How to Become a Medical Billing & Coding Specialist in New York
Many people who enter the healthcare industry do jobs that require hands-on patient care, such as nursing, dental assisting, respiratory therapy, and EMT work.
Others choose to help with daily operations around the medical facility by taking on clerical roles like medical billing and coding.
Those with exceptional attention to detail, problem-solving, and bookkeeping skills are often a perfect fit for medical billing and coding jobs in New York.
Education and Training
Those wondering how to become a medical biller and coder in New York must complete an accredited training program before they can start applying for the role.
Gaining the Necessary Skills
Most aspiring billers and coders enroll in two-year community college courses to learn the necessary skills for either job. However, some New York trade schools offer certificate programs that students can complete in one year or less.
Medical billing and coding schools in NY might also combine both medical billing and coding programs, allowing students to earn both credentials at the same time. Classes typically cover topics like:
- Medical Terminology
- Revenue Cycle Management
- Health Insurance and Reimbursement
- Clinical Documentation Improvement
- Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, TRICARE, and Worker’s Compensation
Learning Classification Systems
Those planning to pursue medical billing and coding in NY will also need to learn to use specific classification systems for medical coding. Each institution has a different curriculum, but most schools teach one of the following systems:
- The International Classification of Disease, 11th Revision (ICD-11)
- The International Classification of Disease, 10th Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-10-CM)
- The International Classification of Disease, 10th Revision, Procedure Coding System (ICD-10-PCS)
- The Current Procedural Terminology/Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (CPT)/(HCPCS)
Programs also include classes on medical office procedures, pathology and pharmacology, and using digital medical records software. Communication courses also help medical billers and coders interact with patients, medical care providers, medical records techs, insurance companies, and each other.
New York Medical Billing and Coding Requirements
Applicants who complete an accredited degree or certificate program can qualify for medical billing and coding jobs in New York.
Possess an Official Certification
However, most employers prefer to hire candidates who have an official certification. A medical billing and coding license can also make it easier to find higher-paying positions in the industry.
Medical Billing and Coding Certification Agencies
Medical billers and coders in New York usually apply for their licenses through one of the following certifying agencies:
- The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)
- The New York Health Information Management Association (NYHIMA)
- The American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC)
Certification Exam Eligibility Requirements
Each of these organizations has its own eligibility requirements that candidates must meet before they can apply to take the certification exam to earn their medical billing and coding credentials.
Generally speaking, applicants must at least have a high school diploma or GED and submit official transcripts from their medical billing and coding trade school program.
Exam Fees and Registration
You’ll need to pay an application fee and register to complete your exam online or at a local testing site. Those who earn a passing score on their exams will receive an official certified medical billing and coding specialist (CBCS) credential.
Specialized Billing and Coding Licenses
Those looking for specialized or advanced billing or coding credentials can also take exams to obtain the following licenses:
- Certified Coding Specialist-Physician Based (CCS-P)
- Certified Inpatient/Outpatient Coder (CIC)/(COC)
- Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT)
- Certified Risk Adjustment Coder (CRC)
Medical Billing and Coding Salaries in NY
Although the average medical billing and coding salary in New York State is about $58,114 per year, professionals in this field can make as much as $74,361, depending on their experience and where they live. Check the list below to learn the average annual earnings for medical billers and coders in NY.
- Long Island $63,545
- Syracuse $49,006
- New York City $64,494
- Albany $50,400
- Yonkers $56,968
- Buffalo $51,437
Medical billing and coding pay rates also vary across different employers. For example, private clinics might pay medical billers and coders more than they would make at a hospital or government-funded nursing facility.
Candidates with an associate’s degree and official CBCS credentials may also be able to negotiate a higher salary when applying for medical billing and coding jobs in New York.
What Do They Do?
Generally speaking, medical billers and coders are responsible for ensuring that each employee in a medical facility, including the doctors, nurses, EKG technicians, medical and nursing assistants, and even the housekeeping staff and patient transporters, get paid.
Medical Billing vs Coding
Although most facilities hire one person to perform this task, medical billing and coding are actually two separate duties.
Coders begin the process by analyzing a patient’s medical records, which include the patient’s health history and each test, medication, or procedure they received while at the medical facility.
Using the standardized classification system for their location, coders apply the appropriate diagnosis code, service code, or medical hardware code to each exam, treatment, and medicine the patient received.
Next, the medical biller views the coder’s data to calculate the cost of the patient’s medical care. Duties for medical billers typically include:
- Communicating with healthcare providers and insurance companies to get pre-authorization for certain treatments and procedures
- Going over the coder’s report with the healthcare provider and coder to ensure accuracy and work out any disagreements or discrepancies about the level of care
- Submit reimbursement claims for the facility’s services
- Add any uncovered medical costs to the patient’s bill
- Work with patients to set up affordable payment plans as needed
According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for qualified medical billing and coding professionals in the United States is likely to increase by about seven percent over the next ten years. Experts predict that medical billers and coders will have roughly 14,900 job openings per year to become available to choose from between 2021 and 2031.