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Growing Demand for Outpatient Medical Coders

November 19, 2014

The demand for outpatient medical coders is growing in a variety of healthcare settings including physicians’ offices, hospitals, outpatient care centers, nursing care facilities and diagnostic labs. They handle the crucial task of coding patient records accurately to attain maximum reimbursements. Considering their importance in the revenue cycle management, hospitals and private practices are hiring outpatient coders at attractive pay packages.

Industry facts

According to the AHIMA and eHealth Initiative Survey, majority of physicians have cited lack of staff as the topmost concern for meeting ICD-10 demands
As per the 2013 Occupational Outlook Handbook released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for health information technicians including coders and billers are set to increase by 21% between 2010 and 2020
According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for outpatient hospital coders is expected to grow faster than average

Outpatient Coders make use of CPT (Current Procedural Terminology) codes that are published by AMA and WHO. They also have to deal with ICD-9-CM diagnoses codes and HCPCS codes that are used for Medicaid and Medicare. After the physician has seen the patient it is their responsibility to review the physician’s notes. They understand the notes and match the procedures with accurate codes.

If the coder has sufficient knowledge of medical terminologies, procedures and the human anatomy, it becomes easier for him to understand the physician’s notes while perform coding. This will lead to error-free claims submissions and timely reimbursements. Outpatient coders play a vital role in record-keeping and ensuring that file of each patient contains accurate records of diagnoses and medical billing services provided.

How to become an Outpatient Medical Coder?

An outpatient medical coder is required have a high school diploma and accreditation from a medical coding program. He / she should be well-versed with the standard types of abstracting and encoder systems. AHIMA’s CCS-P (Certified Coding Specialist-Physician) certification and AAPC’s CPC (Certified Professional Coder) certification can help outpatient coders with better job prospects.

Hospital Outpatient Coders

In a hospital setting, the outpatient coders enjoy competitive salaries and employee benefits. They are required to examine the medical charts of patients and record and assign appropriate codes for the rendered services. Even though electronic patient records are used by hospitals, outpatient hospital coders may also need to work from physician notes and paper charts.

If you wish to become an outpatient medical coder in a hospital, you need to have good computer skills and knowledge of different medical coding software. You will also be required to communicate with billing clerks, physicians, hospital staff and nurses on a daily basis.

Increase in aging baby boomers and implementation of ICD-10 in 2015 will push the demand for certified and well-trained outpatient as well as inpatient coders. MedicalBillersandCoders.com offers an exciting job portal for coders and billers who wish to find top-paying jobs in different healthcare settings. Coders and billers can easily access the job portal, their regular newsletters and industry updates for related industry information. MBC also offers an effective ICD-10 training guide for coders.


Category : Best Billing and Coding Practices