Medical Billing Career
A medical billing profession is not as old as nursing. However, it is a critical profession in the delivery of healthcare services in the United States. A typical duty of medical billing officer is to prepare medical bills for patients, submit the bills to third parties such as insurers and follow up claims on behalf of health providers. One requires a training medical billing to work as a medical billing officer in the US.
Medical billing career did not exist in late 19th and early 20th century. Farhat & Cummins (2008) argues that medical billing services emerged in the 1950s when more citizens in the US began to take health insurance. The medical billing services were provided by certified public accountants specialized in healthcare management. California Relative Value Scale of the 1950s was one of the first standards used in billing (Marcinko & Hetico, 2011). The medical billing as an independent profession emerged in the 1990s according to Farhat & Cummins (2008).
The working conditions for accountants working medical billing officers were not significantly different from other hospital staff. The officers kept the patients’ records in mainframe computers. The small computers and specialized software for storing patients’ data emerged in the 1980s. The pay was low and, the workload was high and working hours long. Benefits such as medical insurance were not entrenched in labor practices of many hospitals (Lebergott, 2012). Besides, occupation safety was a source of concern for many employees. A person working in a healthcare setting in the US was highly likely to contract communicable diseases such as cholera, tuberculosis, and dysentery (Burnham, J. (2015).
Today, medical billing officers work mainly in healthcare providers, hospitals, and medical institutions in furnished offices. They use portable digital devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops to store and retrieve patients billing information. There are also many applications that help medical billing officers to execute their responsibilities. The working conditions for medical billing officers are also better than it was in the 1950s. The median annual wage for medical billing officers was $ 39,550 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (2015). The working hours are shorter and flexible, and few medical officers get injured or die at work ((Lebergott, 2012).
The working conditions in the 1950s would have had immense effects on my health. I would not be able to live a decent life with the low pay. I would not have afforded a comprehensive medical insurance. Consequently, I would not have visited doctors for medical screenings. I would have been stressed by long working hours and heavy workload. Therefore, the quality of my life would have been low. Moreover, I would have contacted communicable diseases during discussions with patients about their medical records and bills.
As mentioned earlier in this discussion, medical billing profession emerged as an independent career about three decades ago. Consequently, the workplace of medical billing officers was not primarily shaped by civil rights. The data from US Bureau of Labor Statistics show that race is an issue in the profession Hispanics are significantly underrepresented, 6.4% against a total population proportion of 16.3%. Literature indicates that the profession is not ridded with race relations issues. However, women account for 92% of medical billing officers in the US according to US Bureau of Labor Statistics (2015).
Medical billing is a promising career. Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (2015) show that employment in the profession was expected to grow by 15% which is higher than the national average. Currently, most employers do not ask for experience. Besides, a typical job entry level is a non-degree certificate, meaning the profession is growing.
Burnham, J. (2015). Health care in America : a history. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Farhat, K. & Cummins, N. (2008). Claim success! : absolutely everything you need to know to get into medical billing and practice management to create a viable career for yourself. Tucson, Ariz: Wheatmark, Inc.
Lebergott, S. (2012). Wages and Working Conditions. Library of Economic Liberty. Library of Economics and Liberty. Retrieved from http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc1/WagesandWorkingConditions.html
Marcinko, D. & Hetico, H. (2011). The business of medical practice transformational health 2.0 skills for doctors. New York: Springer.
US Bureau of Labor Statistics (2015). Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey. BLS. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat11.htm
US Bureau of Labor Statistics (2015). Medical Records and Health Information Technicians. BLS. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/Healthcare/Medical-records-and-health-information-technicians.htm#tab-5