Home >> Alabama >> Dothan >> Medical Billing Training


Medical Billing and Coding Courses Online Dothan AL

How to Choose the Right Medical Coding Training Classes near Dothan Alabama

Dothan Alabama woman medical coder entering dataNow that you have decided to enter the healthcare profession by enrolling in a medical billing and coding school near Dothan AL, it's essential that you choose the appropriate program to ensure that you receive the proper education to ensure your success. As you no doubt know, healthcare is one of the fastest growing fields in the Country, and a growing number of options are available both on campus and online to receive the training that you need. But just where does one start? A number of aspiring students begin by looking for schools that are within travelling distance of their homes and then comparing tuition. Or they might search the internet looking for online schools and pick the least expensive one. But while location and cost are significant issues when making your selection, they should not be the sole ones when researching medical billing and coding schools. Such qualifications as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration also. We will cover a list of topics that you should ask the medical billing and coding schools you are assessing so that you can learn what you need to know before making your selection. But first, let's take a look at what medical billers and coders do.

Medical Coding Job Summary

Dothan Alabama patient health history

Medical coders work on the front line of the billing systems for Dothan AL medical practices and hospitals. They have the responsibility to review the medical records of patients and convert all services provided into universal codes. These services may be for medical, diagnosis or dental procedures, or any medical supplies or equipment used. There are various codes that are used in this conversion process, including the following:

  • CPT codes (Current Procedural Terminology).
  • ICD codes (International Classification of Diseases).
  • HCPCS codes (Healthcare Common Procedure Coding).

Medical coders use information from sources such as nursing and physician notes, patient charts, and lab and radiology reports. Coders must not only know what services were provided in total for accuracy, but must have a functioning knowledge of all private payer and government regulations that influence coding also. Inaccurately coded claims may lead to services not being paid for, services being paid at a lower rate, or the physician or facility being penalized for fraudulent or improper billing. Since improper coding can literally cost Dothan AL doctors and hospitals many thousands of dollars in income every year, a good medical coder is a necessary asset for any healthcare team. They can operate in every type of healthcare facility, including private practices, clinics, hospitals and emergency care centers. It is not unusual for professional medical coders to work at home as an independent contractor or offsite employee.

Medical Biller Job Functions

Dothan Alabama medical insurance paperwork

As important as the medical coder's function is, it would be for nothing without the collaboration of the medical biller whose efforts bring in revenue. Medical billing clerks are very important to Dothan AL healthcare organizations and are literally responsible for keeping their doors open. In many cases the coder and biller may be the same person within a medical organization, but they can also be two individual professionals. After the coder has performed her or his job, the biller uses the codes provided to fill out and submit claim forms to insurance carriers, Medicare or Medicaid. After they have been paid by the appropriate entity, patients can then be billed for deductibles and additional out of pocket expenses. On a routine basis, a medical biller can also do any of the following:

  • Verify health insurance coverages for patients and help them with billing concerns or questions
  • Check on patient claims submitted and appeal any that have been denied
  • Work as a mediator between the healthcare provider, the insurance companies and the patients for accurate claim resolution
  • Produce and control Accounts Receivables reports
  • Produce and take care of unpaid patient collections accounts

Medical billers not only work for family practices, but also Dothan AL hospitals, urgent care facilities, medical groups or nursing homes. They may practice in any kind of medical facility that relies on the revenues generated by billing patients and third party payers.

Online Medical Biller and Coder Classes

Dothan Alabama student enrolled in medical biller and coder online classesIf you are looking for convenience and the flexibility of attending classes in your home, then enrolling in an online medical billing and coding college may be a good option. They can be especially appealing to those living in Dothan AL who plan on attending school while continuing to work or have additional commitments that make going to classes on campus difficult. And as an additional benefit, online colleges are often less expensive than the traditional classroom alternatives. Expenses for such items as tuition, commuting and study materials may be minimized or eliminated. But be cautious, as not all online programs are reputable. That's why it's imperative to confirm that any online college you enroll in is accredited to guarantee a quality education. We will cover the benefits of accreditation in the next segment. Just make sure to establish that any online school you are considering is accredited by one of the national accrediting organizations, for example the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. So if you are disciplined enough to devote yourself to this mode of learning, then acquiring your certificate or degree online may be the ideal choice for you.

