Certified Patient Account Representatives: Duties and Requirements

Certified patient account representatives require little formal education. Learn about the training, job duties and certification to see if this is the right career for you.

Assisting with medical billing and processing insurance claims are just two things a certified patient account representative does. No formal education is required beyond a high school diploma and while professional certification is not required it is reccommended.

Essential Information

Patient account representatives assist with medical billing and process insurance claims. Although they usually just hold high school diplomas, these professionals may take college courses or pursue a certificate in medical office administration to stand out to employers. While professional certification is not required, it is offered through the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management and the Medical-Dental-Hospital Business Associates. Becoming certified demonstrates proficiency and knowledge of standardized diagnosis and accounting codes used in the health industry.

Required Education High school diploma or equivalent; college coursework or certificate may be preferred
Certification_ Professional certification available
_Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 21% for medical secretaries*
_Median Salary (2015) $34,686 annually for all patient account representatives**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

Certified Patient Account Representative Duties

Work in the patient accounting field primarily involves billing for services rendered. The patient account representative serves as a liaison between patients and insurance providers, and may respond to inquiries from both parties. Patient account representatives also process payments and issue collection notices. According to PayScale.com, patient account representatives earned a median annual wage of $34,686 as of January 2016.

Certified Patient Account Representative Requirements

Education

The minimum education required for a patient account representative is a high school diploma. College coursework in math, accounting and business may be preferred by some employers. Aspiring patient account representatives may consider taking an online course in medical administration that covers the billing process and health information management systems.

Alternatively, a one-year certificate program in medical office administration might provide an introduction to medical terminology, diagnosis codes and insurance forms. Basic skills such as data entry and record keeping also may be taught. Additionally, students may learn about ethical concerns and regulations that effect the healthcare industry.

Certification

Voluntary certification is offered by various professional organizations. Professionals may consider becoming a certified patient account specialist (CPAS), a credential awarded by the Medical-Dental-Hospital Business Associates (www.mdhba.org). CPAS candidates must provide proof of current employment in the industry in order to be eligible to sit for the certification exam.

Another option is the certified patient account technician (CPAT) designation issued by the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management (www.aaham.org). The CPAT is also awarded upon successful completion of a certification exam, although candidates must either have four years of professional experience, or a 2-year degree and two years of experience.

Patient account representatives can voluntarily pursue professional certification to prove their credibility in the field. These professionals perform clerical and administrative duties related to patient billing and insurance claims.


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