About Medical Coding at Home

By Liisa Sullivan

  • Overview

    Medical coding is a good job to consider if you want to work from home. In today's economy, many doctors' offices are outsourcing their medical coding and this is where you can benefit. Medical coders are responsible for coding procedures and diagnoses to ensure that physicians get paid for their services from insurance companies. The codes must accurately match the services performed.
    • Step 1

      Understand that you must be willing to make an investment in some time and money. Medical coding is not a field that you can simply jump into without any education. However, if you are willing to make a minimal investment of money and time, it may prove very profitable down the line. The U.S. Department of Labor predicts that the medical coding field will grow faster than expected from now until the year 2014. This is due, in part, to the rapid growth of the medical industry, longer life spans and more procedures and tests that are available to the public.
    • Step 2

      Research education options. A good place to start is with the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC). This organization provides coding credentials to medical coders in physician office and outpatient facilities. If you decide to become a member, there is a fee of $120 and you are then eligible to begin taking online coding classes at a discounted student rate. There is a final exam which needs to be passed. At this point, you will receive the coding credentials of CPC-A which stands for coding professional certificate--apprentice. ou may also wish to check with your local college to see if medical coding classes and exams for certification are available.


    • Step 3

      Know that once you have passed the test and received the credentials, the AAPC is a good place to continue to seek support. The organization has job postings, ongoing training and more. It can be a great resource for new coders. Or, you may also wish to research some books that can guide you through the process. One such example is the "Medical Coding Career Guide."
    • Step 4

      Now that you are armed and ready to begin your career, you may want to talk to an accountant about incorporating your business. An accountant will be able to guide you on the best way to set up your home-based business. He will also get you on a quarterly program for paying taxes and more.
    • Step 5

      Set up your home office. You will need a computer with high-speed Internet, fax and probably two phone lines--one for home and one for business. You will also want to research medical coding software. Medical coding software will help you to code accurately and to remain in compliance. You will also need a series of medical coding books--primarily CPT, ICD-9 and HCPCS. Again, the AAPC is a good source and will let you know exactly what publications you will need. Finally, once you have retained some clients, you may wish to invest in building a website for your business.
    • Skill: Challenging

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