Medical Billing and Coding Degree

An associate degree in medical billing and coding provides the basic knowledge, skills, and applied studies needed for entry-level positions in the healthcare field.

The goal of the Medical Billing and Coding Specialist (MBC) program is to provide the student with a thorough understanding of the content of the medical record as well as extensive training in anatomy, physiology, the disease processes, and medical terminology. This program will provide the student with the knowledge and understanding to analyze medical records and assign codes to classify diagnoses and procedures while applying the principles of professional and ethical conduct. The program will prepare the student for an entry-level position as a medical coder in a hospital, clinic, physician’s office, or other healthcare facility.

The Medical Billing and Coding associate degree program can be used as a focus toward a bachelor’s degree in Health Information Management through the Finlandia University College of Health Sciences. This is a new program that we are in the process of marketing.

The program can also be used as a focus toward a cross-curricular 2+2 bachelors degree in healthcare management through the Finlandia University International School of Business. It prepares students for careers in a wide range of healthcare-business related occupations including healthcare human resource functions, healthcare finance, office management, healthcare billing and admissions. Learn more about the Healthcare Management 2+2 option.

CLUBS & ORGANIZATIONS

AHIMA – American Health Information Management Association

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) is the premier association of health information management (HIM) professionals worldwide. Serving 52 affiliated component state associations and more than 103,000 health information professionals, it is recognized as the leading source of “HIM knowledge,” a respected authority for rigorous professional education and training.

Founded in 1928 to improve health record quality, AHIMA has played a leadership role in the effective management of health data and medical records needed to deliver quality healthcare to the public.

AHIMA is working to advance the implementation of electronic health records (EHRs) by leading key industry initiatives and advocating high and consistent standards. AHIMA members stay one step ahead through AHIMA’s accreditation of cutting-edge academic programs and professional development opportunities, including comprehensive continuing education.

AHIMA keeps HIM professionals posted on the healthcare industry through resources to improve their knowledge, skills, and abilities.

AAPC – American Academy of Professional Coders

AAPC was founded in 1988 to provide education and professional certification to physician-based medical coders and to elevate the standards of medical coding by providing student training, certification, ongoing education, networking, and job opportunities. Since then, AAPC has expanded beyond outpatient coding to include training and credentials in documentation and coding audits, inpatient hospital/facility coding, regulatory compliance, and physician practice management. Currently, AAPC has a membership base over 156,000 worldwide, of which nearly 104,000 are certified.

AAPC credentialed coders have proven mastery of all code sets, evaluation and management principles, and documentation guidelines. They represent the best in the medical coding career field.

Scholarships

Scholarship Opportunities

Program Policy

Medical billing and coding degree program policies are presented in the MBC Student Handbook distributed to students upon entry into the technical component of the program. Students who have successfully completed the first year of the billing and coding curriculum are required to complete a letter of application for entry to the technical component. A limited number of eligible students are accepted to the technical component each summer, based on available clinical site placements. If the number of eligible applicants exceeds the number of positions available, the faculty reserves the right to select the applicants based on academic qualifications and performance. The remaining applicants will be placed on a waiting list and are encouraged to apply for admission to the technical component the following year. Transfer students are advised to contact the medical billing and coding associate degree program director for assistance planning their academic plans of study.

Progression Criteria

Progression into the technical component (second year) of the MBC program requires the following:

  1. Successful completion of the first-year Medical Billing and Coding curriculum with a minimum GPA of 2.5.
  2. Successful completion of all required coursework with final grades of “C” or better. Required courses may be repeated only once.

ONCE ADMITTED TO THE TECHNICAL COMPONENT OF THE PROGRAM, STUDENTS ARE REQUIRED TO:

  1. Maintain a GPA of 2.5 and earn at least a “C” in all courses. Required courses may be repeated only once.
  2. Complete all sequentially numbered courses in order. Note: some courses are only offered once per year. All prerequisite courses must be successfully completed prior to entering the final externship.
  3. Demonstrate the professional and academic behaviors as outlined in the MBC Student Handbook.

PARTICIPATION IN THE CLINICAL SETTING EXTERNSHIP REQUIRES THE FOLLOWING:

  1. Written documentation of a current criminal history check 30 days prior to entry into the externship component of the Medical Billing and Coding associate degree program.
  2. Submission of the required health forms, including a recent physical examination completed by a licensed health care provider, documentation related to sensitivity or allergy to latex, and a current immunization record for tetanus/diphtheria, polio, measles, mumps, and rubella. Proof of immunization for Hepatitis B is recommended; students who do not wish to comply must sign a waiver to decline and a Release of Responsibility form obtained through the Medical Billing and Coding program office.
  3. Yearly documentation of a negative skin-test (2-step), or chest x-ray, for tuberculosis.
  4. Submit evidence of current training and certification in CPR and basic first aid.
  5. Uniforms and attire that comply with the dress code as outlined in the MBC Student Handbook.
  6. Although health insurance is not required, it is strongly recommended. Finlandia University and its affiliated health care agencies assume no responsibility for injuries or illnesses incurred while performing duties as a Medical Billing and Coding Specialist.

