Online Medical Coding Training Program - Work at Home Course for Coders

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Online Medical Coding Training Program - Work at Home Course for Coders

Medical Coding Career – What is a Medical Coder?

Medical coding careers, particularly ICD-10-CM/PCS, are getting a huge amount of well-deserved attention. This is partly because medical coding jobs are often done remotely from home. This year, although delayed once again, it's finally time to prepare for the long-awaited transition to ICD-10 from the old ICD-9 coding program.

Recent legislation makes it necessary for students to be familiar with both ICD-9-CM and ICD-10-CM/PCS.

Andrews students have the right options in place because we are flexible enough to adapt to whatever challenges our industry throws at us. Our ICD-10-CM/PCS students now have an optional ICD-9-CM module available to them. That means our graduates will be doubly marketable. It's a win/win situation for Andrews graduates. Students who already know ICD-9 are not required to complete that module. Our students are able to be in control of their career options, depending on past medical coding education and work experience. We can take you from where you are in your medical coding career to where you want to be, from beginning, intermediate, and advanced medical coding, all in one course.

This is not a medical coding course taught and graded by a computer. Our expert instructors are credentialed, successful coders. They actually have the credentials our students want. They know how to prepare our students to get those valuable credentials. The key to having a marketable medical coding career is by having the right coding credentials, starting with the CPC and CCS. Most of our graduates sit for both the CPC and CCS right out of school. Books and materials are included.

Graduates of introductory-type medical coding courses often can't sit for those essential certification exams because they only studied how to code outpatient exams, completed a course that teaches only to the CCA level, or only learned how to code using computerized software coding programs. They aren't able to code charts straight from the books as is required for credential exams and many employment tests, because they've never been taught how to do it properly. They aren't familiar with accepted coding guidelines, knowledge which is critical to a medical coder. They usually have strong skills in medical terminology, which they've memorized, but don't know how to put those terms to work as a medical coder.

Medical coding schools often offer just a brief glance at coding, not enough coverage of the material, and not at a high enough level of coding skills to get and keep students interested. Often students in those introductory courses say they "tried coding but hated it." That's because they never got to real medical coding. Often they believed the instructor was qualified. They thought the course taught enough coding for them to do something with it. Often they tell us that they had a 4.0 GPA, so they know they were doing well. Remember that a 4.0 GPA in an introductory course is not marketable. At the same time, someone working hard to learn difficult material in a professional level course ends up with marketable skills at the end of that course. It is not our goal for our students to have a 4.0 GPA. Our goal is for them to study and master medical coding at the professional level. They will then be able to test successfully for credentials exams as well as the difficult tests employers give to job applicants.

Our medical coding course is designed to prepare students for professional coding credentials, because coding credentials mean greater employment options. In fact, many graduates of short, fast "entry-level" coding courses say they can't find a job or even pass the professional-level coding credential exams such as the CCS. A "CCA" (coding associate) is definitely not enough. That introductory level credential lets potential employers know you've covered the fundamental courses in terminology, A&P, and disease processes, and now you are ready to learn to code. Employers know that it also means they will be expected to teach a CCA to code.

When we talk to medical coding employers, they first start out by saying they don't hire new graduates because they don't have time to teach them to code. We ask, "What if that new graduate has a Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) credential?" Employers almost always use the same words, "We'd have to take a look at them if they have their CCS." The CCS is an entirely different coding credential representing the ability to do the professional level of medical coding, as compared to the CCA, which is introductory level. The CCS means mastery of professional-level medical coding skills so graduates with a CCS can hit the ground running. That's the level we teach at The Andrews School. It sets us apart from most coding courses. We want our graduates to have both the CPC and the CCS so they will qualify for more jobs once they graduate.

Andrews School graduates tend to do well on those certification exams because they know how to code. The unique training system Andrews School uses, based on the body system and integrating terminology, anatomy & physiology, pharmacology, disease processes, and knowledge of the patient's medical record, is highly effective. We've used the system since 1990 with great results.

Our coding course's AHIMA-Approved ICD-10-CM/PCS Trainer is an expert guide for our graduates as they start their coding careers. Our instructors constantly review the work of our students, identify problem areas, and design a customized plan of action. If students need more information before taking a test, the instructors are available to help. Our goal is to help our students become certified, because having the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) and Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) credentials through AHIMA and AAPC greatly increase medical coding job opportunities as a new, inexperienced medical coding specialist.

