Learn About Medical Billing and Coding Outside of School
Although medical billing and coding is a complex profession, you don’t have to leave it in the classroom when you head home or log out from your online courses for medical billing and coding.
You will find the following page of resources to be useful in your studies and in your professional development as a medical billing and coding specialist. What follows are resources, ranging from scholarly journals and professional associations to Twitter feeds and book recommendations, to guide your further readings in medical billing and coding.
These lists have been hand-curated and put together to feature the best resources available on the web. But, you should treat everything only as a starting point for your own explorations into medical billing and coding.
Discover Medical Billing and Coding Professional Associations
Associations listed here are helpful for your to learn how industry veterans are talking about medical coding and medical billing related issues. Given the highly operational nature of medical billing and coding many of them cover the subject in detail.
American Association of Professional Coders – Established in 1988
AAPC’s purpose is to educate and certify medical coders in order to build up the level of skill and quality in the field. Since their founding, they have expanded greatly into providing certifications using exams based on standards developed by professional medical coders, including specialist certifications in over twenty branches of coding. Anyone may become a member, and there are special rates for students. Membership is necessary to be a certified member and to keep track of continuing education in the field. AAPC offers a wide range of opportunities for keeping your skills fresh with continuing education, which they require of anyone they have certified.
American Health Information Management Association – Established in 1928
Originally founded as the Association of Record Librarians of North America, AHIMA’s original mission was to “elevate the standards of clinical records in hospitals and other medical institutions.” It has modified its mission as the importance of information technology in medicine has grown. AHIMA also hosts the Commission on Certification for Health Informatics and Information Management (CCHIIM), which supervises a wide variety of certification programs. Membership is open to anyone, with a discounted membership for students seeking a medical billing and coding degree at a program recognized by AHIMA. AHIMA also offers some of the most prominent merit scholarships in the field, with awards for all levels of degree-seeking students.
Association of Registered Health Care Professionals – Established in 1990
ARHCP focuses on providing training to aspiring health professionals in a wide range of careers and has several study aids available for purchase. It also offers independent-study programs that can lead to a certification issued by the ARHCP. ARHCP’s training and credentialing programs come with access to an instructor to assist you with any questions about the independent-study materials. ARCHP also has a variety of recorded lectures and online courses, which can provide you with continuing education or keep you abreast of new developments in the field, such as the impending switch to ICD-10.
American Medical Billing Association – Established in 1998
AMBA is the provider of a certification in medical billing and offers a great deal of support to small businesses and firms that want to specialize in, or seek assistance in conducting, medical billing. AMBA was founded in Oklahoma with a specific focus on third-party medical billing services, although their membership and their mission has expanded since then to include private individuals and larger firms. In addition to providing a variety of professional contacts, AMBA offers free web-based seminars on a regular basis, which are informative and can be used to meet continuing education requirements.
Healthcare Billing and Management Association – Established in 1993
HBMA was founded in order to provide resources and a forum for discussion, with the goal of making medical billing into a highly professional field in healthcare. HBMA has a broad base of members who are working successfully as third-party medical billers. It sponsors four annual professional conventions each year and keeps its members updated on new developments in state and federal government that may affect the billing and coding industry. HBMA also offers educational updates on emerging issues, such as recent healthcare legislation and the new ICD-10 coding system, to registered members, along with substantial discounts on medical coding software.
American Association of Clinical Coders & Auditors – Established in 2003
AACCA was founded with a particular eye toward the interaction between Registered Nurses and the medical billing and coding profession. The association provides a nursing certification for coding and auditing, which in the latter case involves ensuring coded data entries are accurate. Membership is largely limited to Registered Nurses, but other clinical professionals in various coding systems are welcome. In addition to resources on their proprietary specialty certification exam, the association’s website includes a great deal of information on the challenges that ICD-10 is posing for private practices and larger institutions. If you are already a nurse and are expanding your interest into medical billing and coding, this site will be of particular interest to you.
Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity – Established in 1978
AHDI was founded to advocate for medical transcriptionists, a profession that focuses on converting patients’ records, documentation, and physician observations into useful information for doctors, patients, and other interested parties. AHDI sponsors a convention and a certification in medical transcription, in addition to engaging in public advocacy for the importance of high-quality medical information in this age of increasing digitization. Membership is limited to current or previous medical professionals, although there is a discounted student membership available. AHDI’s continuing education materials may be interesting to prospective medical billing and coding professionals as they consider a field closely related to the coding profession. You may even find tips that will improve your coding and billing abilities.
