The health care industry continues to expand at a rapid pace and that has raised the demand for all kinds of new workers. Medical billers and coders are part of that group as each of those positions is in high demand all across the country. There are several ways to get started in the medical billing and coding profession, which means a future in the health care industry could be right around the corner.
General Overview of a Medical Coder and Biller
Health care facilities have their own way of billing patients for their services. Medical billers put together itemized lists that contain all of the services provided to a patient. These services are represented by codes and the actual bills are referred to as claims. Before these claims are sent out to patients or third-party billing companies, a medical biller prepares them and ensures they are accurate.
In the process, Washington medical billers use medical billing software and also sort through their share of paperwork. That requires medical billers to possess strong organizational skills in addition to being computer proficient.
Washington medical billers also respond to patient inquiries and deal directly with insurance companies. There are many occasions when claims are disputed or denied and it is up to medical billers to communicate why that happened. For that reason, medical billers in Washington have good verbal skills and are capable of providing excellent customer service. The job of a medical biller involves both clerical and communicative responsibilities.
Medical coders in Washington are responsible for supplying the codes that are used on claims. This is done by taking medical reports, notes, documents, and transcriptions and turning them into the appropriate codes. Medical coders actually translate all of that information into codes, relying on their extensive knowledge of coding. This requires a close attention to detail and a mastery of the numerous medical codes as well as the ICD (International Classification of Diseases).
Medical coders in Washington rarely ever deal with patients and occasionally have to consult with physicians, in the event that there is some uncertainty about a service. Medical coders are independent works and can deliver on firm deadlines. Medical coders also need little supervision and usually work in an office setting.
Both medical billers and coders in Washington have a broad knowledge of medical terminology. Each of these professionals also adhere to HIPPA and confidentiality guidelines. Medical billing and coding are separate jobs, although one individual can perform both duties.
Washington License Requirements
In the state of Washington, medical billers and coders are not required to hold a license. That means there is no application process or annual fees. Medical billers and coders in Washington are free to work in any hospital, medical center, physician’s office or any other type of health care facility without having to provide any license.
Job Prospects and Potential Pay
The average salary for a Washington medical biller and coder stands at $43,720 per year. The highest reported salaries for Washington medical billers and coders are some of the highest in the nation. Experienced medical billers and coders in Washington have the potential to make upwards of $62,560 annually. Washington is currently home to a relatively high number of medical billers and coders and that number is expected to increase by 16% in the next decade.
Washington cities with medical billing and coding education institutions: Bremerton, Mount Vernon, Longview, Everett, Yakima, Aberdeen, Vancouver, Pasco, Des Moines, and Port Angeles.
Top Washington cities/areas for medical billing and coding careers: Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma, Bremerton, Silverdale, Vancouver, Olympia, Kennewick, Anacortes, Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland.
A few potential employers of medical billers and coders in Washington:
- Washington State Hospital Association
- Providence Health Services
- St. Joseph Medical Center
- Providence St. Peter Hospital
- Naval Hospital Bremerton Hospital
- Seattle Children’s Hospital
- St. Francis Hospital
- MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital
Washington Medical Billing and Coding Certification Requirements
Medical billing and coding jobs are offered according to the criteria set by each hiring health care facility. Requirements differ among each facility, although some kind of training is almost always required. Proof of that training is evidenced through a medical billing and coding certificate or degree.
Certificate programs are issued by post-secondary schools and take anywhere from six months to a year to complete. Medical billing and coding are combined into one curriculum in these certificate programs. It is also important to ensure that the post-secondary school is accredited, or else a certificate could be dismissed by a health care facility looking to hire medical billers or coders.
Another option exists in via the college route. An Associate’s Degree of Applied Science in medical billing and coding combines both disciplines into one comprehensive curriculum. This option typically takes two years to complete when students are enrolled on a full-time basis.
Both degree and certificate programs focus on subjects such as anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, diagnosis coding, procedural coding and other areas related to each job. National examinations are also offered by organizations, such as the AHIMA (American Health Information Management Association) or the AAPC (American Academy of Professional Coders). The certifications offered by these organizations are individual ones issued to either a medical biller or coder. Some health care facilities recommend earning one of these certifications and training at an accredited post-secondary school or college will prepare candidates to take these exams.
Meeting Education Requirements
Throughout the state of Washington, a high school diploma or GED equivalency is generally required to begin a medical billing and coding education. Each post-secondary school has the right to set its own admissions standards. Those standards typically demand a minimum of a high school diploma or GED. Either of those provide students with a foundation for the coursework they will be required to complete during their medical billing and coding education.
Browse through the current job listings for medical billers in Washington on this website and apply online.
Take a look at the medical coding jobs currently available in the state of Washington as they are differentiated by area.
The WSHIMA is a branch of the nationally-renowned AHIMA and provides a host of resources for medical millers and coders in Washington.
This state organization features a variety of useful information for medical billers and coders.