Best Way To Get Cheap Medical Billing and Coding Classes Training

3 Jun

If you are planning on becoming a medical biller and coder and trying to find a class or training program, you may be wondering how to go about finding a class or training course that meets your needs on an educational basis and cost. This process can exceptionally difficult since there are so many advertisements for medical billing and coding courses and training online and in a traditional classroom setting. So the question would still remain as to what can be done to find affordable medical billing and coding classes/training.

Depending on which school you plan on obtaining your training from, there are a few ways that you can save on the costs of schooling for your medical billing and coding training.

Financial Assistance

Unfortunately is no such thing as free schooling, however, for those that wish to enter into a training program. Every legitimate school will have a financial aid office with professionals known as financial aid officers to assist prospective students with finding options to get money to attend their training program. Those that qualify for financial assistance could expect to have tuition, room and board, books, and supplies and may even have transportation covered. In order to find out what your options are you will need to speak directly to the school. If the school accepts Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) you will be able to fill out the application via their main website. Once the information has been obtained by FAFSA they will then determine your eligibility.

Free Training and Experience

One way to obtain free training is through working as a volunteer at a medical billing and coding office. Some offices are more than willing to train for a short period of time. Some places that may work with a trainee include:

  • Medical offices
  • Hospitals
  • Medical insurance companies
  • Medical insurance billing companies

Online/Web-based Training

There are various medical billing and coding websites that offer online videos for free that show how the process of medical billing and coding actually works. Some will even offer an introduction to the medical billing and coding software that is currently being utilized. The CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service) is the office that sets the standards for the entire medical billing and coding profession. They actually offer a series of training programs that can be accessed via their website. The training offered on the CMS website covers a variety of basic information of how to fill out forms and how one should (as a professional) go through the billing process.

Online Medical Billing and Coding Classes

Online medical billing and coding classes are often cheaper than traditional classes at a college, university or vocational school. However, online medical billing and coding classes are not suitable for everyone since it does require that students work at their own pace with limited interaction with the teacher and other students. Yet on the other hand it is beneficial for students that are working on limited funds and are currently employed and are more receptive to working at their own pace and within the scope of their current schedule.

Employer Paid Training

This is an option available for those that are currently working as a medical billing and coding professional with a healthcare facility or a medical insurance billing company. Some employers will either reimburse or paid outright for their employee to further their education within the field. This is beneficial for both sides; the employee can then obtain further training in their field with the hope of being advanced within their office thus earning more on their annual salary.

Most Recommended Way To Go About Becoming Medical Billing and Coding Specialist

3 Jun

Medical billing and coding is a field that will continue to grow. There are a number of daily tasks and responsibilities within the billing and coding field that tend to overlap, however this will also depend on where you are located. In smaller medical offices billers and coders will perform both tasks, where in a hospital that is a larger facility there is a department for billers and an office for coders, it is beneficial for you as an employee to understand both jobs. So what is the recommended way to becoming a medical billing and coding specialist? Below is a way to go about becoming a specialist in both the billing and the coding field.

1. Upon entering into the billing and coding profession what many do not realize is that they do not have to have experience in the field. They can start out their work as a front office receptionist answering phones and performing other clerical jobs.

2. When you have your foot in the door you should take the opportunity to speak with your coworkers and especially those that currently work as a medical biller and coder to find out the advantages and disadvantages of the career field.

3. You should ask your employer if they would consider cross training you for the billing and coding field. Some employers are receptive to this idea so do not be afraid to ask.

4. Start out your career as an insurance biller. This can also be completed through on the job training programs or even through a short program at your local vocational school or university.

5. While you are working as an insurance biller you can then take that time to study on becoming a coder. The following books will be needed to aid you in your studies include:

  • eCPT
  • Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS)

1. Those that are currently working as a billing specialist will opt to taking a coder training programs online so that they are able to obtain their education at their own pace while still maintaining their current work schedule. The AAPC website offers online training programs for coder and billers the prices vary for those that are members so you should check their website for the current prices.

2. Once you have completed your studies and training programs, you will then need to register for the certification exam for coders. The AAPC (American Academy of Professional Coders) makes it easy to find exam preparation tools both online and in your area. They also offer programs that can be utilized online for you to self-study which will offer you the opportunity to study at your own pace. They inform you of the books that you will need to do your own at home study program.

