In this article, we will be sharing some of the questions with answers that you might be asked in your interview as a Medical Coder. Remember, career growth for every individual is important and a candidate should be well prepared for the interviews. You are lucky that you have an opportunity to match your skillset and knowledge.
1. Why Are You Interested In This Role?
Medical coding is the transformation of healthcare diagnosis, procedures, medical services, and equipment into universal medical alphanumeric codes. This is like translating important medical information into simple codes to document medical records and inform accurate medical billing. Since I qualified from my college I remained attached to hospitals’ diagnostic area and this part keeps me motivated as new things keep coming up.
2. What Are The Roles Of A Medical Coder?
Hospital is a good place for Medical Coders. But several others places are there where medical coders might work. This includes hospitals, clinics, urgent care facilities, nursing homes, treatment centers, and more. Some insurance agencies also employ medical coders to handle patient claims from the other side of the table, verifying the accuracy of incoming claims. Speaking of accuracy, some law firms even employ medical coders to help identify billing fraud.
3. What Are The Qualities That A Medical Coder Need To Be Successful?
There is no “typical” prototype when it comes to medical coders. You’ll find people of all ages, identities, and experiences. But good medical coders do share some common characteristics that help them on the job. One critical trait is a strong ethical standard because the patient data they work with is highly confidential.
Medical coders must also have a keen eye for detail—one minuscule mistake in a code could lead to much larger issues. They also must be able to remain focused because their work is rather repetitive, yet extremely important. Additionally, it helps to be efficient and even-keeled, as their work is often tied to meeting production- and accuracy-based goals.
4. What Challenges Do You Face During Your Previous Role?
The major challenge is to do the job at the highest level of accuracy and detail. This demands abstracting the most information out of the medical reports from the provider and taking accurate notes. We need to remain updated on knowing the medical terminology for both procedures and diagnoses. Coding to a general level, or “under coding” can lead to a rejected or denied claim. Sometimes the needed details in documentation coming to the coder are missing. The coder has to remain in touch with the information provider for any corrections or clarifications.
5. Describe Your Daily Routine As A Medical Coder
The typically starts with logging onto your computer and opening the various programs I need to perform my job. I start with checking official emails and answering the most important ones. Next is to open my coding application and analyze the incoming information for code assignment. In a small set-up, one needs to wear various hats but working in large facilities, one can work on specific items like surgeries or outpatients alone.
We need to remain vigilant as mistakes can cost your employer money or delay reimbursement from their insurers, so it is all-important having a precise and good system to work for coding every procedure.
6. Briefly Describe Your Experience?
I have a command over coding medical documentation for insurance claims and databases. I confidently assign required Current Procedural Terminology (CPT), Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS), Tenth Revision, International Classification of Diseases, Clinical Modification (ICD-10-CM), and American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) codes. You can also assign Ambulatory Payment Classifications (APC) or Diagnosis-related group (DRG) codes.
For my success, I make judicious decisions on which codes to assign in each instance, and function to a high level of accuracy. I remain motivated being detail-oriented and have outstanding interpersonal skills.
7. What Strategies And Mindset Might Be Required For This Role?
Proficiency and accuracy are two mindsets required for this profession. One needs to focus on his work alone else he is nowhere. That is why if you see a coder using hands-free during work, he is not a coder. Coders are always in their little world and they are!
Great decision-making speeds up the process. A proficient coder knows when to let the codes they choose “go through” and when to take the time to dig a little deeper to make sure the proper codes are applied. Experienced coders usually have a personal notebook or two they’ve created and rely on to make sure they keep the work flowing
8. What Is The Biggest Challenge You Foresee In This Job?
Medical coders have to do their job accurately with proficiency and specificity. This needs the information accurately abstracting the most information out of the medical reports from the provider and taking accurate notes. One has to know the terminology for all procedures and diagnoses. The event of coding at a general level or even under-coding may lead to a denied or rejected the claim. One needs to use the current and updated code sets.
9. What Keeps You Motivated As You Work?
As a Medical Coder, I can derive motivation from coaching and teaching those under me telling them how to be successful. Moreover, sharing new codes and new methodology with other team players gives me pleasure and satisfaction. As a senior, I might be often looked on as a mentor who encourages others to keep an eye on details and do things meticulously. Yes, there must be instances when we take some time off to have coffee together with the team leaving aside all differences.
10. Describe A Time You Failed In This Role And The Lesson You Learned?
I remember an event when a bulk of work arrived in late hours with a tight timeline. We had no choice except start working so we stopped all ongoing tasks and switched ourselves onto coding immediately on the new stuff. Within two hours, it dawned on us that the data received was inconsistent and some details were also mismatching. We tried to contact the client asking for details but the client was not responding. I escalated the matter to management seeking their help which we do rarely. The management also tried to see who sent this information but in vain. It took us three hours to know that the incoming information landed in our area by mistake. It was our fault too that we skipped to cross-match sender’s information from our official record and directly started working. So the lesson was that we should always go by the book adhering to procedures else we waste our time.
11. Why Do You Feel You Are Qualified For This Role?
I am confident for this role as becoming a medical coder I got specialized training and certification. It is not a job just anyone can perform but that is what makes medical coders valued professionals in the world of healthcare. Although training is essential, the barrier to entry into the health information field is not as high as other healthcare careers. For instance, I completed the online Medical Billing and Coding Certificate program at Rasmussen University. It is an ideal pathway for working adults with financial and family obligations that are looking to get started in the health information field. I am also a CCA meaning thereby Certified Coding Associate and also CCS that is Certified Coding Specialist offered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). These plus points make me a fit candidate for the position.
12. Share With Us Your Greatest Achievement
My greatest achievement is that I did not change my professional path as I kept excelling opting for better and the best. This is like pursuing a dream job and I feel lucky for having achieved all that.
