Author Topic: What to learn first? Billing? Or coding?  (Read 2611 times)

Tatyana Batz

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What to learn first? Billing? Or coding?
« on: November 11, 2013, 10:40:30 PM »
I have been doing a lot of online research about billing and coding, and I have picked what I think is a good program for coding, but now I keep wondering if coding is the place to start? I know that both fields go hand in hand but are also separate.

From what I can tell, it can take a long time to find a coding position. I am fine with starting anywhere and doing anything just to get my foot in the door. But I worry that if I get a CPC-A or CCS certification that I will lose my knowledge in the time that it takes to find a job that will utilize those skills. Not to mention staying certified, buying new coding books, and paying for CEU's.

I have no medical background or training. I'm a stay at home mom, so I can find the time needed to complete online training for either billing or coding. And I feel like this career path will fit me very well since I prefer to mostly work alone.

Can anyone tell me what it's like to be a biller or a coder? If I want to learn both, which should I start with?


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Re: What to learn first? Billing? Or coding?
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2013, 10:55:43 PM »
The Federal government is currently on a push to get doctors to use Electronic Medical Records (EMRs).  Those doctors who do adopt an EMR have to enter the CPT and Diagnosis codes as part of the EMR record.  Some EMRs even force the doctor to link the Dx to the CPT codes before the patient encounter can be closed.  This work is then forwarded to the billing department for them to review and send out to the clearinghouse.

To the extent that doctors switch over to EMRs and do the coding themselves, coding jobs are going to go away.  But the doctors still need billers to review the data and forward it to the clearinghouse, post the insurance payments when they are made, bill the patients for any monies they owe, and post the patients' payments when they come in.

Your choice.  Coder or biller.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2013, 10:57:14 PM by RichardP »


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Re: What to learn first? Billing? Or coding?
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2013, 11:29:42 PM »
While I agree with Richard, but the Coding isn't going to wind down any time sooner. I see knowledge is wealth and if you are interested in Coding by all means you can start off with and swap into billing that way you will have better understanding. Its all depends on your interest.  JMO....


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Re: What to learn first? Billing? Or coding?
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2013, 08:17:47 AM »
Almost like which comes first the "Chicken or the Egg"  (Yes I know there is a scientific answer to this)

My opinion when asked this very question is to put the horse in front of the cart and learn the reimbursement process first, later on if you want, go for coding. I think there are much more opportunities for the billing/practice management side. Just keep in mind that if you do either program you will still most likely have to take an entry level position to start. It's like any other business where experience is wanted but you need to get your foot in the door to get it. There are much more opportunities by starting in records dept of a hospital, hospital check in clerks, office receptionists, etc.. realistically though it can take a while to get going in that one position you want, very highly competition market. I've seen many go and take a few years at college for medical billing/coding and they can't find jobs and starting at the bottom can be discouraging when you need the money.  Likewise I've seen people take at home courses while working another job and walk right into a good job or even starting their own business.

I still don't think we will see EHR take off the way people think.. I see lots and lot's of lawsuits down the pike because of EHR. I was talking to my attorney the other day who told me malpractice attorney's LOVE a good EHR and now they can add privacy breaches to that as well.  But that's my opinion, our govt usually has to make a mess of things first before they get it right.
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Adam W.

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Re: What to learn first? Billing? Or coding?
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2013, 07:52:14 AM »
I'm in a position somewhat similar to Tatyana.  I am a lawyer, was laid off in May, and haven't been able to find a new job in my field.  I have contemplated changing careers and am strongly considering medical billing and coding, for a variety of reasons, among them being I can extend my unemployment benefits while I retrain.   I have found a couple online courses at a local state college that appear to be legitimate.   The first class is called Medical Billing and Coding and Medical Terminology.  The course description states, "Upon completion of this program, you will be ready to begin your career in an entry-level position, or to take the Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) national certification exam offered by National Healthcareer Association (NHA)."  The second class is called Advanced Hospital Coding and CCS prep and supposedly prepares one to sit for the AHIMA CCS exam. 

My questions are: (1) does this seem like a reasonable plan for breaking into the medical billing and coding field?; (2) what sort of job will I most likely be able to get upon completing the first and second classes; and (3) do you have any general advice about entering the field?

Thanks so much and Happy Thanksgiving!