In this program, students gain the knowledge and hands on skills necessary to perform the duties in an entry-level capacity as a medical coder, medical biller, and patient account technician. They may also achieve exam eligibility for medical billing and coding certification exam from third party organizations. Health information coding is the transformation of verbal descriptions of disease, injuries, and procedures into numeric or alphanumeric designations. In addition, this course will prepare students for the roles and responsibilities of the
health insurance claims specialist, introducing to health insurance and processing claims for commercial insurance companies, government medical claims such as Medicare, medical and workers compensation, Tricare and disability insurance claims as well as Blue Cross and Blue Shield.
MEDICAL RECORDS AND HEALTH INFORMATION TECHNICIANS
(excerpted from the US Dept of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook)
- Nature of the Work
- Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement
- Significant Points
- Employment is expected to grow much faster than the average.
- Job prospects should be very good, particularly for technicians with strong computer software skills.
- This is one of the few health-related occupations in which there is no direct hands-on patient care.
Nature of the Work
Medical records and health information technicians assemble patients’ health information including medical history, symptoms, examination results, diagnostic tests, treatment methods, and all other healthcare provider services. They regularly communicate with physicians and other healthcare professionals to clarify diagnoses or to obtain additional information.
The increasing use of electronic health records (EHR) will continue to broaden and alter the job responsibilities of health information technicians. Technicians must be familiar with EHR computer software, maintaining EHR security, and analyzing electronic data to improve healthcare information. Medical records and health information technicians’ duties vary with the size of the facility where they work. Technicians can specialize in many aspects of health information.
Some medical records and health information technicians specialize in coding patients’ medical information for reimbursement purposes. Technicians who specialize in coding are called medical coders or coding specialists. Medical coders assign a code to each diagnosis and procedure by using classification systems software. The classification system determines the amount for which healthcare providers will be reimbursed if the patient is covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or other insurance programs using the system. Coders may use several coding systems, such as those required for ambulatory settings, physician offices, or long-term care.
Work environment. Medical records and health information technicians work in pleasant and comfortable offices. This is one of the few health-related occupations in which there is no direct hands-on patient care.
Medical records and health information technicians usually work a typical 40-hour week. Some overtime may be required. In health facilities that are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, technicians may work day, evening, and night shifts. About 14 percent of technicians worked part-time in 2008.
Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement
Typical coursework in health information technology includes medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, health data requirements and standards, clinical classification and coding systems, data analysis, healthcare reimbursement methods, database security and management, and quality improvement methods.
Most employers prefer to hire credentialed medical record and health information technicians. A number of organizations offer credentials typically based on passing a credentialing exam. Most credentialing programs require regular recertification and continuing education to maintain the credential. Many coding credentials require an amount of time in coding experience in the work setting. There are several agencies that offer exams for professional certification of medical billers and coders. Eligibility requirements will vary according to each agency.
Health information technicians and coders should possess good oral and written communication skills as they often serve as liaisons between healthcare facilities, insurance companies, and other establishments. Candidates proficient with computer software and technology will be appealing to employers as healthcare facilities continue to adopt electronic health records. Medical records and health information technicians should enjoy learning, as continuing education is important in the occupation.
Medical records and health information technicians held about 172,500 jobs in 2008. About 39 percent of jobs were in hospitals. Health information technicians work at a number of healthcare providers such as offices of physicians, nursing care facilities, outpatient care centers, and home healthcare services. Technicians also may be employed outside of healthcare facilities, such as in Federal Government agencies.
Employment is expected to grow much faster than the average. Job prospects should be very good; technicians with a strong understanding of technology and computer software will be in particularly high demand.
Employment of medical records and health information technicians is expected to increase by 20 percent, much faster than the average for all occupations through 2018. Employment growth will result from the increase in the number of medical tests, treatments, and procedures that will be performed. As the population continues to age, the occurrence of health-related problems will increase. Cancer registrars should experience job growth as the incidence of cancer increases from an aging population.
In addition, with the increasing use of electronic health records, more technicians will be needed to complete the new responsibilities associated with electronic data management.
Job prospects should be very good. In addition to job growth, numerous openings will result from the need to replace medical record and health information technicians who retire or leave the occupation permanently. Technicians that demonstrate a strong understanding of technology and computer software will be in particularly high demand.
NIU COLLEGE PROGRAM SUMMARY
Medical Billing and Coding
- Program Goals: To acquire the knowledge and manual skills necessary to perform the duties in an entry-level capacity as a medical biller and coder, patient accounts technician; or to achieve eligibility for medical billing certification exam from third party organizations such as the NCCT. The student will be given assignments, homework and will undergo weekly exams.
- Description: The objective of this program is to prepare graduates for an entry-level position in medical offices, clinics, insurance offices and hospitals in the capacity of medical billers, coders, and health claims examiners. Some of the duties include verifying insurance coverage, computing benefits, preparing itemized bills, calculations, coding and submitting medical claims manually and or electronically for reimbursement. The student will also learn about the daily activities in the medical office including scheduling, phones, filing, records management, typing correspondence and other medical front office and administrative tasks.
- Program clock hours: 720
- Program schedule: M-F 8am-12pm; or, 1pm-5pm; or, 6pm-10pm.
- Program length in weeks: 36
- Completion document awarded: Upon successful completion of the program the graduate will receive a certificate in Medical Billing and Coding.
- Courses for this program:
|AH100||Allied Health Intro||80 Hours|
|AA101||Commercial Claims||80 Hours|
|AA102||Government Claims||80 Hours|
|MB103||Managed Care, Claims, Patient Accounts, Collections||80 Hours|
|MC101||Diagnosis Coding||80 Hours|
|MC102||Procedure Coding||80 Hours|
|MC103||Coding from source documents||80 Hours|