A medical coder's role is to interpret and analyze a patient's medical record and translate particular details according to the universal medical alphanumeric code. Moreover, a medical coder is primarily responsible for ensuring that the translations are accurate, as this will play a vital factor in processing insurance and receiving treatments. Aside from accuracy, it is also crucial for a medical coder to coordinate with other hospital personnel at all times, especially when there inconsistencies in the records.

Medical Coder Responsibilities

Here are examples of responsibilities from real medical coder resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Manage all EDI relate communication with trading partners and assist to produce all operational documents for all end users.
  • Manage all aspects of AR including writing letters for medical necessity, claim denials, bundling issues and charge capture.
  • Manage health records while applying ICD-10 coding to update and process insurance claims for time and accuracy to various insurance companies.
  • Manage the outsourced transcription company.
  • Create documentation education classes to general surgery residents, increasing the leveling of reporting which lead to increase revenues.
  • Adhere to regulations with CPT-4, ICD-9-CM and HCPCS coding with medical terminology and effort meet all audit requirements.
  • Certify through AAPC as a CPC and CEMC.
  • Evaluate medical record documentation and charge ticket coding for correct ICD-9 and CPT codes.
  • Transition the NextGen interface from LabWest to LabCorp (familiar with HL7 messaging standard).
  • Assign appropriate CPT-4 procedure code (s) and/or HCPCS codes to accurately support the need for each physician service.
  • Utilize knowledge of CPT, ICD-9-CM, and ICD-10 to properly translate perform services into numerical code for insurance company reimbursements.
  • Ensure accurate billing according to Medicare and Medicaid guidelines.
  • Verify insurance eligibility, follow-up on all Medicare and Medicaid denials.
  • Assign diagnostic and procedure codes to records of discharge patients and coordinate the follow-up on deficient/delinquent discharge records.
  • Review medical record documentation and accurately code the primary/secondary diagnoses and procedures using ICD-9-CM and CPT-4 coding conventions.

Medical Coder Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 11% of Medical Coders are proficient in CPC, Medical Terminology, and ICD-10-CM. They’re also known for soft skills such as Analytical skills, Detail oriented, and Integrity.

We break down the percentage of Medical Coders that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • CPC, 11%

    Maintain CPC credentials by attending audio conferences, AAPC Chapter meetings and subscribing to AAPC Cutting Edge and newsletters.

  • Medical Terminology, 8%

    Adhered to medical coding guidelines, charge capturing, anatomy, medical terminology and physiology to increase accurate reimbursement from payers.

  • ICD-10-CM, 7%

    Provided timely and accurate ICD-10-CM codes for specific information for statistical purposes.

  • AHIMA, 7%

    Attended educational seminars for AHIMA certification and educated other staff as needed.

  • Patients, 7%

    Assigned diagnostic and procedure codes to records of discharged patients and coordinated the follow-up on deficient/delinquent discharge records.

  • Clinical Documentation, 5%

    Communicated with physicians and clinical documentation specialists to ensure dictation accuracy, as well as with providers to appeal claim denials.

Most medical coders list "cpc," "medical terminology," and "icd-10-cm" as skills on their resumes. We go into more details on the most important medical coder responsibilities here:

  • The most important skills for a medical coder to have in this position are analytical skills. In this excerpt that we gathered from a medical coder resume, you'll understand why: "health information technicians must understand and follow medical records and diagnoses, and then decide how best to code them in a patient’s medical records." According to resumes we found, analytical skills can be used by a medical coder in order to "created training spreadsheets and workflows for billing database, charge entry and insurance verifications. "
  • Another trait important for fulfilling medical coder duties is detail oriented. According to a medical coder resume, "health information technicians must be accurate when recording and coding patient information." Here's an example of how medical coders are able to utilize detail oriented: "perform detailed audits on billed insurance charges and physician documentation. "
  • Medical coders are also known for integrity, which can be critical when it comes to performing their duties. An example of why this skill is important is shown by this snippet that we found in a medical coder resume: "health information technicians work with patient data that are required, by law, to be kept confidential" We also found this resume example that details how this skill is put to the test: "coded and abstracted inpatient medical records for integrity of data and facilitated improved physician documentation. "
  • In order for certain medical coder responsibilities to be completed, the job requires the skill "technical skills." According to a medical coder resume, "health information technicians must use coding and classification software and the electronic health record (ehr) system that their healthcare organization or physician practice has adopted." As an example, this snippet was taken directly from a resume about how this skill applies: "utilize technical coding principals and ms drg reimbursement expertise to assign appropriate icd 9 cm diagnoses and procedures. "
  • See the full list of medical coder skills.