Things to Ask Medical Coder and Biller Schools

Now that you have a general idea what a medical coder and biller does, along with what education options are offered, you must start the process of comparing colleges. But since there a large number of training options available at community colleges and vocational, technical and trade schools within the Dothan AL area, you need to have a prepared list of questions in order to analyze each one. And when you add all of the online programs that offer medical coding and billing classes, the task can become rather formidable. As we have already covered, location and cost are going to be relevant factors, particularly if you have a modest budget and will be traveling to classes from your Dothan residence. And confirming that the program and school are accredited must be part of your vetting procedure as well. So let's take a look at some of the other questions that you should ask the colleges you are considering so that you can evaluate each one and make the best choice.

Is the Training Accredited? It's crucial that the program and college you choose are accredited by a respected accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools. If it's an online college, it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. Not only will accreditation help confirm that the training you receive will be of the highest quality, it might help with your future employment as well. A number of Dothan AL medical organizations will only employ entry level prospects that have completed an accredited medical coding and billing training course. And financial aid and student loans are frequently only available for schools that have received an accreditation.

What is the School's Reputation? Prior to selecting a medical coding and billing college, check out what its ranking and reputation are compared to other programs. This is especially relevant if you have no experience in the field, since potential employers will mostly be relying on the quality of your education. As we have addressed, confirming that the college is accredited is an initial step. Checking with school rating organizations, for example U.S. News and World Report, can confirm the quality of the school also. An alternative is to call a few Dothan AL healthcare organizations that you might be interested in working for and ask which programs they recommend. Remember that even if the college itself does not have an exceptional reputation, its medical coding and billing program may still be highly regarded.

Is there an Employment Referral Program? Finding employment in Dothan AL after graduating in your new profession may be challenging without the help of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs and what their job placement rates are. A rapid and high placement rate is an excellent indication that the coding and billing college has a substantial network of healthcare employers where they can refer their graduates. It also implies that the school's graduates are sought after in the marketplace.

Where is the College Located? If you are planning on commuting to class from your Dothan AL residence, then the location of the college will be of significant importance. Naturally if you choose an online medical billing and coding program, then the location of the college will not be important. One thing to keep in mind is that if you attend classes at a community or junior college, many charge a higher tuition for pupils that reside outside of their districts. So you may prefer to first consider those colleges that are within your local area.

What is the Total Expense? Medical coding and billing training courses can vary in cost depending on the type of credential earned and the length of training furnished. But remember, tuition is not the only expense for your education. Expenditures also include such things as the cost of books, supplies and commuting. Financial aid may be accessible to help reduce a portion of the expense, so make sure to contact the school's financial aid department to see what is available in Dothan AL. Of course if you decide to attend an online college, a portion of these additional costs, particularly for commuting may be reduced or even eliminated.

Are Classes Available that Match your Schedule? A number of students continue working while attending school and require a flexible class schedule. If you can only go to classes during the evenings or on weekends near Dothan AL, make sure that they are offered at those times. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify that the program you select provides that option. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to sickness, work or family responsibilities.

Get Info on How to Enroll in a Medical Billing Class

Enroll in the Right Dothan AL Medical Billing and Coding School 

Picking the ideal medical coding and billing certificate or degree course is a critical initial step to help assure your success in this rewarding sector of healthcare. Medical billing and medical coding are 2 of the most rapidly expanding jobs in the health industry. Because of this, there are many trade schools, junior colleges and other institutions that furnish education and training in medical coding and billing. As we have covered, you can decide to attend classes either on campus or online. It's also essential that the college you select has an accredited program with an excellent reputation within the medical care community. But however you choose to receive your training, by adhering to the previous guidelines and asking the appropriate questions, you will be better qualified to analyze your options and choose the right medical billing and coding school. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your career objective to become a medical billing and coding specialist in Dothan Alabama.