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MCoons91 04-18-2013 09:13 AM

Medical coding as a career?
 
Is there anyone here who works in medical coding? Its a job I've been thinking a lot about. I am currently in school for an associates in administrative office technology, but I've been thinking a lot about earning a certification in that. I just need information and insight of any can provide it. Thank you!
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curlypearl 04-18-2013 09:40 AM

I'm not in it but if I were younger, (I'm 67) I would definitely pursue it. I like to work on a computer by myself, I'm careful with details, and I'm interested in medical issues. Does this sound like you - would you enjoy that?

Also, all of the medically related fields are supposed to be good areas to choose for careers in the next decade or so. Good luck with this and hopefully, someone who is already in the field will chime in.

Po 04-18-2013 09:57 AM

I was just talking to a co-worker about this 15 mins ago. We are both social workers and were commiserating on the low-pay. Her sister works in medical coding and gets paid $25/hr. All you need is a certificate.

spiderlashes5000 04-18-2013 10:06 AM

Is medical coding the same as medical transcription?

VTmom 04-18-2013 10:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by spiderlashes5000 (Post 2156085)
Is medical coding the same as medical transcription?

I was wondering the same thing.

curlypearl 04-18-2013 10:14 AM

Spider, they are different.

Med. transcription is typing into a computer (like into WORD) notes from a doctor that he or she dictated into a dictating machine like Dictaphone.

Medical coding is assigning a code from a book for each type of medical procedure that has been performed. The code is entered onto insurance forms. There is a large book that has thousands of codes - each one corresponds to the type of procedure. The medical professional (doctor usually) writes down the procedure and the coder looks up the code and enters it on the insurance form.

Hope that helps!

Po 04-18-2013 10:19 AM

And we need better medical coders.

I can't count the number of times I've gotten an outrageous bill because it wasn't coded correctly!

Josephine 04-18-2013 10:47 AM

I worked for a medical coding software company and was actually taking classes there to get certified. I understand you can make good money and can work from home and contract easily. The profession is dominantly female and traditionally not very foward in technology(but that's sort of common in the medical field in general) but of course that's changing.

Personally it's boring to me but if you don't mind it, it seems like a good thing to get into and especially if you are good at it. It seems like there is a demand for good coders as most are just average.

Speckla 04-18-2013 10:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VTmom (Post 2156087)
Quote:

Originally Posted by spiderlashes5000 (Post 2156085)
Is medical coding the same as medical transcription?

I was wondering the same thing.

No. Medical coding is putting in a description of the pt's illness or procedure into an ICD-9 code or CPT that the insurance codes. Medical Transcription is listening to the doctor's recordings of the patient's visit and transferring it to a type account of the events.

ETA: You have to be super careful about doing medical coding from home because not all doctor's are totally ethical and they want any claim up coded so they can collect as much as possible. You personally will be responsible for any fraud (even if you don't realize it) committed. Not all doctor's office are ethical.

Speckla 04-18-2013 11:00 AM

Your best bet is to read the Medicare manual and see exactly what codes are accepted and what level of care is given. Chapter 10 is the best to read. I do ambulance billing but the really difference is that we do not use CPT codes or exact diagnosis codes. Ambulance is considered ground transport and does fall under a different category (we are neither in or out of network) but it's basically the same.

Most insurances based their allowed amount off the Medicare Fee Schedule.

Josephine 04-18-2013 11:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Speckla (Post 2156111)
Quote:

Originally Posted by VTmom (Post 2156087)
Quote:

Originally Posted by spiderlashes5000 (Post 2156085)
Is medical coding the same as medical transcription?

I was wondering the same thing.

No. Medical coding is putting in a description of the pt's illness or procedure into an ICD-9 code or CPT that the insurance codes. Medical Transcription is listening to the doctor's recordings of the patient's visit and transferring it to a type account of the events.

ETA: You have to be super careful about doing medical coding from home because not all doctor's are totally ethical and they want any claim up coded so they can collect as much as possible. You personally will be responsible for any fraud (even if you don't realize it) committed. Not all doctor's office are ethical.

But what does that have to do with working from home? That happens onsite as well. I'm assuming you follow the transcript and if the transcript is a lie, is it the coder's fault too?

Speckla 04-18-2013 11:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Josephine (Post 2156117)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Speckla (Post 2156111)
Quote:

Originally Posted by VTmom (Post 2156087)
I was wondering the same thing.

No. Medical coding is putting in a description of the pt's illness or procedure into an ICD-9 code or CPT that the insurance codes. Medical Transcription is listening to the doctor's recordings of the patient's visit and transferring it to a type account of the events.

