What does a Medical Coder do?
Medical coding is the transformation of healthcare diagnosis, procedures, medical services, and equipment into universal medical alphanumeric codes. A medical coder is responsible for assigning the correct code to describe the type of service a patient will receive. They ensure the codes are applied correctly during the medical billing process, which includes removing the information from documentation, assigning the appropriate codes, and creating a claim to be paid by insurance carriers. Medical coders work in hospitals, clinics, and physicians' offices.
A certificate or associate's degree in medical coding or a related field is required for a medical coder position. This is an entry-level position and successful medical coders possess a solid foundation of anatomy and physiology and excellent oral and written communication skills.
- Assign codes to diagnoses and procedures, using ICD (International Classification of Diseases) and CPT (Current Procedural Terminology) codes
- Ensure codes are accurate and sequenced correctly in accordance with government and insurance regulations
- Follow up with the provider on any documentation that is insufficient or unclear
- Communicate with other clinical staff regarding documentation
- Search for information in cases where the coding is complex or unusual
- Receive and review patient charts and documents for accuracy
- Review the previous day's batch of patient notes for evaluation and coding
- Ensure that all codes are current and active
- Associate's Degree in Medical coding or successful completion of a certification program
- Strong knowledge of anatomy, physiology and medical terminology
- Excellent typing and 10-key speed and accuracy
- Commitment to a high level of customer service
- Superior mathematical skills
- Familiarity with ICD-9 codes and procedures
- Solid oral and written communication skills
- Working knowledge of medical jargon and anatomy preferred
- Able to work independently
How much does a Medical Coder make?
Medical Coder Career Path
Learn how to become a Medical Coder, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.
Average Years of Experience
Medical Coder Insights
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“Not really any upsides to working here while I was there since all the old leadership left.”
“There haven't been any performance reviews or opportunities to earn a raise or promotion since I started the job.”
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Medical Coder Interviews
Frequently asked questions about the role and responsibilities of medical coders
The typical day of a medical coder involves reviewing medical records and assigning the appropriate code to each procedure for billing purposes. The coder must evaluate the doctor's or nurse's notes and apply the right codes for everything from medical equipment to services to procedures, as required by the applicable government regulations.
Medical coding is a fast-growing field and individuals looking to become a medical coder have the potential for employment opportunities in a variety of settings including hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, treatment centers, insurance offices, and law firms.
Working as a medical coder requires outstanding attention to detail. One of the challenges of being a medical coder is that inaccurate coding can result in a loss of revenue for healthcare providers if the reflected charge is too low. If an inaccurate code makes the charge too high, the healthcare provider can face legal charges for over-billing.