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Medical Coder in a nutshell

Imagine being lost in a foreign city that you’ve never visited before. A barrage of information overwhelms you: subway signs, shopping guide and accommodation details, but all in a strange language you’ve never heard of. Won’t it be nice to have someone translate all these information to you so that you can benefit from it?

And this is just exactly what medical coders do on a daily basis.

What does a medical coder do?

A medical coder’s job is just like a translator of sorts. In the ever-expanding medical world of jargon, numbers and metrics, medical coders work diligently to convey vital information about patients’ medical conditions and treatments in a simpler manner that makes it easy for procedures to be implemented. A medical coder is proficient in the use of diagnostic and procedure codes, in alphanumeric form, that will help turn medical jargon into standardized details. Doing so allows health care providers to quickly and accurately administer much-needed treatment to patients.

Besides translating medical terminology, medical coders also ensure the existence of the smooth-flowing functioning of the health care sector by assessing and processing medical claims. This task is essential in helping health care providers and their establishments obtain reimbursement by insurance firms in a timely manner.

Earning money as a medical coder

Upon being certified, good students with sound knowledge of coding can command up to $38,000 per annum. After several years of experience and increased expertise, medical coders can expect to bring home up to $57,000 a year. Part-timers are likely to bring home no more than $23 to $28 per hour in wages depending on their expertise and employers, and if you want to earn as much as $65,000 annually, you may want to go into specialized fields such as pediatrics and dental hygiene.

Becoming a certified medical coder

Once upon a time, medical coders came to be after a short on-the-job training stint. Today, while the tradition is still under practice, more and more medical coding staff are leaning towards getting certification. This increases their job prospects while helping them achieve the dream for a juicier salary and higher job satisfaction. The most important aspect in this step is to seek the right national certifying body for testing, such as the American Academy of Procedural Coders (AAPC) for example. Check their requirements and if everything fits, you may register for the exam.

Dispelling myths concerning medical coders

Myth 1: Medical coding is a boring job

Answer: Yes and no. While some medical coders admitted that things can get pretty repetitive after spending hours each day dictating and keying in the right codes, they expressed gratitude for the flexibility and freedom to communicate with their peers.

Myth 2: There are many stringent requirements in medical coding

Answer: Untrue. Most medical coding experts revealed that they were not often micromanaged or scrutinized by their managers, thus giving them more room to breathe and perform their work.

Myth 3: People do not respect medical coders

Answer: Again, untrue. While there may be a spark of truth in this a decade or so ago as people generally think medical coding is a “nerd’s job”, more and more people are recognizing the roles and responsibilities of a medical coding and billing expert due to the increased call for accountability.  Today, medical coders are pretty much in high demand and command a lot of respect as they display great expertise, stringent accuracy and accountability in their work.

Filed in: Medical Billing And Coding Career

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