medical biller, Medical coder

What Is The Difference Between A Medical Coder and a Medical Biller?

If you’re in the medical field, or are currently taking a medical coding and billing class, you’ve no doubt heard the words “medical coder” and “medical biller.” You might even think these jobs are the same because the names sound similar. Sometimes (especially in smaller practices) these roles are combined. But even though these positions are definitely related, each one is different. Here is a breakdown of the differences in a very general way.

Medical coders read the patient reports and assign ICD-10-CM and CPT, HCPCS (or ICD-10-PCS if you’re an inpatient coder) codes. It takes a great deal of knowledge of not only the code sets you’re using, but of disease processes and terminology. You will also need to know about the different insurances you’re billing and their requirements. Basically you have to know your stuff. The simple fact of the matter is–it takes time to get to the level where you can do this completely independently. Bear in mind– many medical coding jobs have production and accuracy requirements. To add insult to injury–if you do not meet these requirements, many times you could be fired. Can anyone say stressful? On the plus side though, if you don’t like dealing with the public very much, you really don’t have to as a medical coder. Usually your job is completely behind the scenes. You also will need to have at least one certification from either AAPC or AHIMA. (There is a new certification for coders from AMBA, but it is not highly recognized yet. I believe it will be though in the future).

A medical biller usually work the claim denials and tries to fix them to get them paid. Many times they read patient EOB’s and eventually need to call the insurance company to figure things out. They also probably talk to patients either on the phone or in the office and explain their bills to them and/or ask for payment. To be a successful medical biller, you should have a basic understanding of the common codes used in your practice and what they mean. Usually a certification is not required but there are billing certifications available from AAPC and AMBA.

So, that is it in a nutshell. The tasks of medical coders and medical billers are related, but different. As a side note-working as a medical biller first, is a great stepping-stone to working as a medical coder later. Good luck to those of you just starting in the field!

Thanks for reading,

Lindsay

 

Midnight Medical Coding Products You Might Be Interested In:

Learn The 50 Most Common X-Ray CPT Codes-

Self-paced online course. Getting awesome reviews from fellow coders.

 

 

 

 

15 Question Practice Coding Test

Practice coding the ICD-10-CM and CPT codes of HIPAA compliant X-ray reports. Answers and rationales provided.

 

 

 

 

Tabs for the ICD-10-CM Book: Get 60 printed, multi-colored, double-sided tabs. These can be used on any 2019 or 2018 ICD-10-CM book from any publisher.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Reviews

Review of Asus USB Portable Monitor

Well, this isn’t specifically about coding, but it’s related. Anyone out there use 2 monitors for coding at home? For starters, in case you’re wondering but are afraid to ask–No this post does not have affiliate links and I don’t “get” anything for writing this. I wanted to write a review on a monitor I bought because I like it, and I think it could be beneficial to a medical coder.

 

Okay, well here is a pic of it.

What I like best about this monitor is that it uses a USB cable and you can move it. Why this is beneficial to me is plain and simple. I can move it upstairs and set it up with my laptop so I can hide from my kids and work. My house is too noisy over the summer and I need privacy and quiet or else I’ll mess up everything and my codes will be wrong. This monitor can be easily moved from one computer to another without 9878789 different wires. It just uses 1- a usb cable. So I can use it upstairs for now, and then once I’m ready to use my office again downstairs, when the kids go back to school, I can easily move it.

It also comes with a small case to put it in if you want to take it out with you and use with a laptop. The color of the screen is nice when it’s hooked up (sorry I don’t have a pic with it on) and overall it is a really good product.

Here is one thing though that is a little confusing. I learned this from reading other reviews on this, so it’s definitely worth mentioning. Trouble is, it is not plug and play. Bear in mind, it comes with a cd to download the drivers onto your computer. However, the disc is either outdated, or just does not work. To get this up and running, you have to download the drivers from display link.  Just choose the operating system your computer uses and download the driver. Once it’s downloaded, you’ll be able to use the options to set up the second monitor and it’s very easy. If you didn’t know to use display link I think you’d be confused though.

Anyway, this is what I use at home when I’m working. I have my main monitor logged into whatever system I’m using at the time, and on this screen I put my coding spreadsheet. It works out great and I really like it.

So there you have it. If any of you are looking for a second monitor this one is as easy as 1, 2, 3.

