TouchStone Enterprises, LLC
101 California Street Suite 1920
San Francisco, CA 94111
Telephone: (415) 400-5137
Email: [email protected]
Medical billing assistant guide.
One of the most important parts of any medical office administration is the billing department. Health care is expensive and luckily most people have some form of health insurance. When they are ill and have to visit the doctor or a hospital, they aren’t thinking about how the medical billing and coding process works. They are most concerned with getting quality medical care.
Although most medical offices have a few medical assistants who take on most of the administrative duties, a medical billing assistant is a great idea. This person has specific training that enables them to handle every possible situation that may come up that is related to billing. This is a rewarding and lucrative position.
In order to specialize as a medical billing assistant it’s suggested that a person pursue the educational requirements needed to become a medical assistant. From there they can take an additional course that is focused strictly on medical billing. These medical billing courses range in length depending on what school is offering it, but the student can expect to spend an additional eight months on average studying billing. Once their educational requirements are completed at any accredited medical billing and coding schools they can then take on a job in this field.
The responsibilities of this job depend largely on the type of medical environment they are in. For instance a medical billing assistant in a hospital can expect to spend much of their day concentrating solely on billing. That is because in a hospital or nursing home, there is generally one medical billing specialist department that handles all the accounting for the institution. When one takes on a job in a doctor’s office they are likely going to have additional administrative responsibilities that include greeting patients, answering phones and even typing correspondence.
Medical billing can be a complicated process. This is particularly true when dealing with the various private insurance companies. Each has its own approach to how the claim process works and each typically has their own unique claim form. The medical billing assistant is responsible for filling out each form correctly and ensuring it has all the proper information and appropriate signatures. Most people look to the doctor’s office to submit their claim for them, so these have to be completed and submitted in a very quick manner.
Occasionally a dispute may arise between the doctor’s office and the patient regarding billing or between the patient and their insurance company. It’s the billing assistant’s responsibility to ensure that all problems like this are taken care of. They often are looked to as a go between to work out the conflict between their patient and the insurance company. For this reason a medical billing assistant must be patient and must be able to handle pressure well and in return you can expect your medical billing and coding salary to reflect all the work you will required to do.
Although medical assistants are in high demand today, qualified instructors are also needed. A medical assistant instructor is the person who is responsible for training the assistants so they are prepared to work in the most demanding field there is, medicine. Although most instructors are actually medical assistants they still need some special training to take on the role of teacher and guide.
Job Description and Tasks
They need to be well-versed in all areas of medical terminology and language. This is because one important aspect of any medical assistant’s job involves understanding the complicated terms that a doctor or other health care professional is apt to use on a regular basis. The medical assistant instructor’s understanding of this material must be thorough so they can address any questions that the students under their guidance may have.
The instructor will also cover material that is related to the anatomy and physiology of human beings. They are responsible for teaching this material to those enrolled in their class. Although they are given an outline of the course materials that they must cover, they are also given the freedom to develop lesson plans that are appealing to those studying this part of medicine.
Some individuals who choose this career path decide to focus on one specific branch of medicine. They may opt to teach medical assistants who are interested in working in an ophthalmologist’s office or those who want to work in a podiatrist’s clinic.
In order to be qualified to take on a position as a medical assistant instructor, one must have extensive experience working in a setting like that. Typically instructors who do ultimately become experts in their chosen field have already worked in a medical assistant capacity within a specialist’s office for several years.
Career Paths and Education
There are generally two different career paths among medical technician careers that instructors can take. One is to pursue a career in a college that offers a medical assistant program. These jobs are often few and far between because many medical assistants decide to become instructors. The better choice for many people is to be a distance medical assistant instructor.
This is a little different but still just as rewarding and lucrative. The instructor works with individuals who are pursuing their education online. The lesson plans are sent via the Internet and the instructor is only an email away should any of the students have a concern or question. This is often a good choice for an instructor who has found it difficult to secure a position in their area.
