Language and Culture of Medical Coders and HIM

What is HIM?

HIM stands for Health Information and Medical Records Management. Contrary to what many believe, HIM professionals are not medical transcriptionists, rather they are experts in the field of patient health information and medical records.

What is Database Management?

Databases consist of files, records, fields, columns, and characters. Managing, storing, retrieving, and protecting databases falls well within the HIM department personnel scope of practice. To accomplish this task they usually utilize a Database Management System (DBMS). DBMS lets them create, store, modify, sort, and retrieve the data.

HIM/Technical English Research Paper: Language and Culture of Medical Coders

Re: Language and Culture of Medical Coders«
from: CarolE on Yesterday at 03:04:32 PM

I am a HIM student at Davenport University. I presently am taking a Technical English class and have to write a research paper about the language and culture of Medical Coders. I would appreciate anyone from the Health Information profession to answer some or all of these questions and return them to me. The questions are listed below. I will need your name as I have to have this information APA cited. Thank you.

Carol Ewing
Davenport University HIM Student

Research Questions For Medical Coders:
1. What would you say is the most important aspect of working in the coding area of the Health Information Department?
2. Do you think that the other areas of the department understand a coders job really includes?
3. What are the top five areas you would suggest so a non medical person could understand the coder's language and culture in a Health Information Department?
4. What types of coding do you have to complete: inpatient, outpatient, laboratory, emergency , etc. or everything?
5. How many coders are there within your health information department?
6. What is the most important advise you would say to a future medical coder?
7. For other health information department employees:
8. What do you think the coder's job includes?
9. Were you ever a medical coder?
10. If no, would you be able to complete medical coding if your employee requires it?
11. If yes, why did you decide to move out of the coding area?
12. Which area did you move into?
13. Do you have much communication with the medical coders in a normal work day?
14. How are some words that you would use to describe the language of a coder?
15. How is the language that coders used different from those in other areas of the HIM department?
16. What are some words that you would use to describe the culture of a coder?
17. How is the culture of the coders difference from those in other areas of the HIM department?
18. List some examples:
19. Name some of the different type of areas within the HIM department?
20. What is the job description for a medical coder?
21. What type of education requirement do the coders in your place of employment have?


Buying Medical Billing Software

While we cannot make any recommendations on which medical billing and office management software to to use we can give you some examples of those we have used, and indicate which ones we liked. I liked Lytec, Web MD's Medical Manager, and ZirMed.

We don't know anything about the rest of medical billing software that's out there, but we know what to look for! (Much!) more tips on selecting Medical Billing Software that works:

* It has to produce AR reports on demand
* Individual insurance reports
* Individual account report
* Monthly payment report
* Monthly overpayment report
* Monthly adjustment report
* Monthly time payment report
* Debt collection report

It's important to ask about clearinghouses!
  • When selecting a clearinghouse, make sure you find out how many insurance companies they send claims to
  • Are you required to use their software, or one of your choice?
  • How much will it cost you per claim to send to the clearinghouse?
  • What reports will you get?
  • Will you get a confirmation of receipt of claims not only by the clearinghouse, but also by the carrier?
  • Will you get a claims adjudication report?
  • If the claims were sent to the clearinghouse and the insurance company says the claim is not on file (NOF), what will the clearinghouse do to rectify this?
  • Do they resend for free, or do you get a refund?
  • Make sure your contract has a no-penalty termination clause and you can terminate for any reason without penalties.


Medical Billing Done From Home - HIPAA and CMS

Ever changing and new federal laws, such as HIPAA, and those regarding electronic claims submission make it a bit more difficult to take medical billing work home. However, many have overcome these unique challenges as they arise, and are following their dream working in a career they absolutely love.

What About HIPAA Rules?
As long as certain safeguards are in place, and there is a data backup plan, disaster recovery plan, and emergency mode operation plan, HIPAA has no objections to medical coding and billing staff working from home. Another important consideration in the medical coding and medical billing realm concern CMS (previously HCFA) and the Office of Inspector General (OIG) regarding healthcare provider's in-house compliance plan.


Clients Who Default on Payment for Medical Billing Services

Clients that won't pay...

Here is a situation medical billing freelancers, business owners, and consultants will likely encounter sooner or later: defaulting clients.

