There are thousands and thousands of “codes” that specialists in Medical Billing & Coding use to identify and classify disease and treatments. In 2015, the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) changed their system over from version 9 to version 10. Many people panicked at the thought of the increase in codes; there are five times more in ICD-10 as there were in ICD-9. But those who were willing to step and keep up did just fine. If you want to keep up with the changes, here a few ways to do it:
Enroll in a Medical Billing & Coding Program. Before you can keep up, you need to have a solid foundation of knowledge. Choose a program that teaches you the latest coding protocols, but also some important medical basics. You’ll need to know about the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) laws and regulations. HIPAA sets out strict guidelines about how to respect and protect patient privacy. You’ll also need to know about the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) laws around Bloodborne Pathogens (BBP). The more you know and understand about the field, the more you’ll be able to adapt when changes occur.
Understand those changes. It’s easier to adapt to change when you understand why things had to change in the first place. When coders jumped from ICD-9 to ICD-10, it was to benefit patients. That’s a pretty good reason, right? The old code had been in place for more than three decades and it just wasn’t good enough to meet today’s complicated healthcare systems. The new codes help in a variety of ways, because they are:
· More universal
· More accurate
· Able to contain more data
· Able to identify fraud and abuse
· Able to better measure outcomes and care
· Able to better track public health trends
Get credentials. Employer requirements vary, but certification in Billing & Coding can set you apart from your peers. The standard Certified Professional Coder (CPC) is a good place to start, but as you move along in your career you may want to consider other certifications such as Certified Professional Coder Payer, Certified Interventional Radiology Cardiovascular Coder, Registered Health Information Technician, and more. Continuing your education through certification helps you stay up-to-date and makes you a valuable asset to your healthcare facility and its patients.
Keep industry current. Pay close attention to what’s happening in the healthcare industry. If you want to build a long and rewarding career in healthcare you need to know how legislation and politics may affect what you do. That means no more scrolling past articles on the Affordable Care Act or switching the channel when talking heads are talking about healthcare. It’s time to get informed!
Whether you already work in the Medical Billing & Coding profession, or are just starting out, check out the healthcare training programs available at Career Quest Learning Centers. You could complete our Diploma in Medical Billing & Coding Program in as little as eight months. Find out more by giving us a call in Lansing at 877-481-4930 or Jackson at 877-365-8144.