Do you know anything about "coding" ??

  1. Hello Allnurses! I was wandering if anyone out there knows anything about medical coding??
    No, not code blue, but a job like a secretary?? I admit that I am clueless about what a coder does, or what experience one would need for the job. I have read in the past that some nurses were unit secretaries while in school, so I was hoping you might know.
    I think that it is a system used for charges....anything else??

    Thanks for your help!
  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   karenG
    well I use coding- all our records are computerised so its easier to put in a code than type the whole thing in but I dont think it will be the same system as you use over the pond!!!

  4. by   MomNRN
    I thought that "coding" meant a series of numbers that correlates to the type of diagnosis you have. It is very regulated by some insurance/medical administration bureauracy.

    For example, strep throat is 152600, whatever. The type of code you list on a chart, allows the insurance company to determine whether the fee the physician/hospital is charging is fair to your area and across the US.

    It is confusing to me and extremely regulated. Where I used to work, there was a whole department who did coding and ensured the proper diagnosis was given.

    My neighbor is a retired nurse who got into the coding business. She took a test 2 years ago, similar to boards, to receive her coding certificate. I think it is quite profitable in our area.

    Something to think about when I tire of my job!

    Hope this is what you were looking for!
  5. by   Gator,SN
    Thank you MomNRN!!
    My sister was a medical records secretary for many years and she is thinking of going to school for 'coding'.........I was amazed when she told me that she is going to start out making more money than I am (new grad $21.80/hr dayshift) Her program is a lot shorter and cheaper then my nursing education!
    I think that she assumed that I understood what her job would be and because I didn't want to offend her, I needed to ask here.
    Thanks again!
  6. by   darla80
    Coders also make certain the diagniosis codes are correct in order for the facility to get reimbursed.


    I work in a Internal medicine office and if I code 428.0 CHF for a person havng an ECHO at the facility then the facility will be paid by the insurance / medicare for the ECHO..If I code 401.1 HTN that is not enough.

    this is true for all procedures and lab tests for the hospital or facility doing the testing

    it has beconme a major player in reimbursenmnt
    One time I coded 427.31 AFib for magnesium level and the insurance required a different code and they refusesd to pay

    Insurance ..what a battle....

    Now as for her job as a coder .I say... ho Hum Boring..could not imagine working in a cubicle fiddling with numbers all day

    Give me the direct pt care
    Hope this was informative!!

    I think we as Nurses Rock!!
  7. by   kids
    There are 3 types of coding used in medical billing:

    ICD9 codes are the diagnosis codes (428.0 CHF)
    CPT codes identify what type of contact ffice visit new pt/ established pt, nurse visit, surgeries etc.
    HCPCS (hick-picks) are the codes designated for Medicare billing (I think).

    I really hope the person going to school for coding and plans to make >$21.80/hr isn't setting themselves up for a big disappointment. After my last back surgery I had to go thru vocational re-training. I spent a year in school, took (and passed) the National certification test in 1997 only to find that the job paid around $10/hr to sit in a cubicle all day. I came back to nursing. I use the ICD9 coding on a daily basis (and like coding really challenging dx) and having the experience/education has helped me get a couple of nursing jobs.
  8. by   Gator,SN
    Thanks again for the info!
    Kids-r-fun, I also found it very hard to believe that a 9 month program would pay that much, but the recruiter for the school has been spouting $18-21/hr and she does have experience as an office manager....??
    Darla80, she is very much looking forward to spending the day in an office by herself. She has been working with patients for 15 years as an office manager and she is sick of it. It would not be for me either.....but thank goodness some people like it.

  9. by   jnette
    Just finished our own "mandatory" ICD9 Coding training manual and exam. We use it at our dialysis clinic as well .. most are Medicare pts. Every single tx., prcoedure, and medication is entered as a "code" and we have to be familiar with them all. While the docs are supposed to give us the code number for each new order, this rarely happens, so we have to look up the codes for "medical justification" of each order. med, procedure, etc. Everything we do all day is enterd into the computer PROTON in codes.. then sent to then interfaced and the company billing offie takes it from there formedicare reimbursement.

    One of my coworkers has been doing an online course for some time now, and when she completes her studies intends to work from HOME (giving up nursing) doing this coding.. sounds quite promising.
    Last edit by jnette on Jul 22, '03
  10. by   CaliCoder
    Hi there... Just a quick perspective from the other side. I got into the (coding) field because I definitely didn't have a desire to work in direct patient care, but was still very interested in working in a medical field. In college we learn in-depth about anatomy, physiology, gastrointestinal, genitourinary and reproductive systems. Also pathology, oncology, diagnostic and special procedures, pharmacology, and medical terminology. All the current coding systems as well, insurance billing, office management and administration, etc.

    Instead of an "add-on", this is more of a specialized medical field. Salaries (in California) start at $35-40,000 and normally peak at around $65K with years of experience, management, and certifications.

    If you had already been seeking a nursing career, this may not be for you. The people that get into this line of work, such as myself, are not interested in direct patient care.

    Unless you are an RN with direct coding experience and have been certified in it with addition education, I understand why employers are unwilling to bump RNs to the front of the applicants. It's a different field. However, as an RN (or LVN, LPN, CNA, whatever) with the completion of an accredited program plus the industry's bare-minimum certs... then yes, you'd have a great chance.