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    What Health Information Technicians Do

    A health information technician is primarily responsible for managing and handling patient information, ensuring accuracy and confidentiality. They coordinate with various health care workers to gather patient data, laboratory results, test findings, and medical histories, encoding them in clinical databases in a timely and efficient manner. They must analyze every information to detect any inconsistencies, performing corrective measures right away. Furthermore, as a health information technician, it is essential to utilize particular software and systems when processing information, all while adhering to the hospital's policies and regulations.

    We looked at the average medical coder annual salary and compared it with the average of a health information technician. Generally speaking, health information technicians receive $16,959 lower pay than medical coders per year.

    While the salaries between these two careers can be different, they do share some of the same responsibilities. Employees in both medical coders and health information technicians positions are skilled in medical terminology, patients, and icd-9-cm.

    There are some key differences in responsibilities as well. For example, a medical coder responsibilities require skills like "cpc," "icd-10-cm," "ahima," and "clinical documentation." Meanwhile a typical health information technician has skills in areas such as "customer service," "patient care," "office equipment," and "transcription." This difference in skills reveals how truly different these two careers really are.

    Health information technicians really shine in the government industry with an average salary of $35,705. Whereas medical coders tend to make the most money in the health care industry with an average salary of $52,925.

    Health information technicians tend to reach similar levels of education than medical coders. In fact, health information technicians are 0.1% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 0.4% less likely to have a Doctoral Degree.

    What Are The Duties Of an Information Management Specialist?

    An information management specialist is responsible for maintaining the security benchmark of all databases across the organization to support business functions and client requirements. Information management specialists sort and file data on the network systems and pull up reports from the storage database. They also analyze project management plans and utilize data tools to identify solutions and collect critical information. An information management specialist handles data management system troubleshooting and provide resolution reports to avoid downtime reoccurrence.

    The next role we're going to look at is the information management specialist profession. Typically, this position earns a higher pay. In fact, they earn a $2,952 higher salary than medical coders per year.

    While the salary may be different for these job positions, there is one similarity and that's a few of the skills needed to perform certain duties. We used info from lots of resumes to find that both medical coders and information management specialists are known to have skills such as "medical terminology," "patients," and "data entry. "

    While some skills are similar in these professions, other skills aren't so similar. For example, several resumes showed us that medical coder responsibilities requires skills like "cpc," "icd-10-cm," "ahima," and "clinical documentation." But an information management specialist might use skills, such as, "customer service," "patient care," "phone calls," and "cpt."

    It's been discovered that information management specialists earn higher salaries compared to medical coders, but we wanted to find out where information management specialists earned the most pay. The answer? The technology industry. The average salary in the industry is $66,785. Additionally, medical coders earn the highest paychecks in the health care with an average salary of $52,925.

    In general, information management specialists study at higher levels of education than medical coders. They're 5.3% more likely to obtain a Master's Degree while being 0.4% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    How a Release Of Information Specialist Compares

    A release of information specialist is primarily in charge of retrieving and releasing data to qualified recipients while adhering to the guidelines and confidentiality protocols that aim to protect sensitive information. Although the extent of their responsibilities usually depends on their industry or company of employment, it usually includes maintaining records of procedures and transactions, preparing and processing documents, organizing files, producing progress reports to managers, and keeping an eye out for any inconsistencies, resolving them promptly and efficiently.

