When considering their employment prospects, most medical billing and coding professionals will think about the top three employers in this field:
- Medical and surgical hospitals
- Physician offices
- Skilled nursing facilities
Seldom do people think about one of the largest employers in the world: the United States federal government. Actually, through its many branches the federal government offers numerous employment opportunities for billing and coding professionals. This includes at the following federal agencies:
- Indian Health Service
- US Army Medical Command
- Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration
- US Air Force
- Federal Bureau of Prisons
- Army National Guard
Medical Billing and Coding with the Federal Government
Each agency has its own specific job description that may include duties outside the traditional scope of medical billing and coding. These professionals can be classified according to several job titles, including:
- Medical Records Technician (Coder)
- Medical Technician
- Medical Records Technician/Coder
- Medical Records Technician (Health Information Technician)
- Health Technician
- Medical Records Administrator
All billing and coding jobs with the federal government can be found on one website: USA Jobs. While many may accuse the federal government of being inefficient, finding a career on this website is easy. A recent search for vacancies revealed 43 job vacancies, with some of these hiring for multiple employees.
Federal Billing and Coding Job Requirements
Jobs with these federal agencies are usually only open to US citizens, and any additional requirements will be specified on the job announcement. One of the most common employers is the Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration. Candidates who want to be a Medical Records Technician (Coder) with the VA will generally need to meet at least one of the following requirements:
- Two years of work experience as a medical billing and coding professional
- An associate’s degree in Medical Record Technology or Health Information Technology from an educational program accredited by AHIMA (American Health Information Management Association)
- An equivalent combination of education and work experience
Billing and Coding Technology with Federal Jobs
Medical billing and coding professionals who have experience with technological developments like Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are likely to find their skills in demand going forward with federal jobs in the future.
Recently the Department of Defense announced it was soliciting bids for a company to award its Healthcare Management System Modernization contract. Worth approximately $11 billion, this project will modernize the Military Health System in an attempt to improve efficiency and care. Scheduled to be awarded in June of 2015, some of the top names in electronic health records and software development have joined forces to make a competitive proposal.
This modernization points towards the growing importance and need for medical billing and coding professionals who are well versed in the latest technological developments. It also follows the trend established by the 2009 HITECH Act, or Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, which established an incentive program for medical service providers to switch to using EHRs over more inefficient paper and non-digital health records.