Choosing the perfect career can be one of the most difficult choices you’ll ever make. While you may want to do something fulfilling and rewarding, you still want to be able to advance and comfortably pay your bills. Oftentimes, finding a job that satisfies all the requirements on your checklist can seem impossible. However, with a career as a medical assistant, you can enjoy all the positives you want out of a career in medicine without the negatives so often associated with the industry.
Working as a medical assistant means wearing a lot of hats while you’re at work. With so much to do, it’s easy to get mixed up. Though it’s fine to have an adjustment period for a new position, you’re still expected to conduct yourself as a medical professional immediately. After all, a medical assistant could be the difference between a smoothly-run or chaotic office.
Medical KnowledgeBy working in a medical environment, you are automatically making a commitment to your colleagues and patients that you are able to understand and carry out standard medical procedures. Although it may seem obvious, as a medical assistant, you are expected to have an in-depth knowledge of medical practice. Some of the most common technical duties include:
- Recording Medical Histories
- Exam Preparation
- Drawing Blood
- Explaining Treatment Options
- Administering Injections
- Checking Vital Signs
- Lab Specimen Collection
Bedside MannerAs a medical assistant you can expect a large portion of your day to be spent with patients. These patients may be nervous, scared or in pain and, it is your duty to provide a pleasant experience for them. By flexing your customer service muscles, you can calm distraught patients and make the exam easier for your provider. Being an honest but empathetic medical assistant will assure your patients that you know what you’re doing and they have nothing to worry about. Once these patients are calm and collected, you can then proceed with explaining their treatment.
Details and AdministrativeA commonly overlooked area of expertise in the medical assistant profession is recording details and patient records. Organization and neatness is key when typing or writing out a chief complaint report or filing insurance billing records. If any of your notes are handwritten, double-check for spelling and grammar mistakes and make sure the doctor can read your handwriting. That stereotype of messy medical professional handwriting is no more! Make sure all of your complaint records are short and specific and your bookkeeping is impeccable to keep all sensitive information exactly where it should be.
Anticipating the Doctor’s NeedsAs you set your patient up in the exam room, don’t forget to think about the physician’s needs. Depending on the patient’s chief complaint, you may need to outfit the room with different materials. For example, if the patient would like the doctor to check the healing of a wound, anticipate what the doctor needs to do in order to examine the patient. You should have the wound undressed when the provider enters with fresh wound dressing and cleaning agents at the ready for the end of the examination. Remember: the doctor is incredibly busy with multiple patients. Do whatever you can to ensure he or she needs to do as little as possible when they enter an exam room. They’ll thank you for it.
Discovering a CareerMedical assistants are the backbone of any practice and can turn a hectic office around with just a few simple behavior changes. To learn more about beginning your career as a medical assistant, contact The Allen School or call 1-888-429-0046.
Whether you’re just entering the workforce or you’re contemplating making a career change, there are countless benefits of selecting medical billing and coding as your chosen field. Here are just six of the many reasons this is a career path worth considering.
- It’s in demand. The employment outlook for medical billers and coders is expected to increase 15 percent from 2014 to 2024 – a significantly faster rate than the average across all other occupations and industries. Plus, now that more people in the U.S. have access to quality health insurance coverage, the demand for health services and jobs within the health services industry is expected to continue to increase.
- You play a critical role in the health care delivery system. Becoming a medical biller and/or coder enables you to play a vital role in the health care industry without needing years of extensive training, having to endure the physical demands of many other health care professions or having to work particularly long/undesirable hours. People in this profession also feel proud knowing they’re part of an industry that helps hundreds and thousands of patients each day.
- You have the option to complete your education 100% online. The Allen School of Health Sciences offers online medical billing and coding courses so you can obtain all the skills and knowledge necessary to begin an exciting and rewarding career all without ever leaving the comfort of your home.
- It’s flexible. As a medical billing and coding specialist you’ll have the freedom to not only choose whether you work part-time or full-time, but also the environment in which you work. From hospitals and doctor’s offices to outpatient surgery centers and specialty health care clinics, the options are virtually endless. If this unique level of flexibility is something you’ve been searching for in a career, then medical billing and coding may be the perfect choice.
- You will keep learning and growing throughout your career. One of the key factors in determining a person’s long-term job satisfaction is having the ability to continue learning, growing and adapting without being overwhelmed or set back by new challenges. This is something you’ll undoubtedly experience in the field of medical billing and coding. Sure, many aspects of this profession are routine in nature, but the constantly evolving coding requirements and best practices regarding Medicare, Medicaid and insurance billing will keep you alert, active and constantly growing as a professional.
- It’s easier to master than you may think. Many people have the tendency to assume this profession is quite difficult simply because the title contains the words “billing” and “coding,” which often brings to mind professions involving math, accountancy, computer coding, etc. In reality, this career field is far easier to master and enter than many people realize. Click here to see for yourself!