13. How Many Types Of Coding You Might Come Across?
There are two different types of medical codes primarily used in healthcare settings today: the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) and the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT). While there are certainly distinctions between these classification systems, their purpose is similar—to allow for uniform documentation between medical facilities. Having this standard system allows for a more seamless transfer of medical records, streamlined billing, and more efficient research and analysis to track health trends.
14. What Makes The Life Of A Medical Coder Easy And Enjoyable?
Having great resources that are easily accessed is another way to improve proficiency. For any coder, questions pop up all the time and the answers are sometimes hard to find. However, there are several online resources where, with a little practice and familiarity, questions can be answered quickly and accurately. Some coders make great use of industry coding manuals in their work, others leave them on the shelf – they are large, cumbersome, and take up a lot of room.
15. What How An Experienced Coder Would Look Like?
Experienced coders usually have a personal notebook or two they have created and rely on to make sure they keep the work flowing. In most cases, the software the employer provides includes several ways to help the coder work quickly and accurately.
Proficient medical coders rely on each other to get better. There is no better way to learn than from your peers and great coders help each other stay at the top of their game. They also share tips on how to work a little faster without sacrificing accuracy and turn to each other for questions they can’t answer on their own.
16. Is There A Setup To Help Medical Coders To Excel Leading To A Safe Profession?
I believe success relies on proficiency and medical coders with a high level of proficiency are quickly hired, have great job security, and have more career opportunities. I do follow Dale Schmidt being is a professional medical coder and creator of platform medicalcoders.net which is a website dedicated to helping medical coders find great coding jobs and working techniques.
17. There Is A Concept Of Under Coding And Over Coding, Can You Explain Both?
Under coding is the purposeful reportage of less expensive medical services that are performed, while over coding is the reportage of more expensive procedures that are performed. Both of these may be rated as fraudulent and can lead to audits and investigations. These are not errors, as such, but we are obligated to mention them here as something you absolutely must avoid.
18. Have You Heard About Unbundling, What Is That About?
Like under- and over-coding, unbundling is not so much of an error as it is a fraudulent practice. Unbundling is closely related to upcoding, in that it involves false reporting designed to earn the provider a higher payout from a payer. Unbundling means separately coding procedures that would normally be included in one umbrella code.
19. What Are Some Important Coding Skills?
There are a handful of technical skills medical coders need to succeed in the field, but transferable skills are important as well. Top technical skills for medical coders, to name a few are Medical coding, Customer billing, CPT coding, Health information technology, Inpatient coding, HCPCS coding, clinical documentation, etc. We also have Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance etc.
20. Can We Also Discuss Incorrect Procedure Codes?
A simple slip of the fingers on the keyboard can result in the incorrect entry of a procedure code. Information may also have been incorrectly documented on encounter forms or other supporting documentation. In case the claims are frequently returned to your hospital due to incorrect procedure codes, your employees may not be following the latest coding rules.
We can prevent reimbursement issues, hospitals must avoid medical billing and coding errors. There are ongoing continuing education programs, as well as lunch-and-learns and other informal training sessions that can help ensure that your employees are aware of the latest coding requirements and best practices.
21. Are There Home-Based Medical Coders Too?
Yes, there are home-based medical coders and those are often self-employed as independent contractors. This type of work falls somewhere between being an hourly employee and owning your own business.
These independent contractors are individuals who have contracted with a larger organization that provides work to the home-based coder for an agreed-upon payment. These independent contractors benefit by working from home, having a flexible schedule, and having a steady and reliable income without assuming the large overhead costs and liability that accompany small entrepreneurship.
22. How Come You Feel A Medical Coder Is So Important?
Medical coders play an important role in the healthcare system. Whenever you have a doctor’s appointment, the physician or nurse records notes about what procedures took place or what was diagnosed. Using their knowledge of thousands of medical codes, payment policies and government regulations, medical coders take medical records and code them for billing and insurance purposes.
Without them, the medical field wouldn’t know what to charge for each procedure, and insurance companies wouldn’t be able to cover your care properly. Now that you know a little more about the position, read ahead to learn how you can become one.
23. What Kind Of Training Is Good To Become A Medical Coder?
It starts with a high school diploma or equivalent followed by complete medical coding training. There are no formal education requirements to become a medical coder. Earning a Medical Coding Certificate is a smart step for those who want to enter the field with a solid foundation of knowledge. Some programs, like the one at Rasmussen College, can be completed in as few as 9 months. Medical coding courses are like Coding Foundations, ICD-CM Coding, ICD-PCS Coding, Ambulatory Care Coding and we can name Revenue Cycle and Billing. Then there are some of your medical coding certifications too. These are like Certified Professional Coder (CPC), Certified Coding Associate (CCA), and Certified Coding Specialist (CCS). A fresh person needs to brush up on in-demand medical coding skills
24. What Kind Of Skills Are Needed For Being A Medical Coder?
Top technical skills for medical coders
- Health information technology (HIT)
- CPT coding
- Inpatient coding
- Customer billing
- Outpatient coding
- HCPCS coding
- Medical terminology
25. There Must Be Some Transferable Skills For Medical Coders Too?
One needs to be a good team player in a computerized environment based on medical things, so communication is the priority. Then comes computer literacy and collaboration and not being afraid of research. Microsoft Office is a must for people working on computers. The coder needs to have his attention to detail and the ability to work with a team in an organization.
The above-mentioned questions will surely help ace your interview! Remember, the Medical Coder needs to have good interpersonal skills! Overall, being a Medical Coder is a demanding job that needs the presence of mind and full involvement from the team members. If you are passionate about organization, prioritizing the workload, and multitasking, this position is for you! Don’t forget to wear a nice dress to your interview and carry it with a smile! Good luck