Why a Career in Medical Billing and Coding?
February 19, 2019
February 19, 2019
The following are actual, no kidding, valid codes.
Exhibit A: Initial contact with flying horses (W31.81xA)
Exhibit B: Knitting Y93.D1xA in a prison courtyard (Y92.147)
Exhibit C: Assault by poisoning with the venom of a Portuguese Man O’ War (T63.613A)
Diagnostic coding is the process of translating information gleaned from a patient’s medical record into an alpha-numeric code using the International Classification of Diseases codebook (ICD-10-CM). The codebook is used for statistical purposes and, in our case, for billing medical insurance. Billing a patient’s medical insurance requires a ‘what’ (e.g. closed reduction of Colles fracture left wrist, procedure code 25605LT) and a ‘why’ (e.g. Colles fracture left wrist, S52.532A). Diagnostic and procedure codes distill a great deal of information into a short series of numeric or alpha-numeric characters.
Empire College’s course, MDN301A, is a 6-week intensive in diagnostic coding. We delve deeply into the ICD-10-CM codebook; from Z-codes (Z63.1, problem with in-laws), to the Table of Drugs and Chemicals (T49.6X1A, accidental poisoning by mouthwash), and we take a look at the External Cause Index (W58.13xA, crushed by crocodile). And yes, we become well-versed in the use of the IDC-10-CM codebook in those six weeks!
Empire College offers a 36-week program that’s designed to develop skills used in theory and practice of CPT (procedure codes), ICD-10-CM (diagnostic codes), and HCPCS codes for medical outpatient billing. In addition to coding procedures, students learn billing software programs, claims reimbursement and various medical-related software for data protection and data transmission. Students completing this course are prepared for insurance billing positions in the health care outpatient industry.
We also offer an 18-month AA degree program. Our California Administrative Medical Professional associate degree courses are designed to help you gain the critical skills to properly handle both administrative and medical billing tasks in a variety of healthcare settings. We also incorporate expanded focus on current medical issues, such as laws and ethics, to give you a comprehensive understanding of the medical industry as a whole.
Prospects for billing/coding as a career are listed as favorable with “faster than average” projected growth through 2026. The median salary in Sonoma County is about $20/hour and ranges from approximately $42K/year to over $100K/year according to various sources such as the Economic Development Board, O-Net, and LinkedIn. Employment possibilities run the gamut from working in a medical practice to insurance companies to becoming self-employed as the owner of a billing service.
As for those flying horses, I leave it to you to decide—whimsy or actual sighting of flying horses. Me? I’ll go with whimsy every time.
— Paula Gregerson, Empire College Medical Billing and Coding Instructor