Credentials

Why Should a Coder Get Certified?

By Torrey Kim, CPC

Remember the days when a physician could point to his or her receptionist and say, "From now on, you're my coder"? Those days are well behind us. In today's medical environment, it takes an intricate knowledge of government and private payer regulations, frequent code and coverage changes and myriad other technical facts to be a medical coder. Medical practices can't risk hiring an untrained medical professional, so they look for coders who have met the challenge of acquiring medical coding credentials.

But coding certification isn't just a plus for the physicians and other health care practitioners who hire coders. Certification can help the coder immeasurably as well, in several ways.

Hiring Plus

It wasn't that long ago that doctors thought "anyone" could be a coder, but today's physician practices are increasingly requiring certification. In a recent American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) poll, more than 40 percent of respondents said that certification was required for employment. Medical practices don't want to waste time interviewing candidates who are simply looking for a temporary job - they want coders who are committed enough to medical coding that they've made it their career, and certification is one sign of how serious and well-trained a coder is.

Likewise, the Office of Inspector General requires independent review organizations to use certified coders for claims review and some states, such as Hawaii, require certified coders to perform medical claims review.

Salary Boost

Once the coder gets the job, the next step is establishing a salary -and studies have shown that certified coders walk away with more annual pay than non-certified coders.

According to a 2006 survey conducted by the AAPC, the average annual salary is 21 percent higher for a certified coder than for a non-certified coder. A 2005 survey by The Coding Institute backed that data up, reporting that certified coders earned, on average, more than $5,000 more per year than coders without certification.

The most likely reason that physicians are willing to pay more for certified coders is that the medical practice's income is in the hands of the coder. You won't find many other careers where the employee has to protect the employer against fraud while still trying to capture millions of dollars in revenue each year. A well-trained coder knows how to seek the deserved amount of income for his or her practice while staying well within legal and ethical boundaries.

If the certified coder gets a denial from an insurer, he or she knows the process of appealing the claim to fight for accurate reimbursement. And on the other side of the coin, if the certified coder reads a chart and feels that the physician has recorded a code that appears too high for the service provided, that coder will speak up and let the physician know that a lower-valued code is more applicable.

In its occupational handbook, the Department of Labor considers medical coding a "high growth" career, meaning that demand for coders is on the rise. Coding and billing professionals who want their careers to grow along with the rest of the field should consider certification as the first step toward a successful professional future.

Torrey Kim, CPC, is senior editor at the AAPC. Visit the AAPC Web site at www.aapc.com


Certifications and Credentials Archives
 

I am a student at UMA. I also am new to the medical field. I'm currently a Pro Dog Trainer. So, this is a big change for me and it seem very difficult at first. I'm excited for the next step in my life. Especially to better my self and my family.

Crystal  PattersonAugust 09, 2016
Pottsboro , TX



I'm currently a student at UMA. After so many years of working in the medical field . I have realized how important it's to get a degree . I’m currently working on getting my associates, However coding is another class that I would love to learn , it can help me in my currently position .I’m a supervisor for a Hospital billing company . Every day we deal with coding issues , more than ever since the new ICD-10 has been place since October . As a certified coder ones a denial from an insurer is received, I will be able to process an appealing for accurate reimbursement in a timely manner.

CARMEN UGARTE,  SUPERVISOR,  THIRD PARTY BILLING COMPANYAugust 01, 2016
QUEENS, NY



I am currently out of work and because of that I am in school. My job was phased out due to electronic medical records, I was a transcriptionist. I am enjoying going to school in this field, its' important to know what you want in life and this is my choice because a Coder Biller is a great job to have because the Hospitals will always need someone to bill for them and getting certified is even better because you can make more money having the ICD 10 on your resume.

Renee Cole,  none July 22, 2016



Read all comments (35) >>


     

Email: *

Email, first name, comment and security code are required fields; all other fields are optional. With the exception of email, any information you provide will be displayed with your comment.

First * Last
Name:
Title Field Facility
Work:
City State
Location:

Comments: *
To prevent comment spam, please type the code you see below into the code field before submitting your comment. If you cannot read the numbers in the below image, reload the page to generate a new one.

Captcha
Enter the security code below: *

Fields marked with an * are required.

View New Jobs, Events and More

 

Search Jobs

Go
 
 
 
 
 

Back to Top

© 2016 Merion Matters

2900 Horizon Drive, King of Prussia PA 19406

800-355-5627

Advertisement