Overtime for Medical Billing Coders

New York City Employment Lawyer Helping Medical Billing Coders Obtain Their Just Overtime Compensation

Medical billing coders are a type of health information technician. Their primary job is to assign various codes that are then used for billing and reimbursing various healthcare services. Each code is used to describe the patient’s actual diagnosis, as well as the services the healthcare professional rendered to the patient. Medical billing codes vary considerably, often depending on the setting where the medical coder works (that is, whether in a hospital or clinic) and the nature of the medical services that the healthcare professional provides.

The medical coding sets used by medical billing coders are regularly revised and updated. Consequently, billing coders must stay on top of these changes. Moreover, in some instances, medical billing coders are responsible for making sure that both administrative staff and medical professionals are made aware of these updates and changes. Medical billing coders need computer savvy to input medical codes and access electronic records. Finally, medical billing coders may need to review patient medical records for evidence of preexisting medical conditions.

In most cases, medical billing coders have little or no contact with patients or with the general public. However, their work requires accuracy and significant attention to detail.

Medical billing coders may also work in a variety of settings. For example, some coders may work in a private doctor’s office, healthcare clinic, or nursing home. Others may work in hospitals, consulting firms, or insurance company offices.

Many medical coders work a traditional 40-hour workweek. However, since some health information departments remain open on a 24/7 basis, billing coders may work during the daytime, evening, or overnight hours.

Moreover, due to the tedious nature of the work and attention to detail required, some medical billing coders may work overtime—or beyond 40 hours per week. When that happens, the law may entitle medical billing coders to overtime pay.

If you are currently working as a medical billing coder in or around New York City, and you believe that you were denied overtime pay, contact Braverman Law PC as soon as possible. Attorney Adam Braverman can take a look at your unique employment situation and may help you obtain the back pay you deserve.

Earning Potential and Growth for Medical Billing Coders

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual income for medical billing coders in New York is about $42,000—more than the national average salary of about $37,000 per year that health information technicians make.

The projected employment growth for medical billing coders is expected to increase during the coming years, as the population ages—and along with it, an increase in the number of medical treatments, tests, and procedures, leading to the need for more medical billing coders.

Eligibility for Overtime Pay

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) generally governs overtime pay. In an effort to avoid paying overtime, employers typically argue that medical coders fit under the professional or administrative exemptions from overtime established by the FLSA.

An employee will fall under the professional exemption if her salary is high enough and her primary employment duty is the performance of work requiring knowledge of an advanced type in a field of science or learning customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction; or requiring invention, imagination, originality, or talent in a recognized field of artistic or creative endeavor. The administrative exemption will apply if her salary is high enough and her primary duty is the performance of office or non-manual work directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer or the employer’s customers, and her primary duty includes the exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance.

A number of litigated cases, and an opinion of the Department of Labor, have concluded that the medical billing coders are not exempt under these exemptions, and are therefore eligible for overtime compensation if they work more than 40 hours in a given work week.

How Much Is a Worker’s Overtime Pay?

If you are eligible to receive overtime pay, the question naturally becomes, “How much?” Pursuant to both federal law and overtime law in New York state, overtime pay must equal at least one-and-a-half times the regular rate of pay for a particular employee.

For example, if an employee is normally paid $10 per hour and then works overtime, the employee will earn $15 per hour for every hour worked beyond the usual 40.

An employer is not obligated to pay an employee overtime compensation for working more than eight hours in a single workday. Rather, the employer must only pay overtime in the event the employee works more than 40 hours in a given work week.

Talk to a New York City Employment Lawyer Today

The question of eligibility for overtime compensation regularly comes up in the context of