Medical coders have an important role to play in a healthcare system by translating physician reports into relevant medical codes. These codes have various applications, from being used by insurance companies to research organizations. Medical coders communicate with professionals, such as physicians and insurers as well as patients for providing updates about the status of the medical bills.

If you aspire to become a successful medical coder, going through some important medical coding interview questions can help you be well-prepared for appearing for interviews at different organizations. These sample questions can guide you to exhibit your knowledge and display your interest and aptitude for medical coding. Here are some of the most common interview questions for medical coding to help you ace your interview.

Top Medical Coder Interview Questions for 2022

1. What is medical coding?

Medical coding is a process that involves the analysis of a patient’s clinical statements to translate them into standard codes as per the classification system. These translated documents are used by insurance companies in processing and reimbursing claims. Additionally, healthcare organizations, research organizations, and the government may also use this data for research.

2. What are the skills that a medical coder should possess?

Some of the major skills that a medical coder must possess are as follows-

  • In-depth knowledge and understanding of medical terminologies, physiology, and anatomy.
  • Common on different types of diseases and injuries, and the medical procedures that are useful for treating the respective diseases and injuries.
  • A medical coder should be able to read and understand patient charts as well as medical and surgical reports.
  • Since coding conventions are central to the job of medical coders, they are expected to have a good understanding of the classification and coding conventions that are in use. Some common coding conventions include ICD-9, DSM-5, and CDC.
  • They should also possess the skills to use computer-based and paper-based data management systems.

3. What are some common phrases used in clinical coding?

Certain phrases and jargon are used on a day-to-day basis and form an important part of a medical coder’s job, which are as given below-

Abstraction – Determining a patient’s ailments with the help of the patient’s records, reports such as radiology and laboratory reports, and their operation notes among other documents.

Assignment – Appropriate codes are determined for every procedure, and these codes are entered into the system.

Review – The codes assigned are cross-checked for accuracy as to if they explain the condition of the patient and the treatment used. Review is crucial as it helps ensure all the documents are error-free before the data is submitted.

4. What are ICD codes?

ICD stands for International Classification of Diseases, which was established by the World Health Organization (WHO). ICD codes were created to describe diseases, illnesses, injuries, and deaths. These codes have 5-7 characters, a combination of alphanumeric codes. They always begin with an alphabet. There are currently two components to ICD, which are ICD -10 CM (clinical modification codes for diagnostic coding), and ICD-10 PCS (procedure coding system for inpatient procedures performed)

5. What are HCPCS codes?

There are three levels in HCPCS or Healthcare Common Procedure Coding system, which are as follows-

  • The American Medical Association manages Level I, which are a 5-digit number. These codes include CPT codes that help determine medical services and procedures that a physician or a licensed healthcare practitioner has ordered.
  • Level II comprises 4-character alphanumeric codes with four numbers and an alphabet, which is used for identifying services, pharmacies, and products not used in CPT.
  • Level III codes gave 5 alphanumeric characters, which begin with W, X, Y, and Z. When Level I and II are unavailable for diagnosis and specifying certain activities, we use Level III.

6. When are HCPCS modifiers used?

HCPCS modifiers are quite useful for providing extra information about the procedures and services that are used for a patient. These codes are used for specifying the area of the body, the number of procedures performed in a single visit, and the reason for discontinuation of the treatment.

7. What are DRG codes?

DRG is the acronym for Diagnostic Related Groups, which is used for classifying hospital cases into 500 set groups. DRG codes find their application only in inpatient claims spanning from the admission of the patient to their discharge. It is highly crucial to get these codes right as many insurance companies only consider the DRG codes when paying.

8. How is medical coding used in the practical world?

Medical coding is useful in various situations, and it specifically has a financial aspect. Medical coding helps insurance companies to understand how to pay medical claims, and it is also useful in the billing process. In addition to its financial applications, it is also a huge part of studies and research pertaining to diseases and treatments. The medical coding data helps analyze the pattern of diseases in society, which helps governments understand how to come up with programs that combat these diseases.

9. What is the difference between ICD and CPT coding?

The International Classification of Diseases established by WHO is a globally recognized coding system used for describing and diagnosing different medical conditions. On the other hand, the Current Procedural terminology is a coding system used specifically for reporting medical procedures and services such as surgeries, diagnoses, laboratory reports, and radiology reports.

10. What is a “J” code in medical billing?

The ‘J’ code in medical billing is a part of the HCPCS code set which denotes medications administered non-orally and for chemotherapy drugs. The J code is generally a part of the HCPCS Level II Codes.

11. What is the meaning of epistaxis?

The loss of blood from the tissues lining the nose is termed epistaxis.

12. What is ICD-10 CM?

ICD-10, which stands for the International Classification of Diseases, Version 10 is the 10th revision of the original ICD provided by the World Health Organization. These codes are the common and comprehensive convention for reporting and monitoring diseases.

13. What are the common billing errors in medical coding, and how do you prevent them?

One of the common billing errors is not including an adequate amount of information required by the insurance companies for processing a claim. Yet another error in terms of medical coding that is commonly seen is entering the wrong costs or codes. Therefore, it is extremely crucial to review the codes and the documents before sending them.

14. What are the methods for organizing bill payments?

Different offices make use of a variety of methods to organize bill payments, such as digital bill paying portals and paper systems. Therefore, medical coders should be proficient in handling both types of bill payment organizing systems.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How should I prepare for a medical coding interview?

Medical coders are generally hired by healthcare organizations, such as hospitals and clinics for managing patient information and billings. Therefore, as an aspiring medical coder, you should be familiar with the most commonly used coding systems, such as ICD, CPT, DSM, and HCPCS to be able to carry out your job well. Most technical questions of a medical coding interview are related to these coding systems. Furthermore, if you’re an experienced medical coder, you should go through your resume and ensure that you can answer all the questions related to your experience, job role, and your responsibilities at your previous company well.

Hiring managers also ask several medical coding interview questions that cover the behavioral aspect. Questions such as why you want to join our company, how you handle work stress, and ‘how you maintain work-life balance, are a part of the HR round of interviews. Make sure that you’re confident while answering these questions and offer clarity in responses when doing so.

2. Are coding interviews hard?

While medical coding interviews can be moderately difficult with some technical questions that demand in-depth answers, the difficulty level of an interview is highly subjective. If you are confident about your basics and have a strong hold on the technical aspects of medical coding, the interview can be fairly easy for you to crack.

3. Why are you choosing a medical coding career?

Since medical coders need to be well-versed with medical terminologies to be able to carry out their role involving entering, verifying, and updating billing information, they need to have a certain level of interest in the medical field. It is their interest and love for the medical field and their keenness to be a part of the medical industry that drives them to do well. This is why hiring managers may ask this question. Answering this question by providing your personal reason as to why you want to be a medical coder can help you create a good impression.

4. What are the types of medical coding?

The three main types of medical coding are HCPCS and its 3 levels, ICD-9 and ICD-10, and CPT. Medical coders have varying amounts of experience and knowledge in the three coding systems based on which one is predominantly used in the healthcare organization. 

Conclusion

Hope this article was able to give you a fair idea about how you can tackle some of the commonly asked medical coding interview questions and answers. If you are looking to enhance your software development skills, we would highly recommend you check out Simplilearn’s Post Graduate Program in Full Stack Web Development. This course is designed in collaboration with Caltech CTME and can help you hone key coding skills and make you job-ready in just 6 months.

If you have any questions or doubts, feel free to post them in the comments section below. Our team will review and get back to you at the earliest.

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