One needs to take a good deal of education and training prior to become a skilled medical coder. At first, coders must have a good basic knowledge of anatomy, physiology, biochemistry and other medical terminologies. It is also vital to become familiar with various types of insurance plans, regulations, policies, compliance and the coding community’s three well recognized coding books: CPT®, HCPCS Level II and ICD-9-CM.In addition to conveying ICD-9, CPT®, and HCPCs codes, nowadays medical coder is involved in a wide range of coding-related activities. The coder may audit the appeals of denied claims. The coder can also instruct providers and recommend the proper application of federal mandates and compliance that require healthcare providers to use standard coding and billing standards through chart audits.
After finishing education, one needs to get into an internship where he/she can learn the above things hand-in-hand. CareerBuilder.com and Indeed.com often posts those types of internship program in their website. A typical medical coder internship program includes following attributes:
- Working as part of a hospital that is based on top class patient care.
- Strong orientation and mentoring for intern employees.
- Flexible working hours: most employees work from home. Intern employees are also given a freedom to set a schedule that works better for them.
- Competitive pay package in the industry.
And in choosing intern employees prefer their grades and subject knowledge. During this internship period, students will gather skills and practical knowledge on following things:
- They will receive training on ICD-10 codes
- They will be able to practice coding from home on case studies provided by the hospital.
- They need to be on-site at the hospital premise for instruction at least once a week.
Such kind of Paid internships can be done full time (40 hours/week) from 2 weeks-3 months or part-time (20 hours/week) for about 4 weeks-6 months. Although, internship time could vary from hospital to hospital, basic things to learn and basic works to perform always are the same.
Big hospital tends to take 10-12 interns in each semester whereas small clinic or diagnostic centers usually take 1-2 coders as intern employee.
However, In order to be eligible for these opportunities, applicants must:
Hold a academic credential from accredited college or have successfully completed the core coursework of a medical coding program including Biochemistry, Microbiology, Anatomy and Physiology, Medical Terminology, and courses in ICD-9 and CPT codes;
- Have a strong GPA in their academic coding courses;
- Hold strong attention to detail and accuracy skills;
- Be on-site at the recruiting hospital premises before winter, fall or summer training session;
- Have fast and reliable internet access at home to work remotely;
- Have a very robust interest in working at this hospital upon completion of your internship program; and
- If finally hired as a medical coder role, be able to work full time (40 hours) for at least two years from date of hire.