Medical Coding and Billing in Tennessee
There are few times in history when has the United States seen as big of a change to the healthcare industry as the one caused by the Affordable Care Act. As Tennessee businesses and medical institutions learn about what the new standards and laws entail, many are starting to realize that they need more health care professionals. This includes care providers like doctors and nurse practitioners, but it also includes administrative staff who make sure that services are paid for, answer billing questions for patients, and handle the massive amount of paperwork that builds up in the medical industry.
This could be great news for you if you’ve been waiting for the chance to start a health care career in Tennessee. Tennessee has seen quite a bit of growth in the health care sector in recent years, with new centers opening up and old ones expanding. West Tennessee Healthcare is just one of many local health care institutions to open a new clinic in the last few years (West Tennessee Healthcare, 2015).
If you want to find out how you can contribute to this field as a medical coding and billing specialist, keep reading to learn more about medical coding and billing programs in Tennessee.
What to Expect in Tennessee Medical Coding and Billing Training
One of the benefits of choosing coding and billing as a career is the fact that you can get started pretty quickly. Although some programs require up to two years of study, others can be completed in six months or less. Attending an accredited medical coding and billing program should leave you with a diploma, certificate, or Associate’s degree, depending on what is available at the school you choose.
Although this is a short program, it covers a massive amount of information. Your school may create learning goals like understanding multiple coding languages, developing effective communication skills with health care providers, and figuring out how to work under pressure. To reach these goals, you must complete a thorough curriculum of courses like Medical Billing, Physician-Based Medical Coding, Hospital-Based Medical Coding, and Medical Terminology In Billing and Coding.
Some schools offer this program entirely online, in which case you may not get practical work experience through an internship or clinical rotation. However, if you attend a traditional in-person program, you may practice your skills at clinics, hospitals, and nursing homes. An internship can be a great way to gain experience in the field and start making professional connections.
When you get accepted to a program, you can start applying for federal, statewide, and private financial aid. The Tennessee Public Health Association is one resource to check out.
Working as a Medical Billing and Coding Professional in Tennessee
When you complete your program, you may begin looking for job openings in medical coding and billing in Tennessee. Small clinics and hospitals may have one medical billing department for the entire facility, while larger institutions often split coding and billing up based on specialty.
This is where experience can be helpful. If you complete an internship at a place that is currently hiring, your hard work may lead to a job offer.
This field is expanding quite rapidly in Tennessee. Between 2012 and 2022, O*Net anticipates a 23% increase in job openings for medical records technicians (O*Net, 2015). The current average salary for this position is $31,000 per year (O*Net, 2015).
Although certification is not required, you may choose to pursue it at some point in your career. AAPC is a national organization, so certification may be beneficial to you if you’d like to take your coding and billing education to another state.
Check out our list of medical coding and billing programs in Tennessee now for more information.