New York Health Information Management Association – Established in 1935
NYHIMA is one of the largest and oldest state-based chapters of AHIMA; every state in the US has one, although the websites’ contents vary somewhat and are usually tailored to the needs and interests of a specific area. NYHIMA membership offers interested parties and AHIMA-certified professionals free web-based seminars, discounts on CEU materials, as well as access to networking opportunities. There are also special memberships for companies and other organizations, and students studying to obtain AHIMA certification in New York may join NYHIMA free of charge. NYHIMA also offers several scholarships especially for New York state residents; many of the other state AHIMA chapters offer similar locally endowed scholarships.
National Cancer Registrars Association – Established in 1974
The NCRA was founded to provide specialized training and professional support to medical professionals who were working with the unique challenges presented by cancer. Cancer registries serve as public information resources in order to track occurrences and demographic information on cancer victims. Cancer registrars code and track the progress of cancers from diagnosis through the rest of patients’ lives. Membership is open to any professional or interested student and comes with access to a quarterly newsletter, journal, the members-only section of the NCRA website, and the association’s continuing education resources. These resources often discuss cutting-edge issues involving medical coding and may be of great value to you as a student or professional, particularly if you are considering working as an oncology specialist.
Read Academic Journals That Discuss the Medical Billing and Coding Profession
These journals are a great resource for reading up on what the professionals are saying about the industry.
Billing: Billing is produced by the Healthcare Billing and Management Association and is focused on sharing trade news among group members, as well as providing a resource for continuing education (including CEUs recognized by certification groups). It is available only to members, and membership includes a subscription as well as access to the web edition in .pdf and .html file formats. Publication cycle: Bimonthly.
The Journal of Healthcare Administrative Management: This journal focuses on current issues and recurring topics that affect billing professionals and healthcare office management, in addition to providing opportunities for professional networking. This print-only journal is available only to members of its publisher, the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management, and is included as a benefit of membership. Publication cycle: Quarterly.
BC Advantage: While focusing on the practical day-to-day operations of a medical billing and coding specialist, this journal also offers guidance on impending changes in the billing and coding world, as well as access to an online article archive. The journal is only available by subscription, at $55 per year, but includes online access to 12 free CEUs per year. Publication cycle: Monthly
The Journal of AHIMA: The official publication of AHIMA, this journal keeps its subscribers abreast of best practices in health information management, as well as new issues regarding the accuracy and security of patient health information. It is available, along with an extensive online archive, as a benefit of membership with AHIMA, or independently for $100 per year. It includes quizzes that are valid for continuing education credit, which may also be purchased on their own. Publication cycle: 11 issues per year.
Cutting Edge: This journal is published by AAPC and is aimed at their 119,000-strong membership base. Members receive a subscription to the journal as part of their membership in the organization. The topics range from scholarly interest to important professional news and an annual survey of salaries for certified medical billing and coding professionals. Online access and a monthly quiz (worth 1 CEU each) are included. Publication cycle: Monthly
For The Record: This journal of news and employment information is found throughout the country, and a subscription is available for free to members of many states’ Health Information Management Association, or for a small fee ($13 per year) for others. Many of the articles are available for free on the website, and the topics include coding and billing as well as other allied professions. Publication cycle: Biweekly
Journal of Allied Health: Scholarly in outlook, this journal studies interdisciplinary research related to the allied health professions, which includes medical billing and coding as well as other specialties. A year’s subscription to this journal costs $109 and includes online access. Back issues are available, and if you are at a traditional school, the school library may already hold a subscription. Publication cycle: Quarterly
The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice: This online-only journal was started in 2003 and takes a broad view of all sorts of fields of medical practice. Many of the articles are peer-reviewed formal manuscripts rather than quick lists or casually written guides. As an Internet-based, open-source publication, this journal can be accessed without payment or subscription. Publication cycle: Quarterly
Read Blogs Related to Medical Billing and Coding
Online, these bloggers capture the experience of being a coder or biller and enables you to explore communities that can help you understand the industry from the eyes of professionals.
Capture Billing – Manny Oliverez
Manny Oliverez, CEO of Capture Billing, posts updates on the business angle of how to use medical billing effectively in a variety of situations.
ClaimCare – Carl Mays II
Carl Mays II, owner of ClaimCare, posts about upcoming changes in the coding world, often including instructional video links to illustrate his posts.
CRT Medical Systems – Matt Doyle
This blog focuses on challenges in medical billing in the small office or private practice environments. Matt Doyle is a medical billing contractor.
