How can I get a certification to work as a medical billing advocate?
The most professional way is to attend an online course as the one offered here....http://www.extension.ucr.edu/academics/certificates/io_medical_coding.html. You can choose a less expensive course at many other private online vocational schools...but you will get what you pay for.
I am an effective medical billing advocate as well as a patient healthcare advocate. In business since 1990, I have never sought certification in either arena. I learned my subject matter by internet research and hands-on experience, which none of the billing or advocacy credentials offer, if I am not mistaken. The best teacher, in my opinion, is experience and the opportunity to informally intern under the wing of an experienced professional. There you will learn the ins and outs of the profession and have an opportunity to safely make your mistakes before heading out on your own.
Unless you gain experience working in a billing department, any certification process is half the price. Knowing basic medical coding or looking at a fee schedule is a small part of being a billing advocate. Hands on experience cannot be beaten, as so much of the concrete information and skills you will need cannot be found on the internet or in manuals.
I was a billing manager in several specialties for 20 years, and know processes, back channels and tips learned on that job. I also have a certification as a mediator. This training has proven very valuable when negotiating.
You don’t need certification to work as a medical billing advocate.
I have been in the healthcare field for many years, auditing practice manager, billing manager and teaching medical billing at a local vocational school etc so, I have a strong background in the billing side of healthcare.
When I decided to become a medical bill advocate I took a course through Medical Bill Advocates of America. It was the best thing I could have ever done. See Pat Palmer’s post on this board.
Their course will teach you things you never knew. So, I would highly recommend starting there. The course will teach you how to start your own business, from marketing to getting clients and speaking engagement. The ins and outs of healthcare for physician and hospital coding. What to look for, what not to waste your time on etc. It well worth the money to purchase the course!
Another great help was obtaining membership with patient advocacy groups for ideas or to get feedback on a problem you might in counter along the way.
Best of luck to you!
Cheryl Welch, MBA
Hudson Valley Medical Bill Advocates
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