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Medical Biller and Coder vs Phlebotomy

Medical Biller and Coder vs Phlebotomy

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Key Points:

  • Medical Billers and Coders process medical claims, while Phlebotomists collect blood samples and perform other lab tests.
  • Medical Billers and Coders typically earn higher salaries than Phlebotomists.
  • Both fields have good job prospects.
  • Medical Billing and Coding often requires an associate's degree or certificate program, while Phlebotomy training can be completed through a certificate program or on-the-job training.
  • Medical Billing and Coding training is generally more expensive and takes longer (1-2 years) compared to Phlebotomy training (1-6 months).

If you're considering a career in the medical field but don't want to spend years in medical school, you may be interested in vocational training programs. Two popular options are medical billing and coding and phlebotomy. Both of these careers offer opportunities for stable employment and the chance to make a difference in the healthcare industry. In this blog post, we will compare the roles of a medical biller and coder and a phlebotomist, as well as the education and training required for each. We'll also discuss the career outlook and salary potential for each profession.

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What is a Medical Biller and Coder and Phlebotomy?

  • Medical Biller and Coder: Medical billers and coders are responsible for ensuring that healthcare providers are properly reimbursed for the services they provide. They review patient records and assign the appropriate codes for procedures and diagnoses. They also handle billing and insurance claims, ensuring that all required documentation is accurate and complete. Medical billers and coders need to have a strong attention to detail and a solid understanding of medical terminology and coding systems.

  • Phlebotomy: Phlebotomists are healthcare professionals who specialize in drawing blood from patients for medical tests, donations, and transfusions. They work in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare settings. Phlebotomists must have excellent communication skills and be able to put patients at ease during the blood collection process. They also need to have a strong knowledge of anatomy and physiology, as well as the ability to follow strict protocols and procedures to ensure patient safety.

Difference between a Medical Biller and Coder and Phlebotomy

While both medical billers and coders and phlebotomists play important roles in the healthcare industry, there are some key differences between the two professions:

  • Job Responsibilities: Medical billers and coders primarily work behind the scenes, ensuring that healthcare providers receive proper reimbursement. They spend their time reviewing patient records, assigning codes, and working with insurance companies. Phlebotomists, on the other hand, have direct patient contact and are responsible for collecting blood samples. They need to have excellent bedside manner and the ability to work quickly and accurately.

  • Work Environment: Medical billers and coders typically work in administrative roles within hospitals, clinics, or other healthcare facilities. They spend the majority of their time working at a desk, reviewing patient records and communicating with insurance companies. Phlebotomists, on the other hand, work directly with patients in hospitals, clinics, and other medical settings. They may also need to travel to different locations to collect blood samples.

  • Career Advancement: Both medical billers and coders and phlebotomists have opportunities for career advancement. Medical billers and coders can become certified in different coding systems and specialize in areas such as oncology or emergency medicine. They may also advance to supervisory or management roles. Phlebotomists can also pursue certification in specialized areas, such as pediatric phlebotomy or geriatric phlebotomy. They may also choose to further their education and become medical laboratory technicians or technologists.

Medical Biller and Coder vs Phlebotomy: Job Description

  • Medical Biller and Coder: The primary job of a medical biller and coder is to ensure that healthcare providers receive proper reimbursement for their services. They review patient records and assign the appropriate codes for procedures and diagnoses. They also handle billing and insurance claims, ensuring that all required documentation is accurate and complete. Medical billers and coders often work closely with insurance companies, patients, and other healthcare professionals to resolve billing issues and ensure timely payment.

  • Phlebotomy: Phlebotomists are responsible for collecting blood samples from patients for medical tests, donations, and transfusions. They work directly with patients, explaining the blood collection process and calming any fears or anxieties they may have. Phlebotomists also need to ensure that blood samples are properly labeled and stored for transport to the laboratory. They may also be responsible for maintaining phlebotomy equipment and following strict infection control procedures.

Medical Biller and Coder vs Phlebotomy: Education and Training

  • Medical Biller and Coder: To become a medical biller and coder, you will need a high school diploma or equivalent. Many employers also prefer candidates who have completed a postsecondary certificate or associate degree program in medical billing and coding. These programs typically include coursework in medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, coding systems, and healthcare reimbursement. Some programs also offer opportunities for hands-on experience through internships or practicum experiences.

  • Phlebotomy: The educational requirements for phlebotomists vary by state and employer. Some states require phlebotomists to be certified, while others do not. Certification is typically obtained through a postsecondary certificate program in phlebotomy, which can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to complete. These programs include coursework in anatomy and physiology, blood collection techniques, infection control, and medical terminology. Some programs also include a clinical component, where students gain hands-on experience in a healthcare setting.

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Medical Biller and Coder vs Phlebotomy: Career Outlook and Salary

  • Medical Biller and Coder: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of medical records and health information technicians, which includes medical billers and coders, is projected to grow 8 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is driven by the increasing demand for healthcare services and the need for accurate and secure electronic health records. As of May 2020, the median annual wage for medical records and health information technicians was $44,090.

  • Phlebotomy: The BLS does not provide specific data for phlebotomists, but they are included in the broader category of "medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians." Employment in this field is projected to grow 7 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is also driven by the increasing demand for healthcare services and the need for diagnostic tests. As of May 2020, the median annual wage for medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians was $54,180.

Final Thoughts

Both medical billing and coding and phlebotomy offer promising career opportunities in the healthcare industry. The choice between the two ultimately depends on your interests, skills, and career goals. If you enjoy working with numbers, have a strong attention to detail, and prefer a behind-the-scenes role in healthcare, medical billing and coding may be the right choice for you. On the other hand, if you have excellent communication skills, enjoy working directly with patients, and have a strong interest in laboratory work, phlebotomy may be a better fit. Regardless of which path you choose, both careers offer stability, opportunities for advancement, and the chance to make a positive impact on the lives of others.

Dreambound offers programs in multiple locations. For in-depth information on the intricacies of these two vocations, their prerequisites, and steps to join, explore the following blogs:

Joanna Paragas
Written by
Joanna Paragas

Joanna Paragas is part of the Growth team at Dreambound. Her primary role involves creating various automation to streamline workflows and make tasks more efficient for the entire team. Beyond her professional endeavors, Joanna enjoys spending her free time playing with her dogs and enhancing her knowledge by enrolling in online courses.

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