Jackson State medical coding offers quick entry into healthcare career

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Students who graduate from the Medical Coding Certificate Program at Jackson State Community College will enter a job market needing their skills.
Medical coders are an important part of any health care facility, said Chrystal Taylor, MALS, RN, Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator for Health Sciences.
The certificate program is designed to be completed in two semesters; students who sign up for the fall term can be ready for employment this spring. Though starting salaries are based on where the graduate works, a certified medical coder with experience earns an average of $36,000 to $47,000 a year in West Tennessee, Taylor said.
“A medical coder is an important employee in a hospital, clinic or other health care facility. He or she aids in financial reimbursement and quality care provided to patients.”
The two-semester certificate program, which can also lead to a two-year associate degree, combines classroom and lab work.
A medical coder translates the provider’s notes on a patient’s care into an alpha numerical code established by the World Health Organization, CMS and the National Center for Health Sciences, which are required by insurance companies around the world, she said. Reimbursement rates for providers are tied to the numerical code.
The standardized numbers also are needed for data management and health-related statistics, such as the number of people with heart disease or how many people needed knee replacement surgery over a certain time.
“You will learn the same codes you use on a regular basis, but it’s not necessary to memorize the codes,” Taylor said.
“The best candidates for a medical coding career are reliable, responsible, dependable, have attention to detail and are willing to always learn new things.”
Medical coding offers stability and flexibility, she said. Many coders work from home or have flexible hours. It’s a good career choice, she added, particularly for those already working in health care.
Students, who can enroll through the college’s Admissions Office, still have time to register for fall classes, which begin Aug. 23. Taylor also encourages all applicants to seek out the college’s financial aid program. Tennessee’s Reconnect Program will help pay expenses for adults who have a high school diploma but have not yet earned a college degree or certificate.
For more information regarding the Medical Coding program, contact Chrystal Taylor at ctaylor21@jscc.edu.

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