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Earn Money With a Home Based Medical Coding Job.

By Kristy Rodecker

One of the biggest draws in the medical coding field is the promise to work from home. While there are many promises of vast wealth and immense freedom many find it difficult to achieve such goals.

Medical coding from home is legitimate, but it is also over advertised. Many target this field and make exaggerated claims. One common scam is the promise to offer medical coding education and provide medical coding software (for a price), which should "fully prepare you" to begin your own home based business.

This particular claim can be very detrimental to the investor. While a sketchy education and some software may be provided individuals find themselves searching for clients. Unfortunately, without the proper education and/or experience physician will not be willing to become a customer.

As with any career, one must choose to invest their time and money into a proper education and then be willing to take an entry level position and gain some on the job experience.

Proper education will fully prepare individuals for nationally recognized certification through either the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) or through the American Health Information Association (AHIMA). The AAPC offers individuals to sit for the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) certification and AHIMA offers individuals to sit for the Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) certification.

These two certifications are the only two nationally recognized certifications in the medical coding field. Employers will require that individuals hold either the CPC or CCS credential.

Once an individual has obtained one of these two certifications they must then find a job. Two year of coding experience is the industry standard and those who are starting out in this field may find gaining entry to their first coding job one of their biggest challenges.

When starting out individuals should consider several options. Joining a non-paid program like "Project X-tern" through the AAPC will provide experience and often job opportunities. Becoming involved in a local AAPC chapter is also a great way to network with local coders who may have internal positions they are willing to offer beginners. Entry level positions may also include front desk work in a private practice which may later allow a later move into the coding department.

Since home based medical coding positions are unsupervised individuals need to have some work related experience. Also, coding from home is often a "contract" position, which means you are technically self employed.

Companies that contract with coders provide them with the charts to code and the software needed to complete their duties, while coders must supply the computer, internet connection, and coding books.

Contract positions usually pay per.chart coded and require coders to maintain a high accuracy and bench rate. Contracts usually specify things like: number of chart to be provided/coded with in a week, number of hours a coder will work each week, bench rates, per, piece rate, ect.

While contract positions do not offer medical benefits they do allow flexible scheduling and savings on transportation and attire.

Although individuals are technically self-employed in a contract position this is different than owning a business. Entrepreneurial positions do offer the work from home option but should also be approach with caution.

Most physicians will look for a medical billing or coding company with highly experienced individuals. While this is a great long term goal it is not suggested that those just starting out in this field risk such an investment unless they are certain they have the business and education required to take on such a venture.

When searching for companies that offer contract home based coding positions it is important to know that they are not often advertised. These positions are in high demand and are often filled by word of mouth and referrals before ever needing to advertise publicly.

To find such companies individuals should attend local AAPC chapter meetings and inquire among the attendees. Also, searching the internet for coding companies and then calling their operator or switch board and simply asking if they hire home based coders can return good results. Another helpful place to ask questions and search out such companies is the AAPC forums.

About the Author: 10 year of medical billing and coding experience, home based ER coder, a Certified Professional Coder (CPC) and Certified Professional Coder Hospital (CPC-H), the local AAPC Norwalk Chapter founder and president, a Coding instructor and tutor, and founder of the educational website which provides career options, educational advice, and answers to common questions for those starting out in the medical billing and coding fields.

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