Medical coding and billing training can provide the skills needed to convert clinical documents into codes used by healthcare institutions for claim submission and payments. Billing and coding is a unique skillset, and although they go hand in hand, they are very different. The overall goal is to bring revenue into the medical practice.
The College of Health Care Professions (CHCP) is an institution that is dedicated to providing excellent education in healthcare with hands on training. Our experienced instructors will help you to acquire the skills needed to meet the demands of today's healthcare industry and to prepare you to become a successful medical coding and billing specialist. Learn more about CHCP's on-campus environment in the Medical Coding and Billing program.
The Medical Coding and Billing program at CHCP can help prepare you on the path to a rewarding career in healthcare. It is an excellent option for someone who is very detail-oriented and looking to work in this industry but not treat patient’s hands-on. Billers and coders are sometimes called the problem solvers when it comes to understanding a patient statement.
The Medical Coding and Billing program teaches you how to understand and transform medical documentation into the current CPT, HCPCS, ICD10PCS, and ICD coding sets used in healthcare settings. You will learn medical coding and billing fundamentals, how to use medical management software, and read and submit medical documents, billing forms, and insurance claims. You will also learn medical terminology, including combining forms, prefixes, and suffixes.
Cheryl Gibson, a Medical Coding and Billing Instructor at CHCP’s Houston - Med Center Campus, has a great understanding why hands-on and face-to-face training sets CHCP apart from other programs. The Medical Coding Certificate program is offered in a blended format where courses are part in-person as well as part online, which provides our medical coding and billing students the best of both worlds.
CHCP students have the opportunity to complete some assignments from home and also come in for classes and labs to practice and reinforce their online learning. That hands-on approach is something you won’t find in every medical coding and billing certificate program. Even though coders and billers sit behind a desk, they still interact with both patients and other healthcare professionals. That’s why interaction and hands-on training makes a difference at CHCP.
There are separate certifications you can work towards as you continue your education. Each certification introduces you to a new set of job opportunities and a chance to move ahead in your career.
Some certifications students can work towards include:
Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) – Entry-level certification that verifies skills.
Certified Professional Coder (CPC) – A comprehensive exam that tests skills in a variety of areas of knowledge.
Nationally Registered Certified Coding Specialist (NRCCS) – Exam covers diagnostic, procedural and medical coding and billing proficiency in healthcare practice.
A coding and billing specialist may have as many certifications as they want and build on their skills with continuing education. Those looking to work as managers or top-level administrators also have the option to return to school to advance their career by earning their bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
The focus of the program is to learn ICD-10 code sets and work towards a professional certification. However, according to Gibson, students can expect much more at CHCP. “All the students get a Chromebook computer, and then we also have a lab setup so if students want to come on campus and get on the actual desktop computers, we also have that available to them.”
Students do four weeks of training on Cengage at CHCP.Cengage is an online learning platform CHCP uses to give students access to even more resources. Gibson explains, “Cengage is a lot of fun. It gives them experience from the beginning to the end of the process, from creating patient records and scheduling appointments all the way through until you get reimbursement in the end.”
After about three months of training, instructors like Gibson give out certification manuals to help students study for their exams. To help make studying fun, Gibson offers her students a Kahoot! game that covers critical test elements such as abbreviations, prefixes, suffixes, and various coding questions.
CHCP also helps students prepare for the workforce outside of their program studies. Gibson comments that they continue preparing students by having them participate in mock interviews in business attire. They also cover resume writing, cover letters, thank you letters in addition to mock interviews. “You want to make sure they have all the key points in their resume and do some Q&A to prepare students for potentially uncomfortable situations,” shares Gibson.
A lot of the prep work done in the CHCP medical coding and billing training focuses on concepts covered in the NRCCS certification exam. Although there are many certification options, this is one that employers look for, so the instructors spotlight it.
The NRCCS certification shows colleagues, patients, employers, and the general public that certified individuals have the diagnostic and medical coding and billing knowledge and proficiency necessary to competently perform their duties. To acquire certification, you must pass the test with a 70% and complete the NAHP qualifying conditions.
With advancements in technology, the healthcare profession is changing and increasing in volume. The healthcare industry's information and technology are continually evolving, necessitating the need for fully trained medical coding and billing professionals. Once you have completed your training at a medical coding and billing school like CHCP and understand the codes, you will be entering the job market with a highly relevant skill set.
First and foremost, success is about finding a career you excel at and love doing. That is the point of the comprehensive training program at CHCP. They take their concern for students’ education and training to the next level through the programs and support they provide for all types of students in all kinds of ways, in and out of the classroom.
The CHCP student body includes a mix of traditional and non-traditional students. Some students have not completed high school, others begin straight out of high school, and some are parents trying to figure out their way. All education levels have an opportunity to come to CHCP to change their life. They all share a common goal - to work in the medical field. The Medical Coding and Billing program provides an opportunity to work behind the scenes and make a difference in patients’ lives.
There are resources at the school that help students with housing issues or transportation problems. Instructors like Gibson go out of their way to accommodate the needs of each student. That is also something you don’t find in every medical coding and billing program.
Even once they graduate and are ready to move on to their exciting careers, CHCP is there for them. The school offers a Career Services Department, and many students end up becoming employed at the same place where they did their externship.
CHCP partners with different organizations to assist their medical coding and billing students with job placement, starting with their externships. This is such an important part of a student’s education, allowing the student to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom in a healthcare setting.
You could say that coding and billing specialists are a patient’s first line of defense against being overwhelmed with medical costs. Oftentimes, denied claims are simply a matter of proper paperwork. They verify the information that gets the healthcare professional paid by the insurance company.
Medical coding and billing is a good option for someone who enjoys working with data and record keeping. They may want to help others but not take a patient-care role.
You should also have strong customer service skills. As Gibson explains, “You have to understand customer service. You must have patience because you deal with doctors, insurance companies, and patients. So, you get it from every angle.”
Someone who wants to work as a medical coder will need to be able to do the following while maintaining patient information security:
Examine and interpret clinical statements and patient records
Use the CPT, ICD-10-CM, and HCPCS Level II categorization systems to convert diagnoses and medical information into codes
Interact with physicians and assistants to confirm that codes are correct and ready for conversion into a medical billing claim
Because of the pandemic, an increasing number of coders and billers are working from home. That might be a temporary situation, however. Gibson explains that restrictions are now beginning to be lifted — more people are going back to the office.
There is a reason there are so many possible certifications in this field — there are plenty of ways to move up. You can change your environment, from working in a doctor’s office to billing in a hospital. You can also run your own office or, as you gain more education and experience, teach as Gibson does.
Outcome is key. With a Medical Coding and Billing Certificate from CHCP, you will be able to begin an entry-level career as a medical coding and billing specialist. CHCP offers quality training by people who care about you and where you want to go.
CHCP has a specialized staff of career services specialists to help program graduates find their ideal job. Many students are able to acquire a placement at their externship site.
Multiple accreditations are a crucial "differentiator" for the institution. CHCP is proudly accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). CHCP is also approved and regulated by the Texas Workforce Commission's Career Schools and Colleges Division.
CHCP offers a variety of paths for continuing education, including its Healthcare Administration program. This bachelor’s degree program can lead students to management or even running their own billing and coding companies.