Medical Coding and Billing in Missouri
Paperwork is a huge part of most industries, but the load of paperwork required in the health care industry can be mind boggling. Every time a practitioner sees a patient, everything they do must be coded and billed for appropriately. From there, the paperwork must be filed and sent to the appropriate places.
Knowing how important paperwork is in the health care industry, it should be clear why medical billing and coding professionals are such an indispensable part of this field. In Missouri, their role is expected to grow as Missouri health care centers accept several million dollars in Affordable Care Act funding (KFVS12, 2015).
If you want to use recent growth in the medical industry to shape a new career for yourself, it is time to look into what the coding and billing specialty has for you. Keep reading to learn more about medical coding and billing schools in Missouri.
What to Expect in Missouri Medical Coding and Billing Training
To succeed as a coding and billing specialist, you have to have fairly extensive training in this specialty. While care providers may have to spend years studying patient care, terminology, and procedures, billing specialists must be able to combine procedural and diagnostic knowledge with strong technical skills. Since this field is so highly focused, you may be able to graduate in as little as one or two semesters. An Associate’s degree requires a full two years of study, since this type of program also includes general education courses.
Most of the time you spend in school should be spent on specialized coding and billing courses. You may find yourself in classes like Procedure Coding, Medical Billing and Insurance, Anatomy and Physiology, and Medical Office Procedures. You may also spend some time learning about patient privacy, patient confidentiality, and health care ethics, as unintentionally violating a patient’s confidentiality can lead to hefty fines for an institution.
If you are a full-time student, you may have quite a few financial aid options that are available to you. Federal and state government options are typically based on need, while private options are more likely to be based on academic performance. The Missouri Public Health Association funds close to one dozen awards each year.
Working as a Medical Billing and Coding Professional in Missouri
If you stay focused in school and keep your career in mind, you can do a lot to strengthen your job outlook by the time you graduate. Completing an internship or externship as a student may put you in touch with employers who are looking for your specific skills. Some graduates even leave school with multiple job offers. In addition, you may want to network with health care professionals and keep your ear to the ground to hear about employment opportunities.
By the year 2022, O*Net believes that job openings for medical billing and coding professionals may swell by 14% (2015). The statewide average salary for this position is $36,100 per year (O*Net, 2015).
If you choose a school that prepares you for AAPC certification, you should take advantage of this opportunity by becoming certified right out of school. Certification may help you earn more money or be considered for more prestigious positions. Although you do have to pass a fairly demanding exam, you should find that your education prepares you for it.
As a coding and billing technician, you can empower medical practitioners to give the best care they possibly can to patients. Take the first step and request information from medical coding and billing programs in Missouri.