    The third profession we take a look at is release of information specialist. On an average scale, these workers bring in lower salaries than medical coders. In fact, they make a $5,672 lower salary per year.

    By looking over several medical coders and releases of information specialist resumes, we found that both roles utilize similar skills, such as "medical terminology," "patients," and "data entry." But beyond that the careers look very different.

    There are many key differences between these two careers as shown by resumes from each profession. Some of those differences include the skills required to complete responsibilities within each role. As an example of this, a medical coder is likely to be skilled in "cpc," "icd-10-cm," "ahima," and "clinical documentation," while a typical release of information specialist is skilled in "customer service," "roi," "phone calls," and "patient care."

    Additionally, releases of information specialist earn a higher salary in the insurance industry compared to other industries. In this industry, they receive an average salary of $51,336. Additionally, medical coders earn an average salary of $52,925 in the health care industry.

    Releases of information specialist are known to earn similar educational levels when compared to medical coders. Additionally, they're 0.9% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree, and 0.4% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    Description Of a Reimbursement Specialist

    A reimbursement specialist is responsible for analyzing insurance documents, processing reimbursement claims, and releasing accurate billing statements for insurance claims. Reimbursement specialists must have excellent analytical skills, especially on performing clerical tasks to evaluate insurance cases, investigate cases, and update the account information of the clients on the database. They should also have impeccable communication skills and understanding of the insurance processes to be able to coordinate with the clients, explaining the procedures of their claims accurately, and coordinate with the insurance management to improve the claims processes.

    Reimbursement specialists tend to earn a lower pay than medical coders by about $13,290 per year.

    While both medical coders and reimbursement specialists complete day-to-day tasks using similar skills like medical terminology, patients, and medicare, the two careers also vary in other skills.

    While some skills are shared by these professions, there are some differences to note. "cpc," "icd-10-cm," "ahima," and "clinical documentation" are skills that have shown up on medical coders resumes. Additionally, reimbursement specialist uses skills like customer service, cpt, hcpcs, and eob on their resumes.

    In general, reimbursement specialists make a higher salary in the pharmaceutical industry with an average of $41,366. The highest medical coder annual salary stems from the health care industry.

    The average resume of reimbursement specialists showed that they earn similar levels of education to medical coders. So much so that the likelihood of them earning a Master's Degree is 1.2% more. Additionally, they're less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree by 0.4%.

    What a Medical Coder Does FAQs

    How Long Does It Take To Become A Medical Coder?

    It takes about nine months to two years to become a medical coder. Depending on what program you enroll in or what kind of job you want, the program can be completed in as few as nine months.

    How Much Does A Billing Person Make?

    A person who manages the billing for a company makes around $45,000 in a year. The salaries range from a low of $30,000 to a high of $55,000 in a year, but the average hourly wage is typically around $15 to $20 an hour.

    How To Get A Medical Coding Job Without Experience

    To get a medical coding job without experience, you must have at least a high school diploma or equivalent, keen observational skills, and strong skills regarding basic technical software.

    Is It Hard To Be A Medical Coder?

    No, it is not hard to be a medical coder. Compared to some other health professions, becoming a medical coder is reasonably fast if you have the financial means and time.

    Programs can be as low as $3,000 to roughly $20,000. Exams to gain certification can cost around $300-400, such as the Certified Coding Associate (CCA) exam costing $299. Students in their program typically learn coding and classification systems such as ICD-CM coding and classes about patient confidentiality.

    What Does A Medical Coder Do On A Daily Basis?

    A medical coder goes over medical records, assigns medical codes, and makes sure all of their work is accurate and correct on a daily basis. Here are some details on the common daily activities of a medical coder:

    Where Do Medical Coders Work?

    Medical coders work in hospitals, outpatient care centers, and physician's offices. In all these settings, a medical coder's job is to transcribe a patient's visit into a series of universally recognized codes that detail exactly what information was gained during the patient's visit.

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