Just as medical assistants are advised to upgrade their education every few years to stay abreast of any relevant advances in medicine, instructors should do the same. This will help them in many ways including have the necessary knowledge and insight needed to guide their students to being the best medical assistants they can be.
As with most professionals, there is an organization designed to aid those who choose a career in medical assisting. The American Association of Medical Assistants has been in operation since the mid nineteen fifties and since then as grown into a valued resource for anyone who has an interest in this field.
Joining The AAMA
There is a cost associated with joining this organization and it is typically dependent on several factors. A certified medical assistant will pay a different fee than someone who is currently still immersed in their studies. Also, each state has a different fee schedule in place, so it’s advised that anyone interested in joining the organization ask about the fees that are required in the area in which they live.
Dues are required each year and when you join will impact when your membership will expire. If you happen to join before May of any calendar year, you can expect yours to expire at the end of December of that same year. If you join after the beginning of May, your registration will be valid until the December of the following year. Obviously this makes joining in the latter half of the year a more economical choice.
There are several different types of members in the American Association of Medical Assistants. The first one that is offered is an active one. This applies to anyone who is a medical assistant and also anyone who has kept their membership active.
The next type of membership is an affiliate member. To qualify for this particular type of membership an individual generally doesn’t have their certification and they don’t fall within the parameters set forth for the other types of memberships.
An associate member hasn’t yet taken the examination needed for them to be certified but are still doing the medical assistant training. The people who usually apply as an associate member are those who just recently finished their studies and are awaiting the date of their exam.
AAMA Membership Benefits
Student memberships have some restrictions that go along with them. One restriction is that a student membership cannot go beyond a three year time period. Also the person applying under a student membership must be actively enrolled in school to become a medical associate.
An honorary membership is a special membership that applies to someone who isn’t in the field of medical assisting however they are committed to helping those who are. Doctors or registered nurses often fall into this category as do educators.
All the benefits of membership as an american association of medical assistants are clear and anyone who is considering entering this profession would do well to apply for membership. In addition to discounts on training and conferences, members are also able to network with others who have chosen the same career as them.
When most people visit their doctor’s office or are taken to the hospital because of an emergency they don’t give much thought to how many competent people it takes to keep a medical office running smoothly. In addition to the physicians and registered nurses, there is also a need for support staff. One of these positions that of the administrative medical assistant is actually quite exciting and lucrative too among medical assistant jobs. It’s a great choice for someone who has an interest in medicine but also enjoys an office type environment.
As is the case with most individuals who take on the job of a medical administrative assistant, someone who holds this position in a medical office must be well-versed on computers. They will be utilizing their computer constantly throughout the day for various duties including booking appointments for patients, accessing patient information and updating patient files.
The administrative medical assistant is often looked on to also handle much of the correspondence that leaves the office. They are given notes and recordings from the doctor and are expected to transcribe and transform those into data that is either filed within a patient’s history or used as a basis for correspondence with other doctors or medical facilities. This is one of the reasons that the assistant must have a full working knowledge of many different types of software applications. They should also have training in medical transcription as well as standard dictation practices.
There is a great deal of money that comes in and leaves a doctor’s office. The administrative medical assistant must ensure that all patient billing is done correctly including preparing invoices for insurance companies as well as handling private billing matters. When an invoice is received in the office to pay for any overhead expenses or supplies, the medical assistant may very well be responsible for paying that in a timely manner. If not, they are usually expected to deliver these invoices to the accountant that is contracted to work with the doctor’s office.
Training and Experience
As the assistant gains experience and specific knowledge of the doctor they are often rewarded with a promotion to office manager. This role requires more responsibility for the administrative medical assistant, but it also comes with a higher salary.
Proper medical assistant training is necessary in both office procedures as well as basic medical terminology. Most medical assistants take a two-year course that enables them to work in an administrative capacity for a doctor. An administrative assistant in a medical office also needs some formal training on the required software applications that apply to this specific job.
Even though the doctor is often considered to be the most crucial part of a well run medical office, the administrative support staff is also crucial. They ensure that patients are seen when they need care and they handle all laboratory reports and the booking of follow-up visits too.