Making the right career choice is an important move. That’s why it is important to choose a profession that is going to be in demand for years to come. Medical billing and coding professionals are part of a growing health care industry that is showing no signs of slowing down. The path to becoming a medical biller and coder can start right away and allows newly-trained professionals to get a fast start on a rewarding career.
General Overview of a Medical Biller
Medical billers are classified differently from medical coders. While the two are often grouped together, each is a completely different job. Medical billers in Tennessee ensure that patient bills, also called claims, are entirely accurate before being sent out.
That begins with including the appropriate codes. Once the claims are checked for accuracy, they are sent to insurance companies and the responsible payers. Medical billers then follow up with claims in the event they are unpaid, denied or disputed. Tennessee medical billers often act as a type of facilitator between patients and insurance companies.
Those tasks demand that Tennessee medical billers be able to communicate effectively. Due to the diverse nature of the job, medical billers need to be able to multi-task on a daily basis. Medical billing software is used when producing these claims which means medical billers also possess good computer skills.
Medical billers may even be asked to refer patients to collections or initiate payment plans. There are a wide variety of assignments, which demands that medical billers be capable of adapting to various situations over the course of a workday.
General Overview of a Medical Biller
Medical coders in Tennessee are counted on to ensure that healthcare facilities are adequately compensated for their services. This occurs through the translation of medical services into medical codes. Physician reports, consultation notes, and medical transcriptions provide medical coders with the information used in this kind of translation. Every medical service provided to a patient is represented by a code and it is up to a medical coder to assign that correct code.
The codes are then used on claims to represent all of the services performed on a patient. For that reason, medical coders in Tennessee need to be extremely accurate when assigning codes. The medical billing process relies heavily on medical coders and that requires a firm command of the coding system.
Medical coders do not deal with customer service as their work can be done in the privacy of an office or cubicle. Medical coders are also detail-oriented and review documents for accuracy. This requires a keen eye and close attention to detail.
Tennessee Medical Billing and Coding Certification Requirements
The pathway to becoming a medical biller and coder generally lies through a training program. These programs are offered by post-secondary schools and colleges. The shorter of the two exist in a certification program. Community colleges, technical schools, vocational institutes and training centers provide medical billing and coding certification programs, which can last anywhere from six months to a year.
These programs teach medical billers and coders everything they need to know for a future in this profession. That includes medical terminology, healthcare documentation, anatomy and physiology, medical coding and much more. The same subjects are also taught in colleges that offer an Associate Degree of Applied Science in Medical Billing and Coding. Full-time students average two years of schooling to earn this kind of degree.
A certification or degree is important because that is what employers look for in the hiring process. Tennessee has set no formal hiring guidelines for medical billers and coders, which means that it is up to the discretion of each healthcare facility. A certification or degree provides proof that an applicant has the necessary skills to begin working as a medical billing or coding professional in Tennessee.
Certifications are also offered by national organizations like the AHIMA (American Health Information Management Association). Previous training in some type of program will be needed to pass this type of comprehensive examination. Some healthcare facilities require national certifications and upon the completion of a certification program or Associate’s Degree, individuals can register to take a national exam.
Job Prospects and Potential Pay
An average medical billing and coding salary in Tennessee checks in at $35,000 per year. There are others who exceed that mark as experienced medical billers and coders can make up to $52,650 annually in Tennessee. There is plenty of room for advancement as new medical billing and coding jobs are opening up all over the state at a record pace. In each of the next few years, there is expected to be close to a 6% job growth for medical billers and coders in Tennessee. By the year 2024, those jobs are expected to increase by 29%.
Tennessee cities with medical billing and coding education institutions: Jackson, Nashville, Clarksville, Morristown, Knoxville, Memphis, Madison, and Murfreesboro.
Top Tennessee cities/areas for medical billing and coding careers: Chattanooga, Memphis, Nashville, Davidson, Murfreesboro, Franklin, Johnson City, Knoxville, Clarksville, Jackson, Kingsport, Morristown, and Bristol.
A few potential employers of medical billers and coders in Tennessee:
- Baptist Memorial Hospital
- East Tennessee Children’s Hospital
- TriStar Centennial Medical Center
- Methodist South Hospital
- Methodist Le Bonheur Germantown Hospital
- Saint Thomas Health
- Holston Valley Medical Center
- Camden General Hospital
- Mountain States Health Alliance
- North Crest Medical Center
- Macon County General Hospital
Meeting Education Requirements
Starting out on an educational path to becoming a medical biller and coder typically requires a high school diploma or GED equivalency. This is not only required by most post-secondary schools, but it also provides a foundation for what students are expected to learn in a medical billing and coding educational program.
Tennessee State License Requirements
There is no state-issued license given to Tennessee medical billers and coders. Certifications do not count as a license and while recommended, they are also not mandated by the state. There is no need for medical billers to present a license at any time while working in a Tennessee hospital, medical center, nursing home, or any other type of healthcare facility.
Learn more about all of the medical coding jobs currently available in Tennessee.
This website provides a long list of resources in the area of health information.
The current medical billing job openings in Tennessee are listed on this website.
This state-operated website provides important health information for the entire state of Tennessee.
Take a look at all of the resources offered by the medical association of Tennessee.