Medical Coding May Not Be as Hard as You ThinkWhen people hear the term “coding” they often think of complex mathematics, computer coding, genetic coding or a number of other extremely challenging subjects. For this reason, many people mistakenly assume that medical coding must also be an incredibly difficult topic and career. In reality, it’s far more attainable than most people realize. If you’re interested in pursuing a career in medical coding and/or billing but feel intimidated for any reason whatsoever, take this moment to learn more about the field and why it may not be as difficult as you think.
First Thing’s First: What Is Medical Coding?Medical coders play a critical role in the processing of patient health records. After a patient receives medical care – whether in a hospital, doctor’s office, outpatient clinic or anywhere else – the medical coder begins converting these medical services into specific codes so a claim can be submitted for payment. Medical billers then track that claim to ensure the health care facility receives reimbursement for the services rendered. These medical coding and billing responsibilities are typically combined into one position, but can be broken down into two separate jobs for larger medical facilities. Medical coders and billers help ensure the services provided during medical visits are categorized correctly, which is imperative when it comes time to submit, bill and process insurance claims.
Which Aspects of Medical Coding Are Most Difficult?One of the most difficult aspects of medical coding is knowing the thousands of codes from numerous code sets that are updated on a regular basis. Additionally, because medical coders are required to convert complex medical notes and information into specific, clearly defined codes, people in this career field must have a basic understanding of health-related subjects such as anatomy, physiology and medical terminology. If you’re starting to feel overwhelmed by these challenges, rest assured there are silver linings to both. First, it’s important to know that medical coders don’t actually have to memorize all of these codes. Instead, they utilize reference codebooks and software programs to ensure accurate coding assignments are made. Second, you won’t need to be a full-blown expert in these health subjects; you just need to have a basic knowledge of them. All the information you need to succeed in this field will be taught in your medical billing and/or coding program.
How to Determine if This Field Is a Good Fit for YouIf you’re a motivated, detail-oriented individual who’s looking for an in-demand career that’s essential to the health care industry and is challenging but manageable, medical coding may be a great fit for you. Because medical coders utilize complex computer software programs, individuals looking to make their way into this field must possess strong keyboard and computer skills and be willing and able to master the software components of this job. With employment rates projected to increase by 15% from 2014 to 2024 – a significantly faster growth rate than the average for most occupations – it’s certainly an attractive career field, both for individuals who are just making their way into the workforce as well as those considering a career change.
Ready to Start Mastering Medical Coding?The Allen School of Health Sciences offers a top-notch online medical billing and coding program that will equip you with the skills, training and knowledge you need to begin an exciting career in health care, all without ever leaving the comfort of your own home. This program will also fully prepare you to utilize the new ICD-10 coding system (which only recently went into effect nationwide) with ease. For more information about this in-demand career field or to begin the application process today, contact us online. We look forward to making you our next great success story!
Working as a medical insurance biller and coder can be a rewarding career path, though some may find it challenging. Success requires meticulous attention to important details and keeping up with industry-standard acronyms and policies. Even seasoned professionals can make mistakes from time to time. But, despite the occasional difficulties, billing and coding can be a fairly straightforward process as long as you take the time to do everything accurately and precisely. Here are a few tips to keep you level-headed when you’re knee-deep in codes!
Check Patient Information and InsurancePatient demographics and other important information should be gathered immediately upon arrival. If you don’t already, enforce a rule where all patients must show government-issued identification so you can copy and keep a record of it on-file. Above all else, be sure that any patient information you enter is completely accurate. An analysis done by NerdWallet in 2013 found that roughly 49% of audited medical bills contained errors and that some medical centers incorrectly entered more than 80% of Medicare claims. What’s the number one reason most medical billing claims get denied? Not properly verifying insurance information. It’s always best to directly call an insurance provider to check for deductibles, copayments and verify effective dates of coverage.
- CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services): The division of the United States Department of Health and Human Services that administers Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
- EDI (Electronic Data Interchange): The electronic systems that carry claims to a central clearinghouse for distribution to individual carriers.
- EOB (Explanation of Benefits). A document, issued by the insurance company in response to a claim submission, that outlines what services are covered (or not) and at what level of reimbursement. Each payer has their own EOB form.
- HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act): The law, sometimes called the Privacy rule, outlining how certain entities like health plans or clearinghouses can use or disclose personal health information. Under HIPAA, patients must be allowed access to their medical records.
- HMO (Health Maintenance Organization): A health management plan that requires the patient use a primary care physician. In HMOs, patients must seek treatment from the primary physician first, who, if they feel the situation warrants it, can refer the patient to a specialist within the network.
- POS (Point of Service): A health insurance plan that offers the low cost of HMOs if the patient sees only in-network providers.
- PPO (Preferred Provider Organization): A health management plan that allows patients to visit any providers contracted with their insurance companies. If the patient visits a non-contracted provider, the claim is considered out-of-network.
- WC (Workers’ Compensation): U.S. Department of Labor program that insures employees who are injured at work.