How to Become a Contract Medical Coder
According to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth for medical records specialists, including medical coders, is projected to grow 7 percent between 2021 and 2031. This is close to the average for all occupations. At the same time, contract medical coding has been booming, making it more and more attractive for coding specialists to seek out their own assignments.
Could working as a contract medical coder be right for you? Read on to discover the ins and outs of these flexible work assignments in the field of health information management.
What is a Contract Medical Coder?
“A contract medical coder usually has a background in coding, whether that is inpatient, outpatient, same-day surgery, or emergency room,” explained Stephanie M., CCS, AHIMA approved ICD-10-CM & ICD-10-PCS trainer and content manager for Clinical and Education Solutions at AMN Healthcare. “As a contractor you are contracted to a facility where you code various types of patient records depending on your specialty. And this can be done nationwide, along with state and facility guidelines and regulations.”
Most contract medical coding positions are remote, although some facilities do want the coder to come on site for training or a hybrid work model where the coder works on site part of the week and at home for the remainder.
“As a contract coder you are able to work from home, you are able to potentially travel to various facilities across the nation and they allow flexible schedules. If you are an early bird like me and you want to start at 4 a.m., you are usually able to do that.” Stephanie said.
Contract lengths for assignments can vary tremendously, ranging anywhere from several weeks or months to several years. Stephanie urges contract medical coders to seek stability and security in their careers to find the most success.
“You want to make sure you are in good standing with the company so you always have a contract to go into,” she said. “As a contractor, you want to have stable work especially if you are the main provider of your household you want to have financial stability. You also want to choose a contracting company that has your best interests at heart. And same thing with your recruiter, you want to find someone you can trust.”
Requirements to Become a Contract Medical Coder
Although exact requirements are usually determined by the facility and specified in the contract, Stephanie reported that most companies AMN Healthcare works with ask that a medical coder candidate have at least three years of coding experience.
In addition to hands-on coding experience, many facilities require contract medical coders to have certifications such as:
- Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA)
- Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT)
- Certified Coding Specialist (CCS)
These three certifications are all available through the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).
Some facilities also require the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) certification from the AAPC.
“It really depends on the position you are applying for,” Stephanie said. “Some facilities would like more education and some require less.”
Benefits of Contract Medical Coding Jobs
In addition to having the flexibility to choose when and where they work, contract medical coders can enjoy a host of other benefits and perks – especially when partnering with a major staffing company such as AMN Healthcare. The company offers a highly competitive compensation and benefits package.
Here is a sampling of benefits that accompany contract medical coding jobs with AMN Healthcare Revenue Cycle Solutions:
- Medical, dental, and vision benefits
- Paid holidays and time off
- Paid continuing education time and free CEUs
- 401(k) retirement plan with matching
- Short-term disability and life insurance
- Certifications and licensure reimbursement
- And more
Contract medical coding is a great choice for those seeking excellent benefits and compensation, flexibility, and opportunities to learn new skills, software systems and programs.
Getting Started as a Contract Medical Coder
Are you intrigued by the freedom, flexibility and opportunities that accompany a career as a contract medical coder? It all starts with choosing a medical coding staffing company.
The experienced team at AMN Healthcare Revenue Cycle Solutions can help answer your questions, connect you with job opportunities, and guide you through every step of the process. We’re here to ensure your success. So, let’s talk!