Critical thinking skills are required in a path to a medical coding career. Medical coders don't just 'look up medical codes in a coding book' as many coders in the past have done, with poor reimbursement results. The change to ICD-10-CM/PCS will likely improve income for hospitals and clinics, if the medical coders they hire are properly trained and credentialed, as proof of their skill level, motivation, and dedication to the coding profession.

Medical coding specialists will now code from the ICD-10-CM/PCS system rather than the old ICD-9 codes that have been used in our hospitals, clinics, medical offices, and by insurance providers for years. This is an exciting time for credentialed medical coding graduates.

A review of the career outlook for salaries and job opportunities is excellent. These new changes will mean an increased number of medical coding jobs at the same time as many experienced medical coders are ready to retire. The new system, ICD-10-CM/PCS, is a bit more detailed, much more effective, and in some ways even easier to learn than the old system, ICD-9-CM. Descriptions are more complete. The change to ICD-10 makes a medical coding career an even more rewarding healthcare career option.

The Andrews School medical coding program includes ICD-10, the ICD-10-CM/PCS classification systems, as well as CPT and HCPCS, at the level required to pass coding exams given by employers and credentials exams given by AHIMA and AAPC.

Our course is taught by an Approved ICD-10-CM/PCS Trainer, an expert in the new medical coding system. We strongly believe that it takes a successful credentialed medical coder to teach coding students how to become credentialed coders.

Nurses and other healthcare professionals are in search of reliable information about medical coding courses as a new career option. Many want to learn so they can use medical coding as part of their duties in their current job.

Others with no medical education or work experience at all are completing training and reporting back that medical coding is a very rewarding career choice.

While medical coders typically do not do medical billing, we have a short section on medical billing in our coding course so our coding graduates will know what happens to those codes once they've left the coding department.

The course is designed to be completed in one year, although many students take up to 18 months to finish. We have some graduates who finished in less than a year as well, so how long it takes to finish the coding course is very much up to you. There is a great deal of material to be covered in the course though, so we believe it would be impractical and inadvisable to try to finish in less than 9 months. There is just too much to learn in order to have the level of skills you need for certification as a professional medical coder.

New coding students usually say they wish they hadn’t waited so long to make the decision to enroll in our medical coding program. This is a particularly inviting career with new jobs opening up and now that medical coders frequently work from home.

Keep in mind that medical coding is not the same as medical billing. These are two different careers, both important, but usually located in different sections of a hospital or clinic. In a very small office, of course, one person may take on responsibility for billing, coding, and reimbursement.

Medical coding is a process of assigning alphanumeric codes to each individual diagnosis and medical procedure. Professional medical coders use very specific guidelines to determine the correct codes for each patient’s diagnosis, making sure that the procedures done for that patient are consistent with the diagnosis in the patient’s medical chart. In other words, if the patient comes in for treatment for a migraine and the procedure coded and billed for is a foot injury or arm x-ray, something is wrong. The ability to pay very careful attention to written detail is a prerequisite for medical coder training.

The medical coding process includes descriptions of procedures and services the physician provides. As you can imagine, these would be terribly long and confusing left in narrative form. Someone was wise enough to realize that. They devised a system of numeric and alphanumeric codes representing each procedure and service a physician is likely to provide and another to represent each disease, disorder, or injury.

The CPT, HCPCS, and/or ICD-10-CM/PCS medical codes are then used by the medical billing department of the hospital or clinic for billing and reimbursement. If it is done correctly, the health insurance claim process goes faster. That means income for the hospital or clinic.

The bottom line for most medical offices is, they want to be paid appropriately for the work they do. The codes are assigned by medical professionals called Certified Coding Specialists (CCS), a credential offered through AHIMA and/or Certified Professional Coder (CPC), a credential offered by AAPC. These are coding credentials awarded to medical coders who pass very detailed coding exams.

Books and materials for the medical coding program are included in the cost of the course. Call us at 405-721-3555 or write Linda@andrewsschool.com if I can answer any of your questions about a career in Medical Coding.

If you are ready to enroll, please see http://www.andrewsschool.com/coding/apply.php to get started with your new coding career.