy and pharmacology. The courses are affordable, offered online and can be completed in less than one year.
What does a medical coding career path look like?
Medical coders who have only worked in a doctors’ office typically earn less than those who have worked in a hospital coding records ranging from pediatrics to orthopedics to oncology. Experienced coders can increase their earning potential by becoming peer reviewers, then supervisors and eventually auditors.
Medical coders also have ample opportunity for career advancement in the healthcare industry.
Some positions you could pursue in HIT are: health information technician, medical billing specialist or clinical documentation specialist. Some common HIM careers are: patient information director, quality management coordinator or medical practice manager.