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How Do I Study for Medical Billing?

Are you interested in becoming a medical biller? Did you know that medical billing specialists are an essential part of the healthcare system? They handle most of the administrative tasks necessary for a hospital, healthcare facility, or independent provider to obtain reimbursement for the medical services rendered to patients. Medical billing specialists are the bridge between the clinical practice of medicine and the business practices needed for an institution to remain helping patients.

A career as a medical billing specialist is personally and professionally rewarding. One way to become a medical billing specialist and gain the knowledge to be successful is by attending a vocational training program. This program can prepare you for the workforce, make you a highly desirable candidate, and jumpstart your career.

What Does a Medical Billing Specialist Do?

Medical billing is a wide-ranging profession that requires you to understand many administrative tasks. For smaller medical facilities, you may handle the entire billing process from coding invoices to posting payments. At larger medical facilities you may specialize in a particular task, like drafting and submitting reconsideration appeals.

The field is growing and qualified applicants with proper training stand out. Vocational training tells employers you’re equipped to begin the job immediately with less on-the-job training, saving valuable resources in the process. A medical billing specialist may be responsible for the following administrative duties:

  • Review medical records for clarity, completeness, and accuracy
  • Convert diagnoses and procedures into standardized codes used to generate bills
  • Submit invoices to insurance providers with supporting documentation
  • Follow up on denied bills to correct them and obtain reimbursement
  • Communicate with patients, insurance providers and medical practitioners
  • Accept payments from insurers and patients, handle Accounts Receivable duties, and follow up to obtain outstanding payments

During the course of your duties, you will communicate with doctors, insurance companies and patients by phone and email. At first, you’ll probably work in a conventional office setting within a medical facility or billing center. Remote work may be a possibility with some employers after a few years of experience.

How to Study for Medical Billing

Medical billing is a technical and highly specialized field. One way to acquire the knowledge and build the medical billing skills is to graduate from a medical billing program. Vocational schools orient their medical billing programs around theoretical knowledge and practical application so you can enter the billing workforce comfortable and confident.

An effective medical biller must feel comfortable working in multiple computer systems, knowledgeable about physiology and clinical practice, and fluent in the universal coding languages. One way to prepare for the profession is with vocational training from an accredited vocational school.

What is the Medical Billing Curriculum?

Instructors at vocational schools are knowledgeable in medical billing. They use real-world examples to prepare you for challenges you’re likely to face. They also focus coursework on areas central to career success. Your training will touch many aspects of the field.

Billing and Coding

One responsibility as a medical biller will be to translate narrative information recorded by the medical provider into alphanumeric codes to identify diagnoses and services. You’ll learn how to read medical records, use the manuals that list codes, and manage the details of creating invoices to send to insurance companies.

You’ll learn in the ICD-10 (International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems), CPT-4 (Current Procedure Terminology), and HCPCS (Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System) systems. Medical billers must be able to apply the codes correctly and efficiently.

Diagnostic History, Procedure History, Referring Doctor Information

The bills you create must represent services rendered accurately and honestly. You’ll learn anatomy and physiology, diagnostic terminology, and the basics of medical record-keeping to correctly interpret documentation. Instructors will place emphasis on compliance standards, government regulations, and best practices so you protect yourself and your employer.

This knowledge is critical for your ability to generate accurate invoices. You’ll also be required to communicate with doctors when records are incomplete, or you suspect inaccuracies. Understanding medical terminology will help you obtain corrections by giving you the confidence to interact with physicians and nurses.

Medical Terminology

Your coursework will include anatomy and physiology covering the cardiovascular, muscular, skeletal, integumentary, reproductive, urinary, nervous, respiratory, digestive, endocrine and lymphatic systems. You’ll gain foundational knowledge so you can interpret medical records and identify diagnoses effectively.

Insurance Billing Practices

While each insurer is unique, you must adhere to certain industry conventions and regulations. You’ll learn how to read and understand insurance guidelines, policies, and explanations of benefits. Your coursework will include best practices for maximizing reimbursement. You’ll also learn about waste, fraud and abuse.

