Friday, December 12, 2008

Train for Competence!

Many people prefer to enroll in a medical coding training program that provides the flexibility to learn medical coding in the privacy of their own home, and on their own schedule, on a full or part time basis without having to quit their current job and give up their livelihood.

Look for a medical coding training program that offers a strong complement of foundation courses in addition to the standard courses on medical coding industry codes. Obviously, the medical coding industry codes will form the foundation of your training.

These codes include:
1. CPT
3. ICD-9 and soon ICD-10

However, you should also look for core medical coding training classes that ensure competence in areas such as:

* Medical terminology
* Anatomy, physiology, and disease processes
* Pharmacology
* Technology
* Healthcare regulations
* HIPAA compliance
* Insurance fraud and compliance

It can be a challenge to sift through the “diploma mills” to find a top medical coding training program. Finding a medical coding training program that offers a flexible home-based online coding training option as well as a solid medical coding curriculum that is practicum intensive can be difficult yet is possible.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Importance of Medical Coding Practicum

Most medical coding training programs that I am aware of – and I have done my research - focus almost entirely on theoretic training, which - while important – is far removed from the realities of a clinical coding setting. The very best medical coding training option will include a comprehensive practicum – something that will allow you to put into practice the theory and medical coding rules that you learn. The best medical coding training program will include something very substantive that approximates the real world of medical coding. I cannot stress too much the importance of an intensive practicum in the medical coding training program you select. I can tell you that when you apply for your first job, this practical experience is going to set you apart from your competitors. More importantly, it will translate into a high comfort level on your first day on the job as a medical coder.

Again, one of the most important components of a quality medical coding training program will be a comprehensive “hands-on” practicum. Nothing will prepare you more for the real world of medical coding than a solid medical coding practicum.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Quest for the Right Medical Coding Training Program

There are definitely a wide variety of options for someone interested in receiving medical coding training. It can be challenging, however, to find the right medical coding training program.

The first question you should be asking yourself is: “What are my primary objectives?” Your primary objective is probably not to receive medical coding training for its own sake – unless you are just a true renaissance person. If you are like most people, your hope is that a medical coding training program will lead to a really great medical coding job! Sure! That is what it is all about isn’t it? Medical coding employment. Something that will bring in a paycheck and set you on a path for financial success as a trained medical coder.

Let's face it, medical coding training requires an investment. But investing time and money in the wrong medical coding training program can result in a less than positive experience.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Medical Coding Where?

Most medical coding work is still performed by medical coders working in hospitals or clinics. Medical coders work in a professional environment and perform a vital behind the scenes billing support activity.

There is a trend toward outsourcing of medical coding work to third party vendors. As this trend catches on, more medical coding work will be done in homes and medical coding will evolve to become more of a home based career – much like medical transcription is today. It is believed that as technology continues to evolve and remote medical coding platforms are developed, the outsourcing model will begin to take hold in the industry. However, at this point it is important to point out that most medical coding is still performed in hospitals and clinics.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

What do Medical Coders Do?

Medical coders review patient medical records to identify reimbursable or billable events and activities. Once a reimbursable event has been identified the proper numerical code is input into a healthcare reimbursement system. Proper coding will ultimately determine the amount the healthcare provider will be reimbursed by Insurance companies or by Medicare or Medicaid. It is of paramount importance that the medical coder accurately codes each patient chart. Errors and omissions can be costly and burdensome to the healthcare system.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Define: Medical Coding

Medical coding is essentially the process of assigning formal, standardized medical codes to patient medical records. When a patient goes into a clinic or hospital a medical record is created. This medical record will include patient identifying and demographic information. It will also include a description of the chief complaint, any procedures that were performed, medications prescribed, a diagnosis, and follow-up instructions.

The diagnostic and procedural information contained in the patient medical record must be converted into simplified numerical codes by trained medical coders. These numerical codes allow complex medical procedures and diagnoses to be recognized quickly and easily by health care computer systems where they can be electronically processed for payment by third party payers – Insurance companies and Medicare, for example.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Am I for In or for Out Patient Medical Coding

A lot of surgeries and procedures that used to require admission to the hospital are now being performed routinely on an outpatient basis – which means you go in and have the surgery and come home the same day without ever being admitted to the hospital.

As you might expect, there is a significant difference in the skill set required to apply medical codes to complex inpatient operative reports vs. the skill set required to apply appropriate medical codes to a report for a laceration or a stubbed toe in a clinic or emergency room setting.

The reality is that most medical coding is outpatient medical coding. The trend is for physicians and hospitals to perform more and more of their procedures on an outpatient basis.

Most entry-level medical coders are going to begin their careers performing outpatient medical coding on outpatient medical records.

Inpatient medical coders are generally trained or mentored on the job and come from the ranks of outpatient medical coders. This creates plenty of opportunities for advancement in both career and income over time.