Medical billing and coding has traditionally been done on site at the facility where medical services are provided. However for various reasons it is sometimes more economical for healthcare providers to outsource their medical billing and coding to a third party. This can be because:
- The medical provider is too small to hire additional employees
- The provider wants to save on personnel costs
- The medical provider cannot find a billing and coding professional who is versed in the type of coding or procedures it performs
- The medical provider wants to avoid certain liabilities
From the billing and coding professional’s perspective, there are also several reasons that would impact the decision to work for a remote third party rather than directly for a healthcare provider. Often a billing and coding professional will prefer to work from home and set his or her own hours, an option made available by the present day’s advances in technology which allows a patient’s personal healthcare information and associated medical procedures to be securely emailed or faxed.
Remote medical coding professionals can work for companies that can range in size from a few employees to large clearinghouses, or even as independent contractors. This kind of flexibility is one of the main reasons remote billing and coding is becoming more popular.
Medical Billing and Coing as a Remote Contractor – What to Expect
As a remote billing and coding professional working as an independent contractor or employee of a third-party business, chances are that there will be work coming in from many different sources. The type of work to expect and schedule depend on the business arrangement.
For independent contractors, these billing and coding professionals will need to have excellent time management and organizational skills. This latter is especially true in this industry, as having several different clients with an even greater number of patient medical procedures to code means good organization is a must. Independent contractors will also need to have a business model and a means of advertising their trade to attract new customers and grow.
Working as a remote billing and coding professional with a clearinghouse is a completely different experience. If the third party coding business is large, the professional may be assigned to one specific area of medical billing and coding. In these cases it is essential that the coding professional have a strong knowledge of the medical procedures and the associated codes in their area of focus. If the clearinghouse is smaller, the billing and coding professional may need to have a general knowledge of all billing and coding areas, especially those for the most commonly performed medical procedures.
Depending on the type of arrangement, the billing and coding professional will either submit their finished product to the original medical care provider, or may submit the coded material directly to an insurance company for reimbursement.
Preparing for Remote Contractor Billing and Coding Careers
Knowledge of a specialized and less-common billing and coding field can be advantageous for the professional because oftentimes a healthcare provider will outsource its billing and coding work if it does not have the particular expertise in-house. Conversely, it is always good if a billing and coding professional has a solid foundation in their entire field, especially in the most common medical procedures.
Having relevant certification, education, and experience in the medical billing and coding field is always recommended. As the niche of remote billing expands, professionals providing this service are advised to reach for any credentials that will distinguish them from their competition.