Today’s blog post is about a very controversial topic. That being said, I’m a coder who has decades of experience, so I don’t comment on this lightly. This doesn’t come from someone who has no experience and is commenting on something they know nothing about. (Feel free to stop reading now… all, right I warned you!)
I want to discuss the topic of Anatomy & Physiology — or, as we like to call it in the medical coding industry, A&P. Specifically, I want to talk about A&P and billing training.
I have plenty of students ask me about this particular subject, and while I do I believe it has some value, I have something up my sleeve to get you squared away on the topic easier than you might be led to believe by certain college representatives.
Is A&P and Billing Training Necessary?
First, a little about what’s being done in colleges. Whether it’s a local community college or vocational college, if you’re taking a 10-month coding course, you’re likely spending two days a week focusing on the coding aspect, then the other three days of the week learning anatomy and physiology and billing. Add all those days up across a 10-month period and you’ll see that it’s a significant time investment!
During this time, your professors will also be teaching you how to use certain billing software — Medisoft seems to be the one that most schools use. They’ll be loading you up on knowledge about different medical diagnoses and what they mean, how certain procedures work, etc. While this is all valuable for nurses or medical assistants, is it really relevant for medical coders?
Breaking the Silence on A&P and Billing Training
I would argue that medical coders don’t have to know what all of this stuff means. I’m officially breaking the silence on it. I’m tired of all the talk and wasted time that students go through. I would even go far as to say it’s “brainwashing” in a way, particularly when it comes to the salespe-, I mean, “recruiters” for these colleges trying to get you to enroll. They try to make you think that you need five months of A&P training and five months of billing software training, but I don’t think you do.
If you’re fluent with the English language, you can easily get by as a medical coder without significant A&P and billing training. In your day-to-day life as a medical coder, doctors or nurses will be willing to spell out any A&P terms to you. Then, you’ll be able to look those terms up in an alphabetical index in your coding manual to easily find the definition and get the code.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve coded — and I’ve coded at 98-100 percent accuracy. I’ve had almost no claims get rejected over the years, yet I didn’t know what half of the A&P terms meant initially. I do now, because I’ve had a good 20 years in the industry, so I’ve learned a thing or two. But would it have made a difference to know how a certain body part functioned or what a medical term actually meant?
The answer is no.
The Bottom Line on A&P and Billing Training
No matter what anyone else out there tries to tell you, the bottom line is that you don’t need to be spending money on all this A&P and billing training. I might get a lot of heat for this from colleges or instructors out there, but I’m willing to take it because I stand up for what I believe to be true.
You don’t need to invest $20,000 or 10 weeks of your life in additional education to get the adequate medical coding training you need to succeed in this industry. All you need is the determination to complete a short, intensive course and pass the exam for your credentials.