Interview With One Of Today's Top Medical Billing Professionals

Meet A Real Life Medical Biller & Coder
Bobby Ray is a Medical Biller and Coder from Seattle, WA. He earned his degree in Health Care Administration: Medical Billing & Coding from Kaplan University Online in 2006 and has been working for a physician’s office in Ballard for 6 years now. Bobby works a standard 40-hour week and lives with his wife Olga and son in Ballard, near his office.

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We caught up with Bobby to ask him a few questions about his job, his degree and what he sees for the future of the Medical Billing and Coding industry. First, tell us why you chose to get your degree in Medical Billing & Coding?

Bobby: I had studied two years of business administration but my job prospects were not looking as good as I had hoped. I did not have much direction, and felt that I needed to find a degree with a better focus on finding a specific career when I graduated.

Another reason was that I was watching many of my friends and family work very hard to earn a decent living in the business world, while a friend of mine who had gone into health care was working a standard 40-hour workweek and still earning a great living with benefits and plenty of time for his family. So personal time is important to you? Were you looking for a career that allowed you to spend a good amount of time with your family?

Bobby: I had just gotten married and we were getting ready to start a family. I wanted to be sure that I was able to find a job where I had a good salary, good benefits for my entire family, and to know that I was going to have time to spend with them. One great thing about the medical billing and coding career choice is that you work Monday through Friday, as the health insurance industry is not open on the weekends. For this reason, there is not a big requirement for overtime. This was important to me, as someone who finds it important to spend time at home with my family. So what was your degree like? What were some of the most difficult parts about getting your degree?

Bobby: Well, I spent two years at a traditional campus university before beginning my degree at Kaplan… (in medical billing and coding). I found that the online classes were better for me, as I prefer to learn in my own environment. I did take a few courses, since Kaplan has a number of campus locations in Oregon, but most of my courses were online. I was also able to continue my job at the time while I was earning my degree, which allowed me to continue to take care of my family, as well as be home for my wife when our son was born.

The courses were very straightforward. I was given all the materials I needed and was able to learn at my own pace. I followed the online lectures and if I had a question at any time, there was always someone to email or even send messages via instant message. The professors were very helpful and I was able to gain a great deal of knowledge about the career before beginning my job. I also did an internship toward the end of my studies, which allowed me the hands-on training that not only taught me how to do the job, but also ensured that I enjoyed this career choice. Tell us what an average day would be like for you?

Bobby: Well, I arrive to work at 8:00, as the office opens at this time. I will generally put my coding system in order, and then review the billing statements prepared the day before. I am both a medical biller and a medical coder. Many larger offices will have a separate person for each function, but I work in a smaller office. There are only 4 physicians, so I am able to complete the tasks of both a medical biller and coder.

Next I will check in with each nurse to find out what type of patients we will have this day. This will allow me to get a head start on any research I may need to do regarding coding for specific tasks the doctors or nurses may have performed. Next, I will review all billing before it goes out to the parties responsible for payment to insure they are all correct. By the afternoon, I will have received a number of new physician reports to code. So your day is somewhat predictable? Do you ever get stressed out?

Bobby: Generally no, my training allows me to complete my work quickly and efficiently. The job is challenging, but I would not say stressful. I work 8am to 4pm, and rarely have to work additional hours. My family time is important to me and I make sure to be there for dinner each night. I have also had the personal time to complete many of my hobbies at home and with my family. So besides your average workday, what else do you enjoy?

Bobby: My wife and I enjoy spending time with our son Patrick. I also enjoy surfing when the waves are as peaky as I like, and I recently built a music studio in my basement. I enjoy painting and taking my dog Moosie for walks.