Medical Billing and Coding Education in Iowa - IA

Becoming a medical billing and coding specialist in Iowa

Those who compile, process, report and maintain medical records for patients according to established healthcare requirements and standards are medical billing and coding specialists or technicians, sometimes known as health information specialists, or medical records and health information specialists or medical insurance coding specialist.  At this time, the state of Iowa does not require that those in this profession be licensed in the manner of registered nurses or paramedics. However, an education that enables a student to become nationally certified can be advantageous in the job market.

Some individual high school graduates who perform administrative duties that include billing and coding medical records acquire on-the-job training. However, these individuals are not eligible to attain national medical billing and coding certification in Iowa.

By far the most well known national organization for medical records and health information technicians is the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Only those individuals who have completed a course of study, be it a certificate program, an associate two-year degree or Bachelor of Science education, that is CAHIIM-accredited are eligible to try for professional certification given by the AHIMA.

The Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) is the not-for-profit accrediting organization that establishes educational standards for health information management (HIM) professionals. Over 275 academic programs have been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education.

The most common educational migration paths to becoming a medical billing and coding specialist in Iowa are:
Iowa medical billing Certificate programs generally take between nine months and one year; prepares students for entry-level positions. Online learning education is a convenient alternative and often students take these programs through these channels.
Associate degree programs; a two-year program at a community college that leads to an associate’s degree. Credits earned generally count towards a bachelor’s degree if a student decides to pursue an advanced degree.

Baccalaureate degree:  It generally takes students more than two years to complete a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Information Management or a related field.  Students typically go on to management positions.

Cancer or tumor registrars: What may be the fastest growing coding specialty; these coding specialists compile process and report the medical information of cancer patients, or those with other medical conditions, in local, state and national databases. The National Cancer Registrars Association’s (NCRA) certifies cancer registrars and other cancer data specialists as Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR).

Some employers will accept a combination of education and experience, such as possessing a Certified Coding Associate (CCA) certification and the ability to receive HIM certification as a RHIT or RHIA within 12 to 18 months of hiring.
After achieving certification, medical billing and coding specialists are encouraged to earn continuing education credits (CEC) through the AHIMA.


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