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What Does a Remote Coder Do?

Cindy Quarters
Cindy Quarters

A medical coder is the person responsible for identifying all medical procedures by a uniform code that is recognized throughout the medical profession.Most medical facilities need coders, including doctor’s offices, hospitals, and rehabilitation centers. While many do this work at the medical offices, a remote coder works from another location, usually his or her home. A remote coder may work for more than one medical facility, depending on the needs of the employers.

Exactly what the remote coder does depends on the type of facility the work is being done for. When working for a doctor’s office, hospital, clinic, or when dealing with any other type of patient care, the remote coder typically is the person responsible for attaching a code to every procedure. It is his or her responsibility to ensure that the correct code is used so that the correct procedure is identified for billing and insurance purposes, as well as for any necessary follow up. This individual takes the patient information and determines the correct code based on the doctor’s chart notes.

Woman with hand on her hip
Woman with hand on her hip

When a remote coder works for a laboratory, he or she must ensure that any incoming paperwork has the correct medical codes on it for the procedure being requested. This is both for billing purposes and to ensure that the correct tests are done. If a code or a procedure doesn’t make sense, the coder can check with the doctor’s office that issued the orders to clarify what is to be done. Once the coder is satisfied that the correct code is associated with the procedure, the lab work can proceed.

Another area in which a remote coder may find employment is with an insurance company. In this case, it is the coder’s job to review all incoming claims and make sure that each one uses a valid code. If a code is not valid for any reason it is up to the coder to reject the claim, and the claimant must correct it and resubmit, if possible. Otherwise, the result is a generally claim that will not be paid.

It is important that a remote coder be fully trained before attempting to work alone. This typically requires at least a 2-year degree, and sometimes a 4-year degree, in a health profession such as health information technology or health care informatics. Before working alone a coder should have worked on site at a medical office or other facility as a coder. Professional certification can also be valuable, as it helps to show that the person has at least a minimum level of knowledge.

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