Certified Medial Coder

by Karen on August 8, 2011

Medical coding is the process in medical billing where a claim is created for a patient and the proper diagnosis codes are assigned according to the procedure or event. The health care provider is responsible for preparing the claim and then billing the proper entity for payment. Medical coding also documents a patient’s frequency of diagnosis and utilization of a particular procedures and services.

The medical coder is responsible for accurately coding the claims by checking the patient’s medical record, the Doctor’s notes, requested laboratory tests and imaging studies and any other sources that are available. The medical coder must have complete knowledge of medical and anatomy terminology as well as knowledge about the different health insurance plans, regulations and the standard codes and guidelines.

Certified Coding Specialist

A certified medical coder has proven by experience, education and examination that they possess the proficiency to read a medical chart and assign the proper diagnosis and procedure codes for a variety of clinical services and cases.

The certified medical coder must be proficient across a wide variety of services including management and evaluation, pathology and medicine and radiology, surgical and anesthesia services. The certified medical coder must also know the rules and regulations that govern medical coding including reimbursement procedures and compliance.

The certified medical coder exam includes 150 multiple choice questions and the examinee has 5 hours and 40 minutes to complete the exam. The exam is open book and the exam fee is about $300, which also includes one exam retake at no cost if the examinee does not pass the test the first time.

The exam questions are based on the correct application of the coding standards including CPT, HCPCS Level II procedures and supply codes and ICD-9 diagnosis codes for billing medical services to insurance companies.

Medical Coder Certification

The certified medical coder exam is designed to evaluate the efficiency and knowledge of a wide variety of medical topics including medical procedures, practice management, equipment type and use, medical terminology, coding guidelines and compliance with all rules and regulations governing medical coding.

Upon successful completion of the exam, the examinee becomes a certified medical coder and is a recognized benchmark in the medical community. Certified medical coders are required to complete continuing education training programs to retain certification.

Medical coders should be good with numbers and memorization skills. Coders should be well organized and have the ability to be discreet. It will help if the coder concentrates on math and science classes while in high school.

Certified medical coders are much in demand at present and can expect a salary of about 20% higher than a non-certified medical coder. Medical coders are found in Doctor’s offices, hospitals, nursing homes and other care and health management settings.

Even though medical coding is subject to the fluctuations in the economy, it is one area of employment that continues to rise. The job growth in the medical coding field is expected to increase about 25% through the year 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor.

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