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Beckfield College Prepares Students for Major Change in the Healthcare Industry

FLORENCE, Ky. (September 28, 2015) – On Oct. 1, the medical field will undertake a dramatic change by updating the way physicians and hospitals code all diagnoses, symptoms, and procedures. Recognizing how difficult this undertaking will be, Beckfield College began preparing their students for this medical coding update more than a year ago.

The United States’ health system is updating its current medical coding system, known as ICD-9, which is more than 35 years old, to ICD-10. ICD stands for the International Classification of Diseases, which is the health system’s list of up to seven character alphanumeric codes that describe diagnoses.

The ICD coding system was put into place to help reduce health care costs and to create uniformity in the healthcare field. ICD-10, which is the 10th revision of the code, goes into effect on Oct. 1, 2015, meaning Medicare and Medicaid claims will only be accepted if they contain valid ICD-10 codes.

“There are many big changes coming to the medical coding industry and we want our students to be prepared for the field,” said Dolores Dominguez, Dean of Allied Health at Beckfield College. “At Beckfield, we are providing state-of-the-art education by preparing our students for the upcoming ICD-10 changes through workshops and classroom training. This gives our students an advantage.”

Medical coding is an important component of the healthcare industry. It creates uniformity, paints a clear picture of a patient’s diagnoses, helps with research, helps to reduce healthcare costs, and allows for payment from third parties.

A group of physicians developed ICD-10 because it felt ICD-9 didn’t provide the needed detail in patient care. Standardizing codes improves consistency among physicians in recording patient diseases and disorders for the purpose of payer claims, reimbursement, and clinical research.

ICD-10 is far more in-depth than ICD-9, enhancing the complexity of coding for patient care. These changes require qualified medical coders with in-depth knowledge about ICD-10. That’s where Beckfield College comes in.

Beckfield prepared for this change early on by adapting its curricula to meet industry needs. The college’s medical billing and coding program started providing ICD-10 coding classes last year and completely switched over to ICD-10 training in the past quarter.

“Beckfield has a strong medical billing and coding program,” Domiguez said. “We are one of the few programs that goes above and beyond by teaching advanced coding, auditing, medical reimbursement, and hospital coding.”

Typical training in this program takes about one to two years. Beckfield offers a Diploma program for full-time students. The college also offers an Associate Degree, which typically takes two years for full-time students and prepares graduates for coding needs in both physician offices and hospitals.

“There is a huge difference in physician coding and hospital coding,” Domiguez said. “Physician coding utilizes a separate set of manuals and different coding software than the hospitals. If our students want to do coding at a hospital, they need to have a greater understanding of anatomy, physiology. and medical terminology. We provide training in all of these.”

A student studying medical billing and coding has many career options. He or she can work in any billing and coding setting — from hospitals, physician offices, insurance companies, and clearinghouses, which are companies that function as intermediaries between healthcare providers and insurance payers.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of medical coders is projected to grow 22 percent from 2012-2022, much faster than most occupations.

About Beckfield College

Beckfield College is a degree granting institution of higher learning dedicated to preparing learners for relevant professional, technical, and business careers in a diverse, ethical, student-centered environment. Academics are offered at campuses in Florence, Ky. and Tri-County-Cincinnati, and online. Programs vary by location. Beckfield College has been offering academic excellence for more than 30 years.

Beckfield College is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS). The Florence, Ky. campus is licensed by the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education. The Tri-County Cincinnati campus is approved by the Ohio Board of Career Colleges and Schools. (Reg # 08-05-1857T.) Beckfield College is also authorized by The Indiana Board for Proprietary Education.


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