Medical Coding At Home
How medical coding jobs from home are possible and who are potential employers for medical coding from home. We’ll explore how realistic medical coding from home really is and what it takes.
Unfortunately you seldom see a work from home medical coding or billing job posting that isn’t a “business opportunity” from someone trying to sell something. That’s not to say medical coding jobs at home are not possible because I have been doing medical coding from home as a service for some clients as part of our medical billing business.
Medical coding from home is really appealing to those already in the field or wanting to be. But you have to be realistic in understanding what medical coding jobs from home requires.
It can be difficult for inexperienced or entry-level candidates to get hired to perform medical coding from home. Typically only proven employees with the confidence of the employer and a strong background in medical coding are allowed to work from home.
As in my case, some medical coding jobs at home are performed by business owners or contract employees.
What Medical Coders Do
For those of you investigating medical coding as a career and not familiar with the occupation, a medical billing coder analyzes patient charts and assigns the appropriate diagnosis and treatment codes. These codes are derived from ICD-9 codes (soon to be ICD-10) and the corresponding CPT treatment code with related CPT modifiers. A coder analyzes the documentation provided by the administering provider to these codes. Its important this information be properly recorded and coded for the provider to be reimbursed. Coders are also involved in medical research to properly assign reimbursement codes. The coding information is provided to the medical biller to enter and submit claims. Sometimes the coder performs both functions.
Medical Coding Jobs From Home – What’s It Take?
Typically an employer will only allow the most trusted and experienced coders to perform medical coding from home. A good employee is knowledgeable in HIPAA procedures and will conduct their work in a professional manner without being monitored. They are productive regardless of their work location.
As with other occupations, employers of medical billers are becoming more receptive to remote medical coding. An employer who accommodates a good coder is beneficial to the employer and employee.
Since coding involves a lot of look-up – either from traditional reference books or online services, it lends itself well as a “back office” function. However there are times that questions need to be answered either from the patient records or the provider themselves. With electronic medical records, you don’t necessarily have to be in the providers or hospitals office to access them. One of our clients used MediNotes so when questions arise about a particular patient or procedure, the actual patient records can be accessed online very quickly. This of course is where following HIPAA security standards is important with regard to accessing the practice server from remote locations.
Most larger practices and hospitals have computerized medical records of patient information so accessing remotely (and securely) is very easy.
So medical coding jobs from home requires an office where patient information is secure when not in use, an internet connection, coding reference books, and a willing employer. Even when using online medical coding resources, there are times when you just need to look things up the old fashioned way. You also need a means to receive patient encounter information. This may be transmitted electronically, via fax, or pick-up. Regardless of the method it is extremely important for patient information to be secure and protected at all times.
Potential Employers for Medical Coding Jobs From Home
Many employers do not necessarily oppose medical coding jobs home office if the home office is secure and compliant with HIPAA. However some don’t want to assume the liability of violating HIPAA privacy and security standards unless they have confidence their employees are trustworthy.
The most likely employers for medical coding jobs from home are hospitals, large practices or clinics, or a medical billing coding services business. Most candidates for medical coding jobs at home are established experienced employees who have proven themselves and are very good at what they do. They have the confidence of their manager or supervisor.
To attract good medical coders, an employer may offer benefits such as the option of medical coding from home as an enticement. This is becoming increasing popular in metro areas that are trying to reduce traffic congestion and pollution by encouraging telecommuting.
Other Paths To Medical Coding Jobs At Home
Another path to medical coding from home is to become a medical coding and billing business owner or consultant. This is the way I ended up medical coding at home for some clients of our business. Being a business owner doesn’t mean you have to have a big office with lots of overhead and employees either. Your business can be just you as the sole employee.
Some seasoned medical coders prefer to operate as a consultant as it allows a flexibility – especially when their services are in high demand.
An advantage to operating as a home business is that you can deduct a percentage of home expenses like utilities and maintenance that’s proportional to the size of your home office with respect to your total home square footage. You’ll want to consult with an accountant to understand the IRS rules regarding home office expenses.
So How Do You Get Experience Necessary for Medical Coding At Home?
Assuming you have successfully completed medical billing coding training, what’s the next step to medical coding from home? It really requires getting good experience and a reputation as a good coder. A potential employee who wants to convince an employer to allow them to work from home needs to be able to demonstrate that they have the skills, abilities, knowledge, and expertise. These come only with time and experience in the field. Medical coding can be very complex and tedious, so its important to develop the expertise before pursuing medical coding jobs from home.
Importance of Medical Billing Coding Training
One thing I’ve neglected to mention is the importance of good medical coding training regardless of your ambition to work in a traditional setting or persue medical coding jobs home.
Good applicable training from a reputable medical billing school is very important for anyone working as a medical coder as well as constant profession development to keep abreast of issues and developments in the field of coding. These can be issues such as the HIPAA privacy standard, ICD 10 codes, medicare billing codes, etc.
Protection of Patient Data
When performing medical coding jobs from home, the privacy and security of any information pertaining to a patient or their treatment must be protected in accordance with the HIPAA privacy standard and the HIPAA security standard.
With the right strategies and security measures in place the company benefits and so does the employee. However, they expect that the employee taking home their work is experienced in all necessary procedures and has good knowledge of HIPAA rules and regulations, and other applicable laws.
Medical Coding Jobs At Home – It Is Possible
Medical coding from home is realistic. But before an employer considers allowing remote medical coding, they have to be comfortable with it. After all if something goes wrong, they are liable – especially with regard to HIPAA. The income of the facility or healthcare provider depends on accurate insurance coding and billing. With the need for experienced medical coders and billers expected to be strong over the coming years due to the strong demand for healthcare services, expect employers to become more flexible and think outside the box when attracting good medical coders and billers.
The healthcare provider must have confidence in their medical coders and medical billers because what they do is so important to the financial health of the business. That’s why its important to see things from their prospective. Regardless of where it’s performed, its important to have the training, experience, and expertise to perform this work. In the end its not really important whether the medical coding is performed from home or on-site, just that its done efficiently, securely and safely.