 

Thanks for reading,

Lindsay

 

Midnight Medical Coding Products You Might Be Interested In:

Learn The 50 Most Common X-Ray CPT Codes-

Self-paced online course. Getting awesome reviews from fellow coders.

 

 

 

 

15 Question Practice Coding Test

Practice coding the ICD-10-CM and CPT codes of HIPAA compliant X-ray reports. Answers and rationales provided.

 

 

 

 

Tabs for the ICD-10-CM Book: Get 60 printed, multi-colored, double-sided tabs. These can be used on any 2019 or 2018 ICD-10-CM book from any publisher.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like this post? Subscribe to our blog and get posts sent to your email! We do no spam or send anything annoying. We send 1 blog post a week tops. Sometimes we also send coupons/deals on our products.



Uncategorized

The Reality Of Being A Medical Coder Who Works From Home

Not a picture of my desk. It would be nice if it looked this neat though.

Many times, if you’re looking at advertisements for coding schools, you’ll see a picture of a young woman working at a laptop. She looks happy and she may be even holding  a baby on her lap. I’ve also seen other advertisements where there’s a picture of someone coding at the beach. I’m not trying to burst anyone’s bubble here, but that is not an accurate depiction of life as a medical coder working from home. I’ll get back to what it’s actually like later on in this post-but some medical coders do work from home and are very successful at it.

What people don’t realize is there’s a lot more than meets the eye. I think some of the schools out there totally underestimate the importance of working on-site first. So much can be learned from that! Not only will you get to meet other coders in your specialty, but you’ll get to see how the whole process works. There’s a lot more to coding than choosing numbers in a book, and the only place to learn these things is on-site. If you work in a billing office you’ll get to see the whole claim cycle, which is important just to grasp things, and see how coding fits into the whole equation. You may even find a coder to mentor you and show you the ropes, which is invaluable! Networking and building relationships with other people is necessary in this field. So while working from home can be a perk of working in this field down the line, it should not be your goal starting out.

Actual picture of my desk. This is Connor and he is my pet supervisor.

So what is it like working from home? The first thing to keep in mind that there are still rules. You still have to have a HIPAA compliant space to work and need to follow your companies guidelines regarding that. Some companies are more strict than others. Some require you have a separate office with a door that locks, others do not. Some companies provide a computer and others require you use your own. Some companies have set hours you have to work while others do not. You get the idea–it’s not as flexible as it may seem at first.

Believe it or not, it can be tough to keep a schedule when you work from home. If you’re allowed to set your own hours, it is very easy to lose track of time. You may start cleaning or cooking or whatever and next thing you know the day is half over. There are many distractions in the home and it’s easy to get side tracked. The best thing to do to avoid this, is to make a schedule and stick to it.

Friend- “Since you’re home all day, you sleep until noon, right?” Me- “That’s not how it works.”

Another problem that many coders have that work from home is the fact that many people think that since you’re working from home, you do not have a real job. They do not respect your work boundaries and think you are around to help with errands, chores etc. But the fact of the matter is, it is up to YOU to set boundaries with people in your life. If your family and friends think that you’re available to help them with things because you’re home, don’t be afraid to tell them no. Would these same people call you if you were at the office for help with an errand? Probably not.

It’s tough when you’re a new coder. You can do well but it just takes time.

I also think that working from home should be for experienced coders only. If you are a new coder and have a question–there is no one around to ask. Production and accuracy are still expected whether you work in the office or at home, and when you’re first learning, it’s to your advantage to be around others to help you if needed.

Another thing to consider before working from home is your personality. This might sound weird but just think about it for a second. If you’re a person who likes to work alone and is ok with being home most of the day, then working from home can work out for you. But if your are a people-person who truly enjoys being around others–you may not like working from home. It can be very isolating and that fact alone can be upsetting to a very social person.

Not a medical coder.

Last but not least–getting back to that picture I mentioned earlier of someone coding at the beach. Many times when you start working a new job you’ll have to sign a contract or an agreement. Usually there is a clause in there saying that you have to actually work in your house and not somewhere in public. It is a HIPAA issue if someone can see your work/computer screen. You also most likely need a secure internet connection to work and it also may need to be a wired connection. Not to mention, all of the seagulls would be very distracting if you’re trying to work on the beach. All kidding aside, as a mom myself I get that it’s appealing to want to work from home. It’s just that the reality of how it really is, is not depicted accurately by some coding institutions out there, and sets students up with unrealistic expectations about the coding world.
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