3. The three books that are seen above are the same books that are listed on the website that you will be able to take with you since it is an open book test. However, it should be noted that you should consult the AAPC website for the correct edition of the books allowed for the test. The test itself has over 100 questions and will generally take approximately 5 hours to complete.

4. Lastly, you will need to find a job as a medical coder. Once you have passed the certification exam you should update your resume with your newly earned AAPC credentials. You should check with your current place of employment to see if there is a position open, or you can check with a hospital or medical organization where the coding positions are separate from the billing position.

10 Tips for Handling Forms in Medical Billing and Coding

3 Jun

New specialist in the field are prone to making a few mistakes along the way and even some medical billing and coding specialist that have worked in the field for several years are still not immune to making mistakes. Unfortunately, these mistakes have been known to cost families and individuals hundreds or even thousands of dollars. It is also unfortunate that when these mistakes are made they cannot be easily undone. Below are ten tips that can be utilized by specialist to keep these errors at bay. The form that a majority of the mistakes are made on is the CMS 1500, which can result in form rejections. Below are 10 tips on how to handle CMS 1500 forms.

When it comes to filling in CMS 1500 forms it is important to understand that the information filled out on the CMS 1500 forms need to be exact and accurate. If you are new to the field then filling out the forms for the first time may seem difficult.

CMS Formatting Tips

1. When filling out the form online the best 10-12 size font in Arial. Avoid using hyphens, periods and even dollar signs.

2. If filling out the paper version of the form then it is best to use blue or black in and the same goes for online filings the font needs to be in blue or black.

3. Red colored font is not allowed on the online for and neither is red ink on the paper version (this is in part due to the form itself typically coming in red).

4. The data that you enter into on the paper form and the online form should be placed centered in the box so that the words will not touch the edges of the box. Make sure that you use the standard codes provided to fill out the form in its entirety and try to stay away from telling a story, make sure the text is to the point.

5. When you receive your CMS 1500 form it will arrive with perforations, be sure to tear these off so that when you submit your CMS 1500 form it is 8 in a half by 11. If you are placing any attachments to the form such as a copy of the patients’ insurance card or other information it MUST be smaller than the actual CMS form itself.

6. While you need to make a copy of the CMS 1500 form for your own records, you must NEVER send in the copy. If the original is not sent in it will be automatically rejected.

The following will cover other aspects of the CMS 1500 form that needs to be followed so that the facility you are working for will be paid in a timely fashion.

7. The fields that need to be filled out pertaining to the patient and the information provided to you from the doctor are filled in the proper areas on the form. In other words, do not place the DOB (date of birth) in the SSN box.

8. The names should be placed in their proper places. It can sometimes happen that the name of the person on the insurance information is not the patient. This is true when it comes to patients that are under the age of 18 and they are on their legal guardians insurance.

9. A portion that is often missed on the CMS 1500 form is part 11 which asks if the patient is covered by Medicaid or Medicare.

10. To further ensure that the form and the information on it is accurate as it pertains to the patient, have the patient verify the information entered into the form and sign and date the form.

5 Reasons to Become a Surgical Technologist

1 Jun

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are over 91,000 people in the United States working as surgical technologists. Surgical technologists, who are also called scrubs techs, play an important role in the operating room. They are mainly responsible for preparing the operating room for surgeries and for assisting the surgeon by handing them the proper instruments along with supplies during the surgery. Here are 5 reasons you might want to consider a career as a surgical tech.

Great Salary

Although the salary for a surgical technologist varies based on experience and geographic location, it is a great starting salary for the medical industry. The starting salary for a surgical technologist varies between $12 to $18 per hour. After gaining some experience, most surgical technologists earn at least $20 or more per hour. By working as a surgical technologist, you can expect to earn at least an average salary of $35,000 or more a year.

High Demand Career

Like many of the medical field careers, the jobs for surgical technologists are in high demand. The job demand for this career is expected to grow by 25 percent since a large majority of the United States population is aging. Most surgical technologists work in a hospital setting but there are several opportunities to work for private outpatient clinics and private surgical teams, which often pay more than hospitals.

Fast Paced Work Environment

If you enjoy working in a fast paced environment and easily get bored with a desk job, then you should definitely consider becoming a surgical technologist. The working day for a surgical technologist is always changing. One day you can be assisting during a stomach surgery and then next day you can be assisting a surgeon performing a kidney transplant. You will never have a dull day with this career.

