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Is a Medical Reimbursement and Coding Degree Right for You?

Are you looking to enter a health-related field but are more interested in technical responsibilities over patient care? Earning an associates degree in medical billing and coding may be a good fit for you then.

Medical reimbursement and coding is a growing career field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts employment in the field will grow 21 percent by 2020. With an aging Baby Boomer population and surging population growth worldwide, the healthcare system will need more trained and qualified professionals to track diagnoses, procedures and services. The BLS describes this profession as the organization and management of “health information data by ensuring its quality, accuracy, accessibility, and security in both paper and electronic systems. They use various classification systems to code and categorize patient information for insurance reimbursement purposes, for databases and registries, and to maintain patients’ medical and treatment histories.”

Earning an associates degree in medical billing and coding and entering the profession is a great option for anyone who is detail oriented and enjoys interpreting guidelines and legalities. Professionals in this field need to understand the International Classification of Disease, the United Nations-sponsored, World Health Organization’s standard diagnostic tool for epidemiology, health management and clinical purposes. This guide sets the standard for which alphanumeric codes need to be assigned to a patient’s record. Coders and “reimbursers” can work in a variety of settings, but most often they work in hospitals or physicians’ offices.

Their job is primarily relegated to a back or billing office with little patient interaction. However, that does not mean they sit at their desk all day. These professionals do need to reference specific guidelines or may need to go find a doctor or a nurse in order to clarify an entry on a patient’s record. This is where medical coding and reimbursement professionals will need to fall on their soft skills of diplomacy and good communication. Some people may react harshly to having a mistake in a patient’s record pointed out, but a good technician knows that every interaction is about building a relationship so handles it delicately and professionally.

According to the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC), “coding is fairly independent work but interaction with other coders, medical billers, physicians, and ancillary office staff is essential. Medical coders are usually placed on fairly tight production schedules and are expected to complete a certain number of notes each day or to keep their lag days at a specified timeframe.” The field of medical reimbursement and coding can be an exciting and fulfilling field, especially if you are an analytical person who has an eye for detail and has strong technical skills.

You can learn more about the Medical Reimbursement and Coding degree program at Bryant & Stratton College by following this link..

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