The medical profession depends on office personnel who specialize in industry-specific billing and coding regulations. The proper assignment of these codes helps medical practitioners bill insurance for the care provided to a patient.
Medical billing can be an ideal career path for those looking to make a difference and improve the well-being of others without getting directly involved in clinical practice. If you can see yourself working in a doctor’s office or contributing to the administration of behind-the-scenes processes, a career in medical billing might be a fit for you.
Diagnostic Coding vs. Treatment Coding
Healthcare systems have a tried-and-true method for combing through their billing and coding. Medical office personnel tend to use specific codes and terminology that might not make sense to the unpracticed eye. However, the implementation and correct usage of industry coding techniques can make or break a provider’s understanding of a patient’s health and impact the practice’s ability to be compensated correctly by patients and insurers.
Medical codes fall under one of two categories: diagnosis and treatment. While diagnostic codes refer to the exact symptoms a patient reports, they are not always permanent. As the patient seeks and receives treatment for their diagnosis, their diagnostic codes might change depending on the medical provider’s evaluation of the patient’s ever-changing health.
The maintenance and continuous refining of medical coding and its necessity in treatment attest to why this profession is a perfect fit for those looking to make a difference in the medical field aside from practicing medicine.
The Bigger Picture
Medical codes are constantly in flux while a patient is under a practitioner’s care. For this reason, office personnel need to pay close attention to how their employer organizes and maintains data. Internal processes are vital for employees especially with concern to active patients.
For example, providers might not fully understand how to treat a patient whose symptoms frequently change from one office visit to the next. Understanding how to use medical codes in diagnosis and treatment is critical for doctors to think on their feet and brainstorm patient care in ambiguous circumstances.
Although medical coding is imperative to guiding internal medical staff on patient treatments, it also serves as a universal form of communication across the healthcare industry. Medical coding assists providers from different offices and healthcare systems in understanding a patient’s medical history. Insurance agencies also use medical coding to determine whether a consumer paid too much or too little for a service and how they are eligible for benefits.
Employees who handle patient records play a critical role in upholding patient’s rights. Medical office personnel also understand the critical role of HIPAA compliance. HIPAA refers to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. This federal law determines regulations for sharing patient data with other providers and requires patients to choose who can and cannot access their medical records. HIPAA is a guiding force in medical coding and billing that determines whether medical offices are in full compliance with the federal government.
How to Learn about Medical Billing and Coding at a University
If you are wondering how to prepare yourself for a career in medical billing and coding, University of Phoenix may just be the answer for you. The University offers courses for students to learn all about medical billing and coding. Students complete their coursework with a background on how these systems keep medical offices running smoothly and protect the rights and health of every patient.
If you are considering enrollment in the University of Phoenix Medical Billing and Coding program, there are five courses total for you to take related to medical billing and coding:
- Introduction to the Medical Billing Process
- Introduction to Diagnostic Coding
- Procedure Coding: Introduction to CPT
- Procedure Coding: Introduction to HCPCS
- Summarizing the Medical Billing Process
University of Phoenix also offers a Medical Records Certificate Program. The 10-month program prepares students to sit for the Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) exam administered by the National Healthcareer Association.
About University of Phoenix
University of Phoenix is an online university ideal for students looking to earn an education on the best terms for them. The University offers a wide range of programs that can prepare students for numerous career paths. University of Phoenix students have the option of a flexible schedule for their online classes without sacrificing pre-existing employment or family commitments. Students can also attend classes across a number of physical locations throughout the United States.
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