The medical billing and coding industry is seeing some major changes thanks to an aging population, huge healthcare reforms, and technology advances. It’s an exciting time to begin medical billing and coding careers because you are highly in demand; in fact, the shortage of qualified coders is expected to reach 50% by the end of the year! Here are a few reasons for this gap between supply and demand and why now is the time to start your medical coding career.
A growing profession in a growing field
To put it simply, more people need more medical treatment. Due to the Affordable Care Act, electronic health records, and an aging population, the healthcare industry is exploding. In fact, the Department of Labor projects healthcare industry jobs to increase more than any sector within the next decade. Specific to you, the demand for medical record professionals (which includes medical coders and billers) is projected to increase by 22%.
This month, the country bid adieu to an outdated coding system and adopted ICD-10. Since this new coding system has roughly 68,000 ICD-10-CM codes and 76,000 ICD-10-PCS codes, some medical coding professionals may prefer to retire rather than learn a whole new animal. This means more employers hungry for more coders. Torrey Barnhouse, president of health information service provider TrustHCS, even said that while there is a 20-30% shortage of medical coders at any time, this deficit is likely to grow to 50% with the ICD-10 adoption.
Additionally, the ICD-10 adoption is causing a drop in productivity as hospitals, providers, and coders are becoming accustomed to the new system. Companies will need extra coding hands, in-house and/or outsourced, as they adjust.
According to an ICD-10 readiness survey, 63% of healthcare facilities said they will directly hire more coders and 25% said they will outsource for additional coding services to keep up with demand. For health information providers like TrustHCS—and coders like you—the growing demand for medical coders represents a huge opportunity.
Now is the perfect time to launch your medical billing and coding career: the current high demand for coders ensures that you can not only find a good job, but that you can also find a career that fits your needs. Flexibility to work from home, attractive benefits packages, bonus incentives—as a qualified professional trained in ICD-10, you have the power to negotiate for what matters to you.
Not yet fully qualified? Be sure to choose a quality certification program like Career Step’s online medical coding training that fully prepares you for ICD-10 coding so you can take full advantage of this unique and rewarding career opportunity.