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Nursing Education Opportunities in Mississippi - 2006  <more..>
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Medical Coding Specialist    
Medical coding specialists read and review medical documentation provided by physicians and other health care providers in order to obtain detailed information regarding their disease, injuries, surgical operations, and other procedures. This detailed information is translated into numeric codes. The coding specialist assigns and sequences diagnostic and procedural codes using a universally recognized coding system. Using this official classification system, coders must insure correct code selection for compliance with federal regulation and insurance requirements. These medical codes are used extensively for reimbursement of hospital and physician claims for Medicare, Medicaid, and insurance payments. The information compiled by the medical coders is used to prepare statistical reports for use by clinic and hospital administrators for planning, marketing, and other management purposes. Local, state, and federal governments also use this information to identify health care concerns critical to the public at large. Knowledge of both the medical and business sides of health care are essential in this detail-oriented field of health information management.

Work Environment:

Medical coding specialist work in hospitals, clinics, surgery centers, long-term care facilities, insurance companies, dental offices, home health care agencies, consulting firms, coding and billing services, and government agencies. They typically work under the supervision of the Health Information Manager or Chief Financial Officer.

High School Preparation:

Students interested in pursuing a career in medical coding should take high school courses in algebra, biology, computer skills, English, typing, office procedures, data processing, and health occupations/medical professions education.

College Requirements:

Individuals interested in medical coding should have a high school diploma or equivalent. An Associate's Degree is recommended and is often two years in length. Training may be available on-the-job as well as through continuing education classes offered by state associations/organizations. Individuals desiring to become a certified medical coder must pass examinations offered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) and the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC).

For educational institutions in Mississippi
offering this course of study click here.

Career Outlook:

There is an outstanding future for medical coding specialists because of the increased scrutiny over medical records by the government and insurance companies. In an effort to control costs, complete and accurate records are becoming a necessity in order for hospitals and clinics to receive money from Medicare and Medicaid. As technology changes the world of medical records keeping, there will be an increased need for coders with the most current knowledge of new technologies. As in most occupations, many openings will result from the need to replace employees who transfer to other companies, retire, or stop working for various other reasons.




Average Annual Salary

Salary Range

Professional Organizations:

American Academy of
Professional Coders
309 West 700 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Phone: (800) 626-2633

American Health Information Management Association
919 North Michigan Ave.
Suite 1400
Chicago, IL 60611-1683
Phone: (312) 233-1100

Mississippi Health Information Association
921 North Congress Street
Jackson, MS 39202-2554
Phone: (601) 956-4105


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