Deciding to become a medical billing consultant is a very wise choice, as there will always be work for you. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, virtually all positions in the medical field are set to grow phenomenally in the next decade due to the increase of the baby-boomers requiring more medical attention, and this includes those on the administrative side too. Where there is medical treatment there will be medical bills, ergo you will be sought after as a medical billing consultant.
A medical billing consultant needs to have some very specific skills such as being able to maintain a high level of professionalism at all times, and they must be efficient and effective in communicating with physicians, hospital staff and patients at all times. They are required to be able to work independently or as part of a larger team, be able to meet deadlines, organized and must also have excellent project management skills.
A high school qualification or GED equivalent is required. Although there are no set educational requirements for this position, one does need to have a certain amount of knowledge about the human body and medical terminology. It is also important that you know what the various medical codes are and how to use them.
Although you can start work as a medical billing consultant with nothing more than a high-school education, it is recommended that you do study further if you intend on making medical billing your career.
There are various ways of doing this:
- Certificate Program – this is a basic course which is aimed at an individual with no previous medical experience and takes 6 to 9 months to complete. The medical billing training given will cover enough of the basics of coding, billing and insurance reimbursement, keyboard skills, medical law and ethics, office procedures and medical terminology to enable you to get an entry-level job in the medical billing consultant field.
- Diploma – The diploma program is the intermediate course of study, and takes between 9 months and a year to complete, and concentrates more on the procedures and the nuances of healthcare billing. You will be educated in office procedures, human anatomy, basic keyboard skills, CPT, ICD, & HCPCS coding, billing and insurance reimbursement, medical terminology, medical law and ethics, and various other disciplines.
- Associate’s Degree – Although getting a degree is not required by law, it is recommended, as most of the larger institutions prefer to employ a medical billing consultant who has an associate degree, as their insurers may insist on this. This is a 2-year degree which will teach you basic keyboard skills, billing and insurance reimbursement, advanced billing and reimbursement, office procedures, medical terminology, career planning, fine arts or humanities, social sciences, mathematics, medical ethics and law, human anatomy and communication, amongst other subjects. The associates program prepares you to take the certification examination offered by either the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) or the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). If your goal is to work for a big institution or to start your own medical billing consultant business, then this is the medical billing training that you should do.
- CMBP Online Medical Billing Training – there is an online training program called the Certified Medical Billing Professional Program. It is a comprehensive program which will educate you in everything you need to know in order to become a medical billing consultant, and lasts between 3 to 6 months. Course material includes an introduction to medical billing, office forms, understanding coding, life cycle of insurance claims, how to operate a medical coding and billing business, how to use the billing/practice management software, marketing, calculations, and various other subjects. The program offers not only academic instruction via the internet, but will also give you hands-on training via their fully functional medical billing software program.
If you want to become a professional medical billing consultant, then it is incumbent on you to get some specific qualifications or credentials that will prove your competence in the field:
- The Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) Credential – This is a certification that is available from various groups including the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), and will go along way to improve your chances of being accepted as a professional medical billing consultant.
- The Commission for Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management (CAHIIM) – This credential is very useful to have, as are other medical billing qualifications such as the Certified Tumor Registrar qualification.
There are also many other qualifications that you can get, such as the Workers’ Compensation qualification, or you can also specialize in certain types of medical billing such as pediatric medical billing or surgical billing, or whatever other type of billing that you would prefer to do as a medical billing consultant.
It is not necessary to wait until you have completed a qualification in medical billing to start work. Many medical billing consultants started off as general administrative assistants in hospitals or medical physicians’ offices. No matter what department you work in, and even if you are on a rotation within a hospital or other medical facility, you can study part-time and gain a huge amount of hands-on experience whilst studying. Applying what you learn on your medical billing program to your everyday work and vice versa is a great way to gain hands-on experience whilst studying. Although only some of the skills are “cross-practice” any and all experience will stand you in good stead further down the line in your career as a medical billing consultant.
As you can see from the above information, it is not difficult to become a medical billing consultant, all it really takes is a desire to become one and the will to follow through with what it takes to enter the profession. If you really want to become a medical billing consultant then there are many ways that you can achieve your dreams, so do not wait any longer, find a course that suits your personal circumstances and enroll today.