Quick Training Programs

To become a surgical technologist, you must receive your training from an accredited CAAHEP program. The good news is that you can complete your training in a short length of time comparing to other medical professions. The average length of surgical technologist training program is no more than two years long.

Medical Advancement Opportunities

Many employers seek to hire surgical technologists that are certified. In order to improve your chances of employment, you should take the Certified Surgical Technologist examination once you complete your training program. Once you become certified and gain some experience, you can increase your salary and move up the advancement ladder in the operating room. Many surgical technologists advance to become certified first assistants or specialize in certain medical surgery areas such as cardiology.
As a surgical tech, you’ll play an incredibly important role throughout each procedure. You won’t just be an assistant. You’ll be a valuable member of the medical team.

Guide To Become Ultrasound Technician In Short Time

1 Jun

Ultrasound technicians have an important role to play in the care of a wide variety of patients, ranging from expecting mothers to individuals who are seriously ill. These talented individuals have to prepare patients for testing, take the images themselves, start the process of analyzing the images for the doctors, and play a role in maintaining the ultrasound equipment. So what does it take to actually become a surgical technician?

Ultrasound Technician Programs

The educational programs available to potential ultrasound technicians vary from place to place, with a wide variety of options available to those from different walks of life.

Those who are already working in the medical field may benefit from participating in a teaching hospital program. These individuals work at teaching hospitals and learn the trade through apprentice time spent with someone who is already a professional in the field.

Those who want to become surgical technicians but who need to get to work quickly may consider may want to consider programs hosted by technical or vocational schools. These programs tend to have a short duration, ranging from 9 to 24 months, and will involve both classroom learning and hands-on practice. These programs tend to offer job placement assistance as well.

You may find that it is possible to learn about sonography through a 2 or 4 year college but you will be skilled in much more before you graduate. These skills are usually lumped together in programs that include other types of medical imaging and medically related courses. While these programs take longer to complete, they’ll give you a stronger medical foundation for future advancement.

Ultrasound Technician Certification

Ultrasound technicians are not legally required to obtain any type of special certification aside from their training programs. Sitting for a third-party certification exam is not required. The America Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) does offer an exam, but it is optional. Completion of the exam may show your prospective employers that you are dedicated to your field, giving you a leg up against the competition when it comes to finding a job.

According to the Ultrasound Technician Site, job opportunities in the field of ultrasound technology are growing at an astounding rate. Between 2008 and 2018, it is expected that the field will grow almost 20%. Sonographers are expected to be in high demand, making it easier for new skilled workers to find jobs.

Take your time and choose a training program that is right for you. You’ll have no trouble finding a good job after graduation!

Radiology Technician vs Radiologic Technologist

1 Jun

When you are deciding to a become radiology professional, it is important that you have an understanding of what you want to specialize in.

What is the difference between a radiology technician and radiologic technologist?

The daily tasks that a radiology technicians daily tasks include:

  • Producing x-ray images that are concise and clear
  • Maintain all equipment used during the x-ray process
  • Preparing patients for their procedure

Aside from the above mentioned tasks another part of the techs job would be monitoring the patients exposure to radiation and make the proper changes to ensure that exposure is limited. The tech MUST ensure that the equipment used to perform the x-ray is working correctly. It is also the responsibility of the technician to ensure that the image provided to other members of the healthcare team to ensure, not only, that a proper diagnosis is reached but that the proper treatment plan for the patient is created.
When it comes to radiologic technologists, in addition to the information above about the tasks and responsibility of the technologist to be the acting expert in the radiology department in their specialty, whether it is:

  • CT (computed tomography) scans
  • MRI
  • Bone densitometry

Some of the similar duties that radiologic technologist and radiology technicians include:

  • Maintaining patient records
  • Management of work schedules
  • Dependent on education and experience technicians and technologists will be radiology department supervisors

What Educational Requirements Are Needed

Choosing on which career you want to pursue within the radiology profession can be a daunting task. The education needed for each profession is different. While it is more popular among those pursuing this position is obtain an Associate’s degree in Radiological Technologies, however if you wish to have better career opportunities, then obtaining a masters or certificate may be your best option.

