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MAKING A MARK: Health care professional trains job seekers in medical coding

Medical coding is a growing industry and it's playing a major role in the fight against COVID-19. Lisa Smith is training people to enter the field.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Vaccines, tests, treatments -- all major elements in the fight against COVID-19 that need medical coding.

Lisa Smith is a 23-year veteran of the health care system. After noticing a shortage of workers in the industry, she opened the Williams Academy of Medical Coding in Virginia Beach last year.

"You take the diagnostics, procedures, and medical services and you assign [an] alphanumeric code to it," said Smith. "And the reason why they do that is for reimbursement purposes for insurance companies."

Smith said the school's one-year certification program is hands-on to ensure students have the skills they need.

"I want to help students to really receive the knowledge and the clinical knowledge of medical coding that they need to get [an] entry-level job as a coder," said Smith.

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"You have to know the clinical basis of the diagnoses, of the procedures. You [have got to] know the body systems and most of all that our data is seen through a lot of agencies," said Smith. "So, it's very important-- very vital-- that coders be accurate in assigning those codes."

With the constant research and developments surrounding COVID-19, Smith said the time for people to consider a medical coding career is now.

Facilities need those coders. They really need those coders," said Smith. "So, I believe that a year-long program is enough to educate them, to get them to the level that when they get placed into an environment, in a medical coding environment, that they will be able to function."

Enrollment is now open for the academy's next certification program, which starts on January 3. The school is also hiring more teachers. For more information, visit the Williams Academy of Medical Coding website or call 757-230-5048.

Author's Note: The video is on file from Sept. 30, 2021.