Medical billing and coding has been around for a very long time, in some fashion. It actually has origins that date back as far as the 1500’s. Originally, the purpose was simply to categorize and identify causes of mortality, not exactly billing and coding like today, but essentially the same, coding illnesses. As trade between continents increased so did the transmission of diseases, not so unlike today. A ship from the Orient might be bringing the fantastic spices and herbs to Europe, but it was just as likely that a disease hopped aboard the ship as well. Everywhere that man traveled, he brought his microbial germs with him.
The leaders and physicians saw a need to begin to record mortality rates for the various maladies that afflicted their populations. They would record the numbers of people afflicted by any particular disease; sometimes they could catalog the circumstances surrounding the transmission and perhaps discover the origin of how the disease might have been transmitted.
How a person dies, what kind of illness killed them, and if it was contagious, how they contracted the disease and where else has the disease popped up are all vital questions when a society is trying to stem the advancement of a contagion. Even today, these are the first things the CDC tries to figure out.
This type of record keeping has continued for centuries. It has aided in the mitigation of many illnesses that could have become global pandemics. In most of the developing world there were specialists or medical coders who were tasked with gathering and recording this vital information. It wasn’t until the 1960’s that this process took on a new purpose. The medical coding that we think of today.
Today medical coding consists of cataloging the illnesses and treatments there of for billing purposes. While the various insurance companies collect this information and statistical data is created from this coding process, it is no longer the job of the medical coder to develop stats from this coded information.
With the right training and credentials, a medical billing and coder can make a pretty decent salary. As of 2008 the average salary for a specialist in medical coding specialist was about $40,000 per year. A specialist specifically trained on medical billing was over $30,000. However, it varies from state to state. The top five states where medical billing specialist make the most are; Mississippi, followed closely by New York, then Washington, D.C. and Massachusetts, which are about even, and lastly California.
These are only averages of course, so some specialists make more and some make less. It truly is dependant on the credentials, the training and the work experience that an individual has. For an individual willing to lay the groundwork and apply their skills, it’s an excellent job to have. There is plenty of job security, and with an aging population this will not soon change, in fact, it’s a growing field.
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