How can you protect yourself and the business?

Here are a few tips:

1.) charge a retainer
- a retainer gives you part of the money up-front, and keeps the client involved

2.) mile-stone payments (at commencement - mid-way - completion)
- even if the client defaults at the very end, at least you have most of your money

3.) never hand files over until payment is received
- let the client know ahead of time what is required, what is expected, and when the final payment is due

4.) Offer many methods of payment (cash, check, money order, various credit cards, PayPal...)
- consider a payment plan for those who need it

5.) Offer a discount for early, or pre-payment
- a special coupon, 2-5% off, or free magazines (whatever you can offer)

6.) chase a payment the moment it is due
- make your clients understand that a 30-day invoice is exactly that

I hardly do 30-day invoices any more, except as a courtesy for super reliable, already established clients.

Why??? Because Bby the time 30 days have gone by and...

* you have given it a couple extra days to make sure
* you have contacted the client
* the client has checked their records
* a new check has been issued and
* and the mail man finally delivered it could easily turn into 60 days late, and another invoice due. After learning my lessons, all my invoices are due upon receipt, or no more than 15 days.

What else? Huh
Tips about Starting a Medical Billing Business of your own.


Joining the Medical Coding Workforce

The Best Time to Get Started in Medical Coding is Now!

Why? Because the health care indusry is growing, and with President Obabma's plan for health care reform, will grow even more! Currently, the hospitals in the United States employ 5.1 million people. Furthermore, 2.8 million health services jobs are expected to open by 2010, and these positions need to be filled. And with the Patriot Employer Act of 2007, companies are encouraged to hire even more full-time employees, pay them better wages, provide health insurance, and create opportunities that benefit businesses and workers.

However, what's crazy is that a recent survey by the American Hospital Association concluded that about 18% of medical billing and coding positions remain unfilled due to a lack of qualified candidates. What does this mean to you? it means, get on the ball, sign up for a medical coding training program near you, and then, join the evergrowing workforce needed to run the expanding health care machine.


Medical Coding Salary

Why do so many employers feel they need to hide their salary range in their advertisements? Probably because they want to make sure your main focus in not so much on the money but on a long term commitment, and being happy.


Perks can come in form of reimbursement of tuition expenses, flexible working hours, 401(k) contribution, on-site daycare and health clubs, company paid training, mobile phone and/or laptop computer, paid professional membership to associations and institutes, vacation and personal holidays, paid sick-days, car parking expenses, tax deductible expenses, and the possibility of working from home. Many of these factors are intangible benefits - depending on your situation they may be very important, for example the option of working from home for a mother having small kids or a disabled family member to look after.

When responding to a post for possible employment remember that you also want to also ask about...

* any costs affiliated with such offers
* the coding qualifications required
* a coding test as part of the hiring process.

Okay, okay! But HOW MUCH can a medical coder earn? We have just posted the answer.

An Ounce of Caution on Job Search and Online Applications

On Online Job Applications

Many people are desperate for work, in these hard times, especially those wanting to do medical coding or billing.

When looking for medical coding jobs you might come across job ads for work from home positions. When checking further into these positions, you might find that these posts are actually not jobs but ads trying to sell you information on how to become a medical coder, or for booklets for sale to tell you that if you call medical offices, clinics, hospitals, or other types of health care facilities they might hire you to do their coding and billing from home.

Our advice: If you wish to work from home, don't discard offers for in-house positions! If you do well, the employer may be willing to let you telecommute (work from home) after a period of time.

Other Job Scams

On the local news, a man came to Florida and advertised he had jobs at his DME company. Anyone wishing to apply had to go to his website, apply for the job, and pay $25 upfront for a background check.

The problem: The DME company didn't exist! There were NO jobs. Over 100 people fell for this scam. Our advice: Anyone looking for a medical coding position should thoroughly check the website prior to filling out online applications. Be careful!!!

Temporary work companies (temp agencies) often do a background check on applicants for medical coding and billing jobs, but they don't ask that YOU pay for it. And remember: Medicaid requires all applicants to pay for a background check, including billing agents, but Medicaid is reliable.

More at Medical Coding and Medical Coding Jobs.

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