ETA: You have to be super careful about doing medical coding from home because not all doctor's are totally ethical and they want any claim up coded so they can collect as much as possible. You personally will be responsible for any fraud (even if you don't realize it) committed. Not all doctor's office are ethical.

But what does that have to do with working from home? That happens onsite as well. I'm assuming you follow the transcript and if the transcript is a lie, is it the coder's fault too?

The difference is that at home you are responsible for what is put in. In an office setting you have higher ups that have to answer for what is produced. In a office it is pretty cut and dry because there is literature and specific procedures to follow. It isn't so much at home and the blame is placed on the biller and not the institution.

Transcription and medical coding are totally different. Transcription is word for word what the doctor says. Medical coding is partially the billers perspective of what is happening. Billing is tricky and coding is worse. I have been doing this for the past 8 years and I am currently in school to get my degree in medical billing and coding.

Speckla 04-18-2013 11:13 AM

Let me add thought that I do third party ambulance billing and we are the redheaded stepchild of the billing world. The basic thing is that you only bill what was done. I see the information that the medics report and they don't diagnosis so it's 'possible' but doctors can give an exact diagnosis but you really don't know if they're up coding or what.

curlypearl 04-18-2013 01:27 PM

Wow! This is so much more complicated than I had imagined. Goes to show - jobs are so often much more complex and difficult than we realize.

Corrina777 04-18-2013 01:48 PM

I actually work as a coding quality/education manager for a hospital system. Yes, it can be a great field with lots of opportunity, but it's definitely not for everyone. It really takes a very specific personality- your work is potentially scrutinized by multiple people, many of whom might have differing opinions on whether or not you're correct, the codes change regularly, the rules change regularly, the interpretation of the rules changes regularly. The implications of incorrect coding can be as severe as causing huge financial loss for the physician or facility or jail time. But if you can handle constant change, constant pressure an constant constructive criticism, and have a good eye for detail, it could've a good fit.

Lucky Charm 04-18-2013 07:06 PM

I just finished my internship in medical coding. I'll be receiving my school certificate shortly and need to test for national certification very soon. There is lots of great info in the above posts, but I would also suggest that you take a look at the AAPC and AHIMA websites and their forums.

I have always loved the medical field, but for several reasons I couldn't be a nurse/PA/etc even if I wanted to (which I would!). I previously went to college for art, received my BFA, then realized my heart wasn't truly in it. My DH suggested I look into coding since he has a friend in the field and he knows how much I love medical - I loved it from the start.
Another big draw to coding was the potential to work from home - I've mentioned before that I am an introvert, so just let me work, don't bother me, let me figure out the details and I'll do just fine!

MCoons91 04-18-2013 08:35 PM

Thanks for all the information! I learned quite a bit. I didn't realize though how much could go wrong. Something to think about. The medical field interests me but I can't be someone who actually handles patients like a doctor or nurse. I'd rather work behind the scenes. I have heard good things about this career other than what's been pointed out here though. So I agree it probably takes a special person and you genuinely have to be interested. Which I think I am. I'll just have to learn as much as possible.

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Corrina777 04-18-2013 09:02 PM

I didn't mean to sound snarky in my last post, so I apologize if it came across that way. I tend to be very apprehensive when people start asking about coding as a means to work from home, or make more money, or work regular hours because of everything else that goes with it (I get asked regularly by people who know I'm a manger and some of them are people I know well enough to know I would never want them working as a coder in my facility). I'm also the person who has to try to appeal when Medicare decides to take back money. And as an internal auditor and educator I regularly deal with coders who believe that they already know it all and who still code the way they did 10 years ago. But don't get me wrong, I enjoy what I do. I just try to warn people to make sure they enter the field for the right reasons. As mentioned previously, AHIMA and AAPC have tons of information, and the vast majority of facilities and companies require a coding credential from one of these two organizations. The CPC (through AAPC) is the easier credential to sit for- I can't comment on the test because I went straight for my CCS through AHIMA, but they've made the testing eligibility requirements much more stringent in the last year or two, so you really can't earn a CCS without real world experience. But your first challenge is surviving A&P. :)

spiderlashes5000 04-19-2013 08:21 AM

Fascinating! I didn't know any of this.

Corrina777 04-19-2013 09:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by spiderlashes5000 (Post 2156476)
Fascinating! I didn't know any of this.

Whenever I meet someone and they ask me what I do for work, I always preface my answer with a comment along the lines of "I work in a field that most people have never hear of, so I'm not going to be offended if you don't low what it is..." I'm more surprised when I talk to someone who IS familiar with it.


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