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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.
Working towards a degree in medicine can take years and years of hard work. Many students want to supplement their schooling with work experience that centers on medicine. A great choice for them is to become a medical research assistant. Assistants are employed by many different organizations and individuals and a student can not only earn money but they can help further their practical knowledge as well.
Medical Research Assistant Career
Laboratories and hospitals are the two main employers of research assistants. They often hire them on a temporary or contract basis. The assistant is hired with the understanding that they will focus on one particular research project and when that is completed, their employment will end. If the research assistant is a graduate student, the term of their employment may actually extend until they complete their degree.
If a student has an interest in some particular branch of medicine they will want to seek out medical assistant positions that focus on that. For instance, many large hospitals have a research department that is centered on working on treatments or finding the causes of certain illness such as cancer or diabetes. Obtaining a medical research assistant position such as this allows the student to expand their knowledge base while at the same time helping with the research.
Another type of medical research assistant position involves clinic research studies. These are often conducted by pharmaceutical companies and the assistants are given many responsibilities. Some of those might include helping to find viable candidates for the study, interviewing and evaluating them and also helping to gather the much needed data during the testing period. This can also be a very lucrative choice for a research assistant, but these jobs are often salaried and the person is expected to participate in any studies that are held.
Clinical Research Assistant Duties
Many doctor’s offices also employ people to act as a medical research assistant. This is often the case if the doctor is interested in alternative treatments or current advances in treatments. The assistant is expected to research all viable treatment options and then report back to the doctor on their findings.
The doctor will typically give them very specific guidelines that they must follow and the information they do gather but be cited in full and prepared in a manner that the doctor suggests. This can be a very demanding position but it’s also highly rewarding considering the assistant is often instrumental in helping the doctor undercover an effective course of treatment for one or more of their patients.
One way that becoming a medical research assistant benefits a person is the added knowledge they gain that will help further their medical career. Some people who begin working in this field can decide to pursue further training so they can become a medical researcher. With all the advances being made in medicine today, this is an important job and a wonderful career choice.
Did you know that the physician assistant program was introduced by Duke University in North Carolina in the mid-1960s? That’s why Duke remains the top school that offers this program and is proud to have produced many highly qualified PAs over the years. Today, there are more than 140 accredited programs offered all over America for those wanting to be the licensed doctor’s alter ego.
Why Become A PA?
The job pays well. A PA gets to be doctor without going through the long years of study. The work can be very fulfilling. And employment opportunities are rising. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in the 10-year period between 2008 to 2018, physician assistant jobs are expected to grow by 39%. The recent trend has shown a decline in medical school enrollment and a rise in applicants for PA programs.
Provided the market does not become quickly saturated, and employers welcome fresh graduates even without so much experience, the prospects are bright if you decide to pursue this health care career.
Just to give an idea as to compensation, PAs with less than a year of experience still manage to make $56,877 in annual salary. Hourly, the lower end physician assistant salary is $20.81; you can however make as much as $48.86 depending on your work setting and location. The national average range of salary for a PA is from $61,818 to $99,099. As you gain experience and should you eventually decide to specialize, you increase your chances of earning more.
Tips And Reminders
The minimum requirement today is to complete a physician assistant bachelors degree. But there are physician assistant education offered by schools that accelerate the bachelors program from the usual five years to three or four, especially if you have prior college courses heavy on the sciences. Another criteria for admission is health care experience. This will depend on the school, but the minimum is usually 200 hours of full time hands-on work.
If you’re going to be a doctor and not just play doctor, it really is necessary to know your way around a clinic just to get a feel for the workplace. Duke requires 1,000 hours of health care experience to be certain you’re serious about getting into the program. After all, admission is very competitive.
To be able to practice, you need to become a certified medical assistant. That means passing the exam of the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. To qualify for this test, they require the completion of an accredited PA program. If you have a prior health-related degree, you can opt for the masters degree program.
Accreditation is awarded by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant once a school demonstrates it can provide adequate education and training for their students that meets the standard of the industry. This means looking into the curriculum, faculty and facilities utilized for the physician assistant programs.
Education And Training
According to the American Academy of Physician Assistants, the average PA program can be completed in 26.5 months. It is divided into didactic sessions and clinical rotations. These are intensive sessions meant to produce competent and confident professionals ready for the workplace.
Classroom instruction includes subjects in anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, microbiology, biochemistry, pathology, clinical laboratory, health promotion, clinical medicine and medical ethics.
During clinical rotations, students make the rounds of family medicine, internal medicine, emergency medicine, pediatrics, geriatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, surgery, orthopedics, psychiatry and radiology.
You can take advantage of these rotations to decide if you eventually want to go into specialization once you gain experience. Don’t forget that you can also serve as assistant during surgery and may be assigned post-surgery duties.
At the end of your education, you should be ready not just to take a patient’s medical history, but to diagnose, prescribe tests and treatments, or even undertake them yourself. Of course, everything is done under the supervision of a licensed physician.
Many are happy to be working as PA for many years, without the urge to become a licensed physician. They do, however, need the continuing medical education to retain their license to practice. They feel they are just as able to provide more than adequate patient care, using their skills and through the help of technology. Knowing they contributed to making people feel better is enough reason for a physician assistant to keep that job for a long time.
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.