Prerequisites for Medical Coding and Billing Training

General prerequisites for a successful medical billing and coding career are strong keyboarding skills and strong reading skills. You also need to know basic math skills.

Reading and keyboarding skills for medical coding and billing

To process codes clearly and effectively, you must be able to read fairly quickly, and you must have good retention. You also need to enter data accurately with a keyboard. (In billing and coding, accuracy takes preference over speed.)

Want to be a faster reader? Use a ruler to help your eyes quickly skim down a page. Want to increase your typing speed? Try one of the free online typing tutorials to refresh your fingers.

Math skills for medical coding and billing

On the math side of the fence, you need to have a fairly solid proficiency in math because some positions require higher-level math skills. For example, you may have to compute reimbursements by using relative value units (RVUs) and then applying a conversion factor.

RVUs are numbers that represent the amount of work assigned to each reimbursable procedure. The conversion factor is based on the geographic location of the provider. The logic behind the conversion factor is that the overhead is higher — and it therefore costs more to run an office — in a metropolitan area (New York City, for example) than it does in a rural area (like Grover City).

To perform the math skills you’ll learn in your billing and coding program, you need to have a solid grasp of math basics down first, things like addition, subtraction, and multiplication, which are part of the daily coding and billing world.

Also, a basic grasp of fractions and decimals is needed for choosing the correct Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) codes for specified drugs or injectables. If you’re unsure about your math-related bona fides, ask your program admissions counselor about recommendations for refresher math courses at the local community college.

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