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Top Online Medical Office Administration Schools

Medical office administrators are the binding that holds a hospital or clinic together. Without medical office administration, bills wouldn’t get paid, supplies wouldn’t be stocked and patient records wouldn’t be kept. Also, not only would surgeries not be scheduled but patients simply wouldn’t get help. In addition to managing hospital departments and clinics, a medical office administrator’s duties are now often including medical coding and health information as the working world becomes increasingly technologically integrated.

Medical Office Administration Management

Online medical office administration schools provide a way to learn how to run a medical office, or to be certified in medical billing and coding, in a way that won't interfere with your current employment or keep you from your personal obligations. Online training in medical office administration can prepare you to manage a medical clinic or private physician's office. Medical billing and coding specialists are trained to assign a universally accepted numerical code that categorizes each symptom, diagnosis, procedure, or treatment a patient receives. Online training in medical billing and coding is widely available at community colleges, vocational schools, medical schools, clinics and online schools.

 

Below are some of the medical office administration focuses available from schools and colleges through SchoolsGalore.com:

Online schools and colleges listed through SchoolsGalore.com specializing in medical administration offer training in medical billing and medical coding as well as many other areas of health care management.

Medical Office Management

Medical office administrators and managers are responsible for running a smooth front office. Their responsibilities can range from scheduling patients and filing medical records to collecting medical bills. They may also be responsible for carrying out department goals and updating procedures for their department. Sometimes, clinical managers will be responsible for managing clinic staff, including assistant medical office administrators who direct the medical office’s daily activities. Clinical areas a medical office administrator may be responsible managing include the departments of surgery, nursing and therapy along with the offices of medical records or health information.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook (BLS.gov, 2012), online training in medical office administration can be provided in a two-year associate degree program or, for those with previous related work experience, a one-year certificate program. Work experience as an assistant medical office administrator can prepare you for advancement even if you don’t have a bachelor’s degree. Online bachelor's and master's degrees in health administration are also available for those who are seeking jobs with more authority and responsibilities but don’t have the practical experience.

The BLS (BLS.gov, 2012) notes that medical and health service managers are often employed in nursing facilities or in physician offices, but most medical administrators work in hospitals or clinics. Like all medical professions, job outlook growth is expected to exceed 20 percent from 2010 to 2020 (BLS.gov, 2012). The BLS (BLS.gov, 2012) also reports in the national median salary for a medical and health care manager, in May of 2011, was $86,400 per year, with earnings varying according to the size of the facility where the administrator was employed (BLS.gov, 2012).

Medical Billing and Transcription

Medical transcriptionists are responsible for transcribing the notes and observations of patients by busy doctors and processing medical paperwork such as patient billing. Transcriptionists must understand what the doctor is saying, or writing, and accurately transcribe the information in a way other doctors and nurses in other buildings, states and even countries can understand.

Medical billing classes teach students to maintain billing records, prepare insurance forms, file claims and how to properly bill insurance companies for services rendered. Courses for billing and transcription can cover such diverse topics as human anatomy and physiology, medical law and ethics, pharmacology, data storage and information management, reimbursement methods and current procedural terminology. Classes also include health care documentation and may include supervised on-the-job training; however, much of the material can be covered by online courses or through distance learning.

Training can include learning about general medical coding in addition to information about HIPAA, insurance (claims, billing, appeals and denials), web technology, reimbursement and Office of Inspector General (OIG) compliance.

Before entering the field as a professional, you may wish to apply for voluntary certification from the American Medical Billing Association (AMBA) to be named a Certified Medical Reimbursement Specialist or certification from the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) which certifies Registered Medical Transcriptionists. Certification may improve advancement opportunities in the medical administration field.

According to the BLS (BLS.gov, 2012), the national median medical transcriptionist salary in May of 2011 was $33,480 per year and job growth was only expected to increase up to six percent from 2010 to 2020 (BLS.gov, 2012). Growth is not expected to be as high as other medical professions as automated transcription technology becomes more productive. However, medical billing does not share such automation.

Clinical Data Analysis and Quality Coding

The purpose of medical coding is to streamline the medical billing process and to ensure correct reimbursement from insurance companies. Students are taught to understand a numerical coding system, such as CPT-4, ICD9 and HCPCS, and how to assign the proper numbers to health care services based on information provided by the care provider. Classes require students to be comfortable with various medical terms and billing procedures.

Like all associate degree programs, it is possible to earn a degree in medical information in two years and be prepared to take an American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) approved certification exam. Certification does not require a degree in medical information or medical office administration, but the courses required for the degree may help you prepare for the certification exam. Classes in medical billing and coding, along with anatomy and physiology, may be invaluable for health coding specialists.

Trained medical coding specialists may apply for certification from Health Information Management Association to be named a Certified Coding Associate or a certified Coding Specialist. With at least two years of professional experience and the right training in coding, graduates may apply to the American Academy of Professional Coders to earn titles such as Certified Professional Coder (CPC), Certified Professional Coder-Hospital (CPC-H), or Certified Professional Coder-Payer (CPC-P). Some coding certifications may require relevant work experience.

According to the BLS (BLS.gov, 2012), the national median salary for a health information technician, in May of 2011, was $33,310 per year and the employment outlook is expected to grow up to 21 percent from 2010 to 2020 (BLS.gov, 2012). According to the AHIMA, certified medical coders can become hospital inpatient and outpatient coders, coding managers, coding specialists and compliance managers. Certification education and classes are available from online schools or directly from the certifiers. AHIMA also offers a recognized certification in healthcare.

Learn more about accredited medical office administration programs from schools and colleges through SchoolsGalore.com:

Remember that some of the most reputable online colleges and certification programs will be accredited. Be sure to verify that your school is accredited by an authorized accrediting agency, such as the Distance Education and Training Council. AHIMA also approves coding certifications and accredits coding education programs; AHIMA provides an easy-to-use search tool for finding both approved certificate programs and approved education programs.

Top schools for medial administration

The following were rated as the five best schools for healthcare management in 2011, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report. U.S. News publishes yearly rankings of graduate schools in both the U.S. and internationally based on multiple statistics including instructor credential an student honor roll.

1.   University of Michigan

2.   University of Minnesota

3.   University of North Carolina

4.   The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

5.   University of Alabama

 

Sources and further reading:

American Academy of Professional Coders

Distance Education and Training Council

American Medical Billing Association

The Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity

The Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education

The American Health Information Management Association’s list of coding professions

The American College of Health Care Administrators’ list of self study programs

The American College of Healthcare Executives’ list of healthcare management professions

U.S. News & World Report

Online Medical Office Administration Schools