Physicians typically pursue medical careers because they have a true desire to help others, not because they want to perform menial business tasks. Physicians and other medical professionals that open their own tasks, however, soon find that there is a lot of business involved in running their practices properly. Utilizing the services of practice management companies can free up a physician’s time, enabling them to focus more on their patients and less on paperwork.
Practice management companies attend to a number of business-related tasks essential to a smooth running medical practice. Some of the most important tasks that these companies perform include billing and coding.
Medical coders that work for practice management companies work to code medical records and charts from physician practices. These medical documents are coded for statistical, billing, and insurance reimbursement purposes. Practice management coders are often responsible for coding patient records for several different physician practices.
Anyone looking for a stable career in a fact growing field should consider becoming a medical coder. Not only will you enjoy a decent salary and benefits, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the number medical coding positions are expected to grow faster than average.
Duties and Responsibilities
Practice management medical coders work with a number of physician practices to ensure that patient records and charts are coded correctly. They typically receive several medical documents each day that need coded. They then study these documents, and determine and assign the most appropriate codes for the procedures and diagnoses.
Once a practice management medical coder has finished coding a document, he or she may then be responsible for submitting it to the appropriate health insurance company for reimbursement. In some cases, medical coders may also be required to return the coded documents to the proper physician practice.
Various codes that practice management coders use during their careers may include International Classification of Diseases (ICD), Current Procedural Terminology (CPT), and Diagnosis-related Group (DRG). Medical coders working in practice management companies should be knowledgeable in all of these types of medical coding systems and know when to use each different one.
Medical coders working for practice management companies usually work on-site at the facility, in an office or cubicle. More experienced medical coders, however, may get the chance to work remotely, usually from their own homes. Along with medical coding, these practice management employees may also be required to handle additional practice management tasks, such as billing and bookkeeping.
Necessary Skills, Education, and Experience
A medical coding career in a practice management company takes a great deal of speed, accuracy, and attention to detail. You must also be computer savvy with effective communication skills, and able to work in a busy office environment.
While you can earn a medical coding diploma, the majority of practice management companies will only hire applicants that are certified. To be eligible to sit for a medical coding certification examination, you must hold a minimum of a two year associate degree in medical coding.
The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) offers the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) credential, which requires at least a bachelor’s degree, along with the Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) and Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) credentials, which require associate degrees. The Physician-based CCS credential (CCS-P) is often a good choice if you are looking to work with a practice management company. You can also choose to obtain your Certified Professional Coder (CPC) credential from the American Association of Professional Coders (AAPC).
Some practice management companies may also require applicants to have some experience in the field before being hired. others, however, may welcome inexperienced coders, and may even provide some additional training. Working in a physician’s office or other outpatient facility is a good way to obtain medical coding experience in preparation for a career at a practice management company.
Tips for Finding a Job as a Practice Management Medical Coder
Your resume is one of the first – and sometimes last – things that a potential employer will look at when making the decision to hire you or not. Take time to prepare a professional looking resume that includes information about your relevant skills, education, experience, and certifications. Combining your resume with a personalized cover letter and letters of professional recommendation is also advised.
Some practice management companies will advertise job openings in newspapers or online, on their websites or online job boards. You may also be able to find job openings through word of mouth or through staffing agencies. Even if a company isn’t hiring when you’re looking, consider sending your resume anyway, in case a position opens in the future.