Medical billing is a growing field in the health information industry. Medical billers handle the billing of patients, insurance companies, and lawyers for all kinds of medical establishments ranging from small private physician practices to large hospitals. It is expected to see an increase in demand in coming years. Along with related administrative disciplines like medical coding and transcription it is a career that is fairly easy to get into. However you do need training to get involved in this career. This training can vary in length and breadth but does indeed involve at least some time and effort. Medical billing schools are usually subdivisions of larger more generalized schools, though they may sometimes be dedicated to the medical information industry.
Medical billers handle all aspects of billing for a medical office. They prepare billing statements, contact patients and insurance companies, use medical billing software, and interact with the rest of the medical office personnel.
The following are a few specifics concerning getting medical billing training:
Certificate in Medical Billing
Certificate programs in medical billing may last less than two years and confer a certificate rather than a degree. These programs are often offered at career schools aimed at quickly getting people into the field. As far as medical billing training goes, these are the quickest route. However, some may feel that they do not cover topics as thoroughly as other types of programs. If someone only wants to focus on medical billing however, they can be perfectly adequate.
Associate Degrees in Medical Billing
A common route for medical billers to take is to finish Associate degree programs in medical billing. These programs are offered at lots of different educational institutions such as community colleges, ordinary four year institutions, career schools, and so on. They commonly last two years and often includes instruction in the closely related field of medical coding. Medical billing and coding go hand in hand because coding is a standard of representation of various billing items such as medications and medical procedures, and these appear on bills that are widely used by health professionals.
With this kind of degree it is quite easy to get hired by medical practices and facilities of various sorts. The Associate degree is more or less the standard for the industry. So employers tend to consider it an acceptable credential.
Bachelor’s Degrees in Medical Billing
That heading is something of a misnomer, because most Bachelor’s degrees, which usually take 4 years, cover more than just medical billing. Often they have titles such as “Bachelor of medical office administration” or something similar. These courses go into greater depth than shorter programs and cover things like billing, coding, transcription, and medical office management. Those who finish these degrees often stake jobs as more than medical billers. For instance they may become office managers of doctor practices, or start their own medical billing, coding, and transcription businesses.
Do it Yourself
Yes it is indeed possible to handle your own medical billing training. This may or may not be recommended, but there are no laws requiring medical billers to have completed an educational program to get hired. You can simply read books and exam preparation guides on the subject of medical billing and then take a certification exam. In fact, that’s our next topic.
Medical Billing Certification
One of the main certifying bodies in the medical office field is the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC). This organization offers a number of certification exams, mostly in coding rather than billing per se, but as noted the two are so closely related that they interact. So getting a coding certification can be very helpful in getting medical billing work.
In addition, there may be certification exams offered by the educational institution at which you study. These can also be used to certify your medical billing skills. They are valuable credentials in themselves.
The way to go with medical billing training is to get right into it and see what kind of program works best for you. As you see more and more of what the career path is about, it will become clearer what educational path you should take, and as noted there are several. Find a good fit for your time, professional goals, and current knowledge of the field. But mainly, just get your feet wet and see what medical billing is all about.