Remote Medical Coding Jobs

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Remote medical coding jobs provide flexibility, allowing workers to set their own hours and control how much money they bring in. Jobs like these also have plenty of room for advancement, and the need for medical coders is projected to increase.

However, to succeed, medical coders need to be disciplined and detail-oriented. They also must be able to collaborate with physicians and billing departments.

What is a Remote Medical Coder?

Remote medical coders translate healthcare procedures into the appropriate codes for billing and recording purposes.

Medical codes are universal alphanumeric designations that tell payers, such as insurance companies or government providers, what procedures patients receive. Coders must identify the correct code for each procedure and enter it into the patient’s medical records.

What Do People with Remote Medical Coding Jobs Do?

Medical coders translate providers’ medical records into medical codes. The code ensures that the billing department charges healthcare payers appropriately for the procedures that the patient received.

Medical coders need to pay close attention to detail. They have to watch for any missing information in patient records and sometimes have to collaborate with physicians to clarify what procedures took place.

Sometimes medical coders also provide training on medical codes to other staff, including physicians and assistants.

Where Do People with Remote Medical Coding Jobs Work?

Remote medical coders work outside the hospital or healthcare facility they’re coding for. Usually, that means they work from home, though technically, remote medical coders could work from anywhere they choose. They simply need high-speed internet, Wi-Fi access, and a secure connection for HIPAA compliance purposes.

Coders can choose to freelance, accepting projects from healthcare companies as needed. Alternatively, remote medical coders can take a permanent position with various healthcare and related companies.

Some coders work for medical consulting companies, others work for major hospital networks, and others find work with smaller healthcare facilities. These facilities can include nursing homes, physician offices, and outpatient clinics.

Remote medical coders can also find jobs with insurance agencies, government agencies, and universities. In an insurance agency, medical coders will compare claims to a patient’s coverage. This sort of work requires lots of research and analysis.

In government agencies, remote medical coders may help calculate national statistics and look for insurance discrepancies. In universities, medical coders may help teach. They may also help with coding for teaching hospitals connected to the school.

What Degrees are Required for a Remote Medical Coding Job?

Technically, remote medical coders only need a high school degree and the ability to pass a background check. However, most employers look for at least an associate’s degree or the equivalent in coding experience.

An associate’s degree in Health Information and Technology is helpful. It requires coursework in medical terminology, computer applications, and healthcare ethics. Usually, it takes about two years to complete.

For those who want to pursue a 4-year degree, a Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management is a good choice.

With a 4-year degree and some experience, medical coders can move into more advanced positions, like hospital coding management. However, it’s important to note that management positions usually aren’t remote.

How Much Money Can a Remote Medical Coder Earn?

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), remote medical coders make approximately $45,240 per year. The BLS also predicts that the need for medical coders will increase. Jobs in this field are projected to rise by 9% between 2020 and 2030.

That said, pay as a remote medical coder can vary significantly based on experience and employer. Some coders will make more by working in specialty fields, and some will make less for various reasons.

Remote Medical Coding Job Requirements

There are several certifications available for medical coders. Many of them come from the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). The AHIMA offers several exams and corresponding certifications, each with a different medical coding focus. They include:

  • Certified Coding Associate (CCA): demonstrates coding competency across hospital and physician settings.
  • Certified Coding Specialist (CCS): demonstrates accuracy and mastery in coding competency across healthcare settings. To sit for this exam, the AHIMA recommends that coders obtain the CCA first and have an additional year of coding experience.
  • Certified Coding Specialist- Physician Based (CCS-P): demonstrates competency in coding within physician-based practices, clinics, or specialty centers.

Outside the AHIMA, several other organizations offer certifications in medical coding. The American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) is one such organization. They offer:

  • Certified Professional Coder (CPC): Certifies correct application of procedural, supply, and billing codes for medical claims in physician offices.
  • Certified Outpatient Coding (COC): Validates correct application of procedural codes used in outpatient facilities.
  • Certified Inpatient Coder (CIC): Validates correct application of procedural codes used in inpatient facilities, such as nursing homes and hospitals.
  • Certified Risk Adjustment Coder (CRAC): Certifies correct application of diagnosis codes in risk adjustment payment models.
  • Specialty Coding Certifications: These certify correct application of diagnosis and procedural codes in various specialties, including ambulatory surgery, anesthesia and pain management, dermatology, pediatrics, and cardiology.

The Board of Medical Specialty Coding also offers various certifications, as do several other professional groups. When looking for a coding certification course, it might be helpful to ask future potential employers which certifications they prefer.

Remote Medical Coding Career Path

Remote medical coding jobs have room for growth. However, moving up to more advanced positions may require in-person work.

Many medical coders choose to move into management. Hospital coding managers make significantly more in pay and have more responsibility. They may manage coding staff, train and hire new coders, and work more closely with the billing department.

Hospital coding managers typically work on-site, though. To move into this position, a current medical coder needs a bachelor’s degree in health information management. In larger hospital networks, they may also need a master’s degree.

If staying remote is a priority, there are other options for advancement. By pursuing a specialty certification in something like radiology, cardiology, dermatology, or pediatrics, medical coders can increase their salary significantly.

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