A hospital or any medical practice relies heavily on individuals, algorithms and experts to keep the ship afloat and maintain logistical decorum. There are several papers, documents and data that a medical practice needs to keep organized to keep running smoothly. In addition to that, medical practices also require efficient management of people, including the various parties that come together to make a practice run, as well as the patients and their families. A medical biller is a professional who is responsible for managing many of these duties. Medical bills are complex documents that need to be maintained so that hospitals can coordinate with insurance companies and follow up on claims.
What Does A Medical Billing Certification Mean?
A medical billing certification is a professional acknowledgment that an individual can be hired by a hospital or medical practice to work in the billing department. It requires a lot of logistical know-how and does involve working with software and various types of algorithms. Medical billing will also require coordination with insurance companies and following up with claims, as well as claims disputes. With a medical billing certification, you will be able to negotiate a much higher salary than what a professional without the certificate would be offered. This is a competitive industry where the work is extremely hard and the compensation is not enough. The more you qualify yourself for the job, the more you can negotiate a higher salary.
Are All Certifications The Same?
No, all certifications are certainly not the same. There are some certification exams that are considered much superior to others and have greater value in the industry. The price of such certifications may also be accordingly higher. The following are some of the best certification courses you can consider.
Best Medical Billing Certifications
ExpertRating—Online Medical Billing Certification
If you are looking to work in healthcare as a medical biller, formal certification is a must. Even if you have experience as a medical biller, it would be desirable for future progress in your career to get professionally certified. A certification from a reputed organization or body will also allow you to negotiate for a higher salary.
This course is delivered online and will equip you with all the skills a medical biller requires, such as submitting bills to insurance companies, following up on those claims and also managing claim disputes. Your main job will also be to maintain patient records, which this course will enable you to do with greater efficiency.
The course will include important lessons on medical billing and coding procedures, including case studies and possible situations you may have to handle. You will also be acquainted with the medical billing software most commonly used at hospitals. This is more than enough background for you to embark on a career as a medical biller.
American Academy of Professional Coders—Certified Professional Biller
The American Academy of Professional Coders offers the Certified Professional Biller program is a course that will prepare medical billers to maintain and organize all paperwork and patient records required in the revenue cycle. The program will prepare applicants for various situations and train them to submit claims in keeping with government regulations and private parties.
To sit for the AAPC examination, you need to be a member of the association. You also need an overall percentage of 70 to clear the exam. The proctored exam has 200 multiple choice questions and you will be given 5 hours and 40 minutes to complete the exam. If you do not clear the exam, you will be allowed one retake within one year of your first attempt.
The topics the exam will cover include types of insurance, coding, billing, case analysis, HIPAA & compliance, etc. You can take a look at the approved exam manuals here.
California State University (Bakersfield)—Medical Coding and Billing Certificate
The Medical Coding and Billing Certificate offered by California State University (Bakersfield) is delivered online and can be completed in approximately six months. The program has 640 hours of instruction and will be covering topics like Health Information Management, Healthcare Delivery Systems, Medical Terminology, Anatomy and Physiology, Introduction to Coding, etc.
Though the course is typically completed within 4-6 months of full-time study, the university offers up to a year to students to complete the program. If once the year is complete, you still require more time, there are four additional months for you to purchase from the university.
The online format will include tests and quizzes, interactions with the instructor, readings, assignments, as well as discussion boards, etc.
American Medical Billing Association—Certified Medical Reimbursement Specialist Exam
The American Medical Billing Association offers the Certified Medical Reimbursement Specialist Exam, clearing which is one of the most prestigious and coveted achievements for a medical biller. The main draw of AMBA is the exam, however, you can purchase the study guide separately and prepare on your own.
The exam is conducted online through AMBA’s Learning Management System. It will test a biller’s reaction to certain situations more than their ability to remember details. This is a unique exam that is an open book one and can be completed over 45 days. There are different sections and you can review each of them before submission. Your final score will be available as soon as you complete and submit the exam. The certificate will be valid for a year and a new certification will be sent each year once you have completed the recertification process. You will be permitted free retakes but only after a waiting period of 30 days.
National Healthcare Association—Certified Billing & Coding Specialist
Becoming a Certified Billing & Coding Specialist from the National Healthcare Association is slightly more complex than other bodies or associations. To begin with, you will need to see if you are eligible to take the certification exam. The website will present you with a short list of questions. Based on your answers, the Association will let you know whether you qualify. This candidate handbook has relevant information about eligibility.
If you are eligible, you will set up your account with NHA and then apply and schedule your exam. You may have to pay a registration fee at this stage. Once your application is done, you will need to prepare for your CBCS exam. The association offers a free test plan to help you prepare. If you think you require more aid, you can take a look at the study guides at the NHA store. This is one of the most prestigious exams for a medical biller to clear and certainly makes you more valuable in the profession and for potential employers.
Parting Words: Best Medical Billing Certifications
A medical biller is the backbone of a hospital or medical practice. Without such a professional, the administration side of a hospital will come crashing down. By becoming as qualified as you can be, in addition to acquiring experience, you will be able to make yourself indispensable to organizations. There are several medical billers that work without certification, but those who are certified certainly have more perks at the negotiation table.