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Oswego Career Ladders - Medical Coder

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Medical Coder

Industry: Healthcare
Area: Information

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 is essential in this detail-oriented field of health information management.

Work Settings

Medical coding specialists 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.


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.

Job Outlook

There is an outstanding future for medical coding specialists because of the increased scrutiny over medical records by the government and insurance companies.


Average Annual Salary $28,500

Work Schedule

Regular hours.

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