Berkeley Today Stories
The medical insurance, billing, and coding field offers many advancement opportunities.
Professor Transfers Medical Billing and Coding Skills to the Classroom
Kelly Berge has been teaching at Berkeley College for five years. Ms. Berge has almost 10 years of teaching experience and has worked in the field of medical insurance, billing, and coding for almost 20 years. She entered the profession as a biller and coder and advanced to office manager and director. Ms. Berge still works as a consultant, assisting private physicians with their billing needs.
Ms. Berge has an M.S. in Healthcare Administration from New England College and a B.S. in General Business from Oakland University. She has also earned numerous professional certifications, including Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS); Certified Professional Coder (CPC); and Certified Coding Specialist (CCS).
In addition to teaching, Ms. Berge currently serves as Online Chair, Berkeley College School of Health Studies, and Chair, Medical Insurance, Billing, and Coding.
Ms. Berge’s reflections on teaching students enrolled in the Medical Insurance, Billing, and Coding program are as follows:
Students benefit from professor’s professional background
When I worked as a director, I was responsible for training the medical insurance, billing, and coding staff, making sure they had the best information and were ready to do the work that I was doing in the field. When I started teaching, I just transferred the training of my staff to the training of my students. In class we review billing and coding issues that I encountered in the field. For example, we might discuss how to resolve payment claims when primary and secondary insurance companies are incorrectly billed.
When studying coding, I provide example scenarios. Students can see why a patient presented to the office, what the doctor did during the visit, and the medications that were prescribed. They are then asked to refer to their manuals to find the correct diagnosis codes and treatments codes.
I am not a fan of just lecturing in the classroom. I want students to practice under my guidance what they will be expected to do in the workplace. In addition to drawing from my own professional experience to explain concepts, students may share their personal experiences when visiting doctors’ offices. It’s really during these discussions that connections with the subject are made. One student might share a billing statement, for example. The class then studies the statement and refers to their reference manuals to decipher what the hospital’s coder and biller submitted to the insurance company. Sometimes students find things that they should not have paid and we discuss that too. As students start to understand their own medical bills, they get a grasp of the importance of the profession of medical billing and coding.
Internships and job opportunities
Since I have a good grasp of my students’ strengths and challenges, I work closely with Career Services to place students in rewarding internships before they graduate. It’s not unusual for our billing and coding students to be hired by the companies where they intern.
Medical insurance, billing, and coding is a great profession that offers many advancement opportunities. Graduates of the Certificate program are ready to work in entry-level positions as medical billers. Graduates of the Associate’s degree program can earn advanced certification and are prepared to work as medical coders where they will be expected to follow more extensive guidelines and keep up with changing healthcare codes.
For students who want to continue to move up into management positions in this field, the Bachelor’s degree in Health Management is the next step. If you are good at it, this can be a very lucrative profession.