Interested in training for medical billing and coding career opportunities? It’s a growing industry that offers the potential for a satisfying career path. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that job openings for health information technicians (which includes medical coders and billers) are projected to grow by 11% over the 2018-2028 period.[i]
You may be wondering: why is the career
path called “medical billing and coding”? Don’t both jobs involve
working with healthcare records and computers? They do, but medical billing and
medical coding put those healthcare records to different uses. In smaller
healthcare facilities, medical billing and coding may be combined into a job
for one person.
In this article, we explain:
- The different types of medical
codes that medical billers and coders are expected to use on the job;
- The principal differences
between the two roles; and
- What kind of training and
support our Medical
Billing and Coding diploma program offers you.
What Medical Coding Is and Why It Matters
The American Association of Professional
Coders (AAPC), the nation’s largest training and certification organization
dedicated to medical billing and coding careers, defines “medical coding” as the
practice of “translating medical reports into a code used within the healthcare
These codes summarize the conditions
patients have and the treatments and supplies used to address those conditions.
In the course of their duties, coders will need to communicate with healthcare
practitioners to clarify information, ask questions, or address errors.
Medical coding matters because the
information generated can be put to use in many different ways. Medical coding
data can be analyzed for use in healthcare research or healthcare policy
development. Medical coding is also the basis for the medical billing function.
What Medical Billing Is and Why It Matters
The AAPC defines medical billing as “the
act or process of submitting and following up on claims with health insurance
companies in order to receive payment for services rendered by a healthcare
Medical billers use medical records to ensure that providers and facilities are
reimbursed appropriately and in a timely fashion.
In addition to entering information about
treatments into billing software, medical billers will communicate with
patients and providers to follow up on claims and payments.
Medical billing is important to the
healthcare industry because it ensures payments flow in a consistent and timely
manner from insurers to providers (and to patients who are due reimbursement).
Also, healthcare providers and insurers often negotiate agreed billing rates
for specific procedures and set contractual terms for payment deadlines.
Medical billing helps keep all parties compliant with the terms of these contracts.
What Are Medical “Codes”, Anyway?
Medical billers and coders in the United
States need to be familiar with three commonly used medical coding
classification systems. These include:
- International Classification
of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10) –
Originally developed by the World Health Organization (WHO), ICD codes indicate
the conditions patients have.
- Current Procedural
Terminology (CPT)® – Created by the American
Medical Association in 1966, CPT is used to report medical procedures to
federal and private healthcare insurance for payment.[iii] CPT is revised annually to reflect new advances in medical practice.
- Healthcare Common Procedure
Coding System (HCPCS) Level II – Developed by the
U.S. government in the 1970s, HCPCS is a coding standard used to record and
file claims for medical devices, supplies, transport, medications and other
types of items or services.
By using these three types of codes in
combination, medical billers and coders can indicate the conditions patients
present with, plus the treatments and supplies used to address those
Training for Medical Billing and Coding Careers
At Altierus Career College, we offer an
eight-month Medical Billing and Coding diploma program that’s designed to provide you with the
knowledge and skills you need to pursue a career in this fast-growing field. In
this program, you can learn foundational concepts in anatomy, physiology, and
healthcare. You’ll also gain practical skills for using CPT®, ICD-10, and HCPCS
coding on the latest
billing and coding software.
In addition to
the opportunity to develop skills and knowledge, Altierus equips medical
billing and coding students with tools for professional success, including an
iPad that students can keep after graduation plus test preparation and testing
fees for the AAPC’s Certified Professional Coder (CPC) examination. To learn
more, contact us today!