Medical Coding in 2014: Opportunity or Challenge?

In today’s day and age investing in anything is a bit scary. The fluctuating economy has a direct impact on employment opportunities. The uncertainty of it all is enough to convince one to live out the rest of their days in a box so as to preserve the resources they already have. But even in this turbulent market there are a few areas in which there is a high chance of success. Medical coding and billing is one of these fields.

We are going to get a little complicated here as we delve into the intricacies of medical coding and billing systems, so if you are not familiar with these systems it is ok. Here is an article we wrote with general information about getting a Medical coding and billing career.

ICD-10 will be implemented in the United States of America from the 1st of October 2014. Those of you who already have training in ICD-9 will no doubt have to upgrade to ICD-10. Those who do not upgrade their training to ICD-10 are at risk of losing their job.

ICD-10 is a more specific and a more detailed system that addresses certain “bugs” that were seen in the ICD-9. Many changes have been made in the code syntax and a lot of new codes have also been added. For a complete list of differences check out the American Medical Association web page or click here.

The Challenges and Training

Since this is a big change, one is bound to be faced with certain challenges after the transition. Perhaps the most obvious challenge for medical coders and billers is that of being re-trained in order to work with ICD-10. All this will have to be done while handling a full time job. This is not going to be easy.

Financial Challenges

All the equipment that is currently being used for ICD-9 has to undergo certain technological changes in order to make it compatible with ICD-10. A special place will have to be made in the budget to cover the cost of this tech upgrade.

Productivity

Since ICD-10 is more detailed and more advanced than ICD-9, it will require a lot of practice before each coder begins to get the hang of it. Until coders become confident about using ICD-10 they will be checking and rechecking their own codes leading to a major dip in productivity.

Coordination

The transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 in itself is going to require a lot of coordination and overseeing. For the transition to be smooth, all employees have to be on the same page about every change that takes place. Teams will have to be created and certain people will have to be given a “leader” position. This will require a lot of man power and extra effort from each member of the staff.

The Immense Opportunity

All said and done, ICD-10 has a battery of differences and so upgrading is not going to be an easy task. Not just the coders but everyone in the organization is going to be affected by this change. But does this mean that you should be discouraged? Of course not! There is a major upside to this transition.

  1. It is estimated that the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 will open up close to 38,000 new jobs.
  2. An average medical coder and biller can earn up to $40,000 a year, which if you ask me, is a pretty decent sum.
  3. Medical coding and billing is a job that can be done in any part of the world. If you were to relocate, you need not fear unemployment.
  4. The ICD-10 being an international standard, you would not need to do any sort of refreshers course (as opposed to many other professions) should you choose to migrate.
  5. With Career Step Corporate Training, you can get ICD-10-CM (diagnosis) training in as little as 12 weeks and ICD-10-PCS (inpatient) training in no more than 16 weeks.

With a little bit of planning and effort on the part of each institution, the transition can prove to be rather smooth. There is still plenty of time before ICD-10 is implemented so it is a good idea to avoid procrastinating and be on the ball with the whole situation. So if you are looking for a secure future, with a decent pay plus plenty of health benefits, I would say that getting ICD-10 training is an excellent option for you.

– Guest post by Emily Bates

Medical Field

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