Admission Policies

Incoming students apply to the medical billing and coding degree program through the Office of Admissions. Admission to the first year of the MBC program requires the successful completion of one full year of high school algebra and two full years of high school science in biology and anatomy/physiology or chemistry, all with a minimum grade of “C”; and a minimum cumulative high school GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 point scale.

Transfer students who wish to enroll directly into the final year (three semesters) of the medical billing and coding associate’s degree program must meet the required academic standards and progression criteria. Completed college-level courses require a minimum grade of “C” and a cumulative college GPA of 2.5 or better. The number of students enrolled in the final year of the program is limited.

Successful completion of the first-year Medical Billing and Coding Specialist curriculum does not guarantee enrollment in the technical phase of the MBC program. The exact number of students admitted is determined each year by the MBC program director based on academic performance, the availability of clinical site rotations, and available resources. Student admission to the MBC program is considered without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age.

STUDY ABROAD OPPORTUNITIES

Finlandia believes it is important for the student to be exposed to the world. By fostering exchange relations with foreign learning institutions we are able to bring experts from around the world to teach on campus and offer students the opportunity to attend college overseas.

International Study Programs International Admissions (906) 487-7208 | international@finlandia.edu.

Graduation/Employment Data

Bureau of Labor Statistics for Medical Records and Health Information Technicians.

Licensing/Certification Exam Data

Graduates of the Finlandia University Medical Billing and Coding Specialist Program are eligible to sit for the following coding certificate exams. Finlandia is proud to be the only place of higher education in the western Upper Peninsula to provide the education needed to sit for these exams.

American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)
• CCS (Certified Coding Specialist)

American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC)
• CPC (Physician Practice)
• CPC-H (Outpatient Hospital/Facility)

Additional Links and Forms

What you will learn

The Medical Billing and Coding Specialist curriculum provides the educational foundation for entry into the field of medical coding within a healthcare organization. Educational experiences are organized within the framework of identified collegiate competencies. Curricular content increases in scope and complexity as the student progresses towards successful completion of each of the core competencies required for graduation from the Medical Billing and Coding Degree program.

Graduates will be able to:

  • exhibits effective interpersonal written and oral communication skills required for successful performance in the healthcare environment with the ability to read and understand medical documentation, diagnoses, and procedures, and ensure that documentation supports the diagnosis and procedures performed.
  • applies knowledge of medical terminology, the disease process, anatomy and physiology, and pharmacology to analyze medical records and assign codes.
  • demonstrates personal and social responsibility for the safe and effective delivery of healthcare services; integrates knowledge of ethical and legal responsibilities into the workplace environment of healthcare organizations.
  • will think critically, write and speak effectively, use basic computer applications, and understand human behavior in the context of the greater society.
  • demonstrates sensitivity of cultural, spiritual, and religious influences when providing care to individuals in non-emergent health care environments.
  • possesses the necessary entry level billing and coding skills to practice as a medical billing and coding specialist in a variety of practice settings.
  • is successful in qualifying for certification/registration.

Sample Courses (CORE)

  • Procedure Coding
    Introduces the student to a coding system used by physician’s offices and outpatient facilities for coding outpatient procedures. The course will include instruction on how to analyze, assign, and sequence coding procedures in the CPT and HCPCS coding systems. Includes laboratory. Available fall semesters. Prerequisite CIS 102, HSC118, and MAS 207.
  • Diagnosis Coding I
    Introduces the student to ICD-10-CM data set used for reporting diagnoses. This course will also include instruction on how to classify and index diagnoses in the healthcare setting. The various uses for diagnosis codes will be discussed as well. Includes laboratory. Available fall semesters. Prerequisite CIS 102, HSC118, and MAS 207.
  • Health Information Systems
    Examines the application and use of information technology in clinical and managerial decision-making. Emphasizes information technology that supports the delivery of services including the collection, storage, retrieval, and communication of data; information systems safeguards; ethical and legal issues; and information management that promotes patient safety and quality of care. Available spring semesters. Prerequisites: CIS 102, HCM 412.

Career Opportunities

Community Health Centers, Hospitals, Long Term Care Facilities, Outpatient Clinics, Ophthalmologists’ Offices, Optometrists’ Offices, Physicians’ Offices, Chiropractors’ Offices, Specialized Health Care Centers
Samantha Saint-OngeMedical Assisting/Medical Billing and Coding Program Director Finlandia Universitysamantha.saintonge@finlandia.edu906-487-7367

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