Medical billing specialists are liaisons between healthcare providers and insurers. Vocational institutions provide real-world insight into how the relationship functions and pathways to success in dealing with insurers. Strong skills make you a valuable asset and bolster job security.

Encounter Forms and Patient Statements

In some cases, patients will be billed directly or may be responsible for copayments. You will learn how to create summaries of rendered services, invoices for patients, and billing statements summarizing patients’ financial responsibility

Appointment Scheduling and Bill Follow Up

You may be responsible for insurance verification, patient scheduling and some pre-authorization duties to verify patient coverages before providers render treatment. You’ll also learn the steps of confirming the accuracy of bills submitted to insurers, following up on outstanding bills and responding to the various reasons insurers delay payment.

Payment Posting and Accounts Receivable

Medical billers are responsible for accepting checks from insurers, posting payments to patient accounts and tracking outstanding claims. You’ll learn basic accounting techniques, computer systems and payment tracking procedures.

Denial Follow-up and Reconsiderations

Insurers issue denials for many reasons. You’ll learn how to read and interpret the denials, research the original bill and assemble an appeal to try and obtain payment. This entails collecting supplemental documentation and deciphering both reasons for medical necessity and insurance plan policies. Vocational educators will help you develop the investigation and research abilities to hone these valuable skills.

Ethics and Compliance

Medical billers must adhere to ethics and compliance guidelines. You’ll learn the billing best practices to maximize reimbursement while complying with these regulations. Instructors will discuss federal laws regarding patient privacy and compliance, also known as HIPAA.

Maintaining accreditation is vital to healthcare organizations. Medical billers with formal education show employers they understand the importance of regulatory standards and are prepared to follow institutional policy.

Soft Skills

Medical billing specialists need strong interpersonal, problem-solving, and organizational skills. Your vocational institution will help you develop your communication, critical thinking, and managerial skills to thrive in your career.

How Long is a Medical Billing Program?

Attending vocational school prepares you for workforce quickly by developing the core competencies you’ll need to excel on the job. You can complete the training within three months. Coursework is designed to efficiently give you the information necessary to enter the field as a capable and knowledgeable medical biller.

What are the Benefits of a Medical Billing Program?

There are many benefits to a medical billing program. From producing successful medical billing students to offering a quick way to start a career, medical billing programs allow you to enjoy many benefits to jumpstart your career. These benefits include:

Successful Medical Billing Students

Vocational institutions specialize in helping you learn the skills needed to succeed in your profession and develop the tools to work independently. Many of the traits you’ll need as a medical biller are necessary for academic success.

You will hone your attention to detail skills and acquire the ability to work independently. Medical billing is highly structured and requires the meticulous review of dense information. You must be able to prioritize your tasks and manage workflow to excel in both school and the medical office.

Medical billers are often required to collaborate when solving complex billing issues and verify each other’s work. No educational course can prepare you for every complex situation you’ll face. However, vocational schools will help you develop foundational knowledge and research skills, so you’ll be able to find solutions.

A Quick Start

Vocational schools judge themselves on their graduates’ job placement. They offer resources to help you write eye-catching resumes, prepare for interviews, and identify high-quality opportunities. In addition, instructors are experienced in medical billing and can offer insight into the nature of the profession, potential stumbling blocks to your career, and strategies for maximizing your opportunities.

Job Growth and Advancement

Beyond giving you an edge during the hiring process, completing coursework in medical billing provides a distinct advantage throughout your career. Employees with training are more likely to secure greater responsibilities that lead to promotions.

Prepare for Certification Exams

Additionally, vocational training can prepare you for certification exams and additional study to deepen your knowledge. Advanced training and certification further elevate your career prospects and prepare you for supervisory and auditing roles.

Did learning how to study for medical billing interest you? The Medical Billing Specialist program at Hunter Business School on Long Island prepares billing and coding students to obtain entry-level employment specializing in medical related billing and coding in physician’s offices. The Medical biller program is a 3-month diploma program available in the evening.

Contact us today to find out more on how to become a medical biller on Long Island.