Susan Gochoco, CPC, CEMC, CCVTC, CPC-I, CPB, is the supporting instructor for the Online Medical Billing Course offered at Towson University Continuing and Professional Studies. We recently asked her about her career in healthcare and about teaching at TU. Here’s what she had to say.
Tell us a little about your background.
I’ve been in healthcare for over 25 years. The many positions that I had early on were great stepping stones to where I am currently. My background has really been pivotal in helping me to establish my medical billing career and skill set.
How long have you taught continuing education courses at TU?
My work anniversary is coming up on five years. I started teaching in the classroom and then moved over to supporting online students.
What do you like most about teaching?
I enjoy sharing my knowledge with students who are eager to learn. It is very satisfying to see students reach the ultimate goal! I tend to stay in touch with many students who need help or advice along the way, long after the classes are over.
Why is continuing education important?
Healthcare, like most everything, changes almost every day. Medical billing and medical coding are both areas that require more education to stay on top to be sure you are doing a good job. There are many opportunities to network with other professionals in meetings or conferences hosted by the many different organizations that represent the field.
How do students benefit from earning a medical billing certification?
Students that earn a medical billing credential will become invaluable to healthcare in general. Both medical coders and medical billers are held in very high regard. They really do become the “hub” for reimbursement in their practice, hospital or clinic.
What is the outlook (job availability, income) for certified medical billers in Greater Baltimore?
There are always going to be jobs in billing. As I mentioned, clinics, hospitals and physician practices rely on our expertise to maintain reimbursement while following the many government and industry guidelines. The income structure does vary depending on the responsibility of your position. I can say that some folks who have a four year college degree are typically not making any more than a seasoned biller who works in a larger metropolitan area. The statistics don’t lie!
If you could say anything to someone who is on the fence about becoming a certified medical biller, what would you say?
Do your homework. Talk to people in the industry and find out what it is all about before jumping in with both feet. The dedication it takes to learn and get through the training is difficult, but worthwhile. Billing is a big responsibility, but also very rewarding at the end of the day.
Anything else you would like to add?
If you’re really unsure, reach out to a practice or physician you’re familiar with and ask about shadowing. This will give you a good idea of what a day in the life of a medical biller will be.