Why a Medical Billing and Coding Certification Can Advance Your Healthcare Career

Medical billing and coding certification is an important first step to a career path in healthcare.

The healthcare job market today is tough. Competition for these jobs is tougher than ever.

Obtaining a medical billing and coding undergraduate certificate from Bryan University is one way you can stand out in the crowd. Bryan University is the industry leader in online education and offers medical billing and coding certifications as the first layer of our healthcare education program.

Let’s first talk about medical billers and coders job functions.

Medical Billing and Coding - Certificate vs. Certification

One common misconception that medical billing and coding students have is that just because they take the medical billing and coding certificate program then they are automatically certified to code. That is not the case. The certificate gives them the opportunity to sit for the certification exam given by AHIMA or AAPC to become a "certified medical biller or coder."

When you complete the certificate program, the next step employers look for is an associates or bachelors degree in medical billing and coding and for employees to have the AHIMA or AAPC medical billing and coding certification. The certificate is the entry way into obtaining medical billing and coding certification.

Medical Billing and Coding - AHIMA vs. AAPC Differences

There are a few differences in a medical billing and coding certification options. There are two organizations that provide certification - American Health Information Management Association (HIMA) and  American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC).  AHIMA started in 1928, and provides CCA, CCS, RHIA, and RHIT credentials while AAPC started in 1988 and primarily provides CPC credentials that handle data on physician services, outpatient claims, and to adjudicate physician claims. AHIMA is a great certification if you are looking for jobs in hospital systems and bigger medical networks and AAPC is more for those looking for jobs in physician's office.
Inside the medical billing and coding industry, AHIMA supports health care education, has its own resource library, sponsors its own conferences, has a strong presence across the United States, and as stated above, offers important credentials for medical billing and coding professionals. AHIMA is the oldest certification organization in the United States. AHIMA also has a significant relationship with a huge government entity: Medicare and adapted itself to the changes and restructuring this federal program which explains why hospitals, clinics, and other facilities where health services are provided use AHIMA when hiring medical billers and coders.
Bryan University students are on a track to be AHIMA certified as medical billers and coders because it offers the most opportunity for employment success upon graduation. However, if a student has their heart set on gaining certification in AAPC, then we also can help them go that route.

Medical Billers

Medical billing is the development of submitting and ensuing claims with health insurance companies to receive payment for services provided by a healthcare professional.

Medical billers follow the claim for the medical facility to make sure that facility gets paid. Medical billers have a variety of responsibilities including assigning codes to rendered services, gathering and reporting all the data concerning a patient’s bill, communicating with patients and insurance companies about claims and payments, and contacting and communicating with doctors and staff to confirm and clarify diagnosis and additional patient data.

A successful medical biller knows the basics of medical coding, but not have the detailed knowledge of medical coding like a medical coding professional has.

Medical Coders

Medical Coders – Medical coders investigate the medical records and find out what the physicians diagnosed. Medical coders can also see what clinical procedures were done, the supplies that were used and medical coders must know about the terminology of both inpatient and outpatient terminology. Medical coders must understand what the rules and regulations are for hospitals. Hospital codes are different than medical clinic or surgery center codes.

In short, medical coders are investigators that try to find what happened and then turn what happened into numbers and insurances can read.

Medical Billing and Coding Skills

These are a summary of skills necessary for a people working in the billing & coding departments.

  • They have analytical abilities (excellent problem-solving skills).
  • They are detailed oriented.
  • They have integrity.
  • They have good written/verbal communication skills
  • They are enthusiastic about learning.
  • They embrace change.
  • They are computer literate.
  • They can multitask.
  • They are a team player.

Medical Billing and Coding Career Paths

Both medical billers and coders do their work behind the scenes. Medical billers and coders are considered non-clinical, which means they don't do patient care. The field is strictly non-patient care, and those employed are considered support staff.

In this field, medical billers and coders could lead into roles like: supervisors, lead supervisors in certain departments, or billing and coding specialties.

Medical Billing and Coding Certification - Conclusions

Medical billing and coding specialists are an important cog in the healthcare wheel. Both careers have exciting paths to advancement at clinics, doctor's offices and hospitals.

If you are not a student, but are thinking of a career in medical billing and coding, what are you waiting for? Contact us and set up a time to speak with one of our admissions representatives. Or, check out program options at Bryan University:

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