Certificate programs can generally take as long as 2 years to finish and even under 2 years depending on where you attend your certification. When looking through a list of potential candidates, employers would prefer that the radiologic technologists and radiology techs are certifies and depending on the state that you currently reside in, certification exams from an accredited institution before obtaining and to continue to maintain their radiology license. The ARRT (American Registry of Radiologic Technologists) is a resource that is able to be utilized to help find accredited programs near you. Once you have obtained your license every 2 years you will be expected to continue 24 hours of educational programs.

How to Become a Medical Assistant

1 Jun

A medical assistant does a variety of work at a medical facility of either a clinical or an administrative nature, or both. Becoming a medical assistant allows you to work in the medical field without becoming involved in overly lengthy training and professional requirements. There are however important steps that you will need to take to insure that you are a well trained and responsible professional. There is not only one way to become involved in this field, but rather a number of different routes, mainly distinguished by how ambitious they are from an educational standpoint. The following are some of the primary steps and routes to take to become a medical assistant:

Seek on the Job Training

One of the simplest and most direct ways to get into the field of medical assisting is to apply for an entry level position at a medical facility that offers on-the-job training. Since there are generally no laws against an individual being hired as a medical assistant without formal education, this is indeed possible. You may need no more than a high school diploma and a willingness to learn in order to secure such a position. Places you can apply include hospitals, physicians’ offices, long term care facilities, and even colleges and universities. These establishments may have programs in place allowing you to train under an experienced medical assistant. Once you are shown the ropes, so to speak, you can begin to work at increasing responsibility levels yourself.

Enroll in a Medical Assistant Certificate Program

Certificate programs in medical assisting are one of the basic educational routes into the field. These programs often last around a year and result in a student being awarded a diploma or certificate in medical assisting. These courses may not go quite as in depth as longer term educational options but are often quite sufficient to prepare somebody for work as a medical assistant as well as to pass national certification exams. These programs are offered at community colleges, vocational/career schools, technical schools and even certain high schools.

Enroll in a Medical Assistant Associate’s Degree Program

A slightly longer term educational route, and one that is quite popular, is to get an Associate’s degree in medical assisting. Programs of this type generally last two academic years and go a bit more in depth than certificate/diploma programs. Offered at the same types of schools as certificate programs, these programs confer Associate’s degrees which do look good on resumes. So if you have the time and financial resources, you may want to consider enrolling in this type of program.

Some Points Concerning Training Programs

It should be noted that formal educational programs in medical assisting both often have externships – work at some health facility outside of the school – so that students can gain real world experience. It is important to select programs that offer this type of real word training so that you get a real feel for what the work is like.

It is also a good idea to find medical assistant schools that are nationally accredited, preferably by organizations such as the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). This is important both as regards the completeness of the program and for certification oriented reasons as discussed below.

Become Nationally Certified if Possible

Two organizations – the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) and the Association of Medical Technologists (AMT) are mainly responsible for certifying medical assistants at a national level. If possible, get certified by one (or even both) of these organizations. It only requires passing a multiple choice exam. However in order to be eligible to take one of these exams you need to have completed an educational program that has been accredited by CAHEEP of ABHES as noted above. There are also a couple of other stipulations such as that you do not have any criminal felony charges.

Prepare a Great Medical Assistant Resume

Upon completion of your education you’ll want to prepare a really sharp medical assistant resume. If you have trained on the job, you may have already used a basic resume to get the job, but you’ll need to update it to reflect your job training/experience should you wish to get another job. You can refer to the post Tips for Creating a Great Medical Assistant Resume on this blog for some pointers here.

Begin your Job Search

Once you have become educated and preferably certified, and gotten all your credentials sharply written up on your resume, the only thing left to do is to find a job. All kinds of medical facilities need medical assistants, so you will have plenty of establishments to which to apply. In addition, there is expected to be a big demand growth for professionals in this and other allied health fields, so that is encouraging from a job search standpoint.

The places to look for jobs are at hospitals, physician practices, long term care facilities, outpatient care services, and colleges and universities. You can check want ads in your local newspaper, look at online job listing sites (both general ones and ones that deal specifically with health fields or even medical assisting itself) and consult your local employment office.

Your first job will mark your true entry into the medical assistant field. Be conscientious and motivated in order to advance in this position. Enjoy your status as a respected medical assistant!

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