Allen School Blog – Allen School of Health Science faculty
This fun blog provides studying tips and tech advice with entries along the lines of “Keep Studying – Asteroid is No Threat.”
Medical Billing and Coding Blog – Ultimate Medical Academy
Focused on advice for students, such as tips for job interviewing, managing workflows, and overcoming procrastination, this blog is managed by the staff of Ultimate Medical Academy in Tampa, Florida.
Medical Coding and Billing – The community at medicalcodingandbilling.blogspot.com
This medical coding community blog discusses complex cases, provides links to free webinars, and calls attention to errors in published code books.
TCN Medical Coding Blog – The Coding Network
This blog provides coding advice and previews, as well as information on medical coding trends, such as podiatrists’ “upcoding” (or overcharging) Medicare for nail trims.
HCPro – JustCoding
This blog provides articles and information on coding and continuing education for coders. There is a practical and humorous example of the high precision present in the ICD-10 codes, which can accurately describe specific injuries.
Healthcare Information Services – Healthcare Information Services, L.L.C.
This blog contains an article titled “5 Common Medical Coding Errors and How to Avoid Them.” It provides information on coding errors, which is especially important as several of these errors are actually illegal.
Follow Twitter Feeds to Learn More About Medical Billing and Coding
If you use twitter, check out this list of people and organizations who frequently tweet on the medical billing and coding work, certification, job prospects and new industry developments, such as the move to ICD-10.
Dr. Russell Faust discusses medical billing and coding along with larger issues facing healthcare information technology and trends in medical education. He advocates for using social media throughout the healthcare profession.
Based in Milwaukee, this firm provides billing services to physicians and often tweets about issues in code implementation and common insurance billing difficulties.
Based in Washington, this feed from InsidePatientFinance.com focuses on the professional implications that new legislation and government activities have on fields such as medical billing and coding.
AHIMA’s official Twitter feed focuses on topics of interest to health information management professionals, as well as AHIMA’s own publications and events.
Brad Justus talks about the new challenges facing medical coding with the approach of ICD-10, in addition to sharing many articles of broader interest in the field.
Senior director of a health information nonprofit organization, Pam Matthews discusses the ways in which health information technology are influencing the industry.
Jon Mertz shares insights about emerging information technologies and their impacts on healthcare, as well as information on advanced information theory.
This Twitter feed by Health Information Services (HIS) provides links to information of the upcoming ICD-10 coding system.
Read Medical Billing and Coding Books
These books are a good way to learn and expand your knowledge of medical billing and coding and can be checked out at most regional libraries.
Medical Billing and Coding for Dummies – Karen Smiley –Karen Smiley takes you through the field of medical billing and coding in plain English.
Coding Notes: Medical Insurance Pocket Guide – Alice Andress –This quick-reference is highly recommended by students for medical billing and coding classes online, in person, or while working in the field.
Step-by-Step Medical Coding, 2013 Edition – Carol J. Buck – This acclaimed resource’s 2013 edition will teach you all the commonly used medical codes, and includes transition training for ICD-10.
Medical Billing, Coding, and Reimbursement – Loretta Sinclair – This is another excellent general overview of billing, coding, and handling common paperwork, with a specific eye toward medical billing from home.
Guide to Medical Billing – Sharon Brown and Lori Tyler –This book provides another overview of the field with an ample amount of review material, critical-thinking questions, and other educational tools.
Breaking the Language Barrier: Spanish Terms and Phrases for Medical Office Personnel – Sandra Marmolejo Romero – A practical guide to how to discuss medical and office matters in Spanish, this book is more than a simple Spanish-English dictionary.
Find General Medical Billing and Coding Knowledge Here
Still interested in learning more? These resources provide an overview on ICD-9 and ICD-10, and real-life work experience.
This searchable database provides ICD-9, ICD-10, and HCPCS codes, and even includes older sets of codes for reference.
Quizlet – Medical Coding Study Guide Flashcards
This site combines a variety of fun games with ICD-9-CM information to give you a new way to study and review codes.
This website by a legal nurse consultant provides information on the latest healthcare trends. The latest entry, titled “Medical Humor: Nursing & Physician Documentation,” lists real examples of the sorts of entries you may see in physicians’ notes while doing medical coding.
Working in a hospital can be stressful, and this government website discusses ways to handle that stress in a constructive way.
SparkPeople – “How to Work The Night Shift and Stay Healthy”
You may have to work nights in a hospital environment, and this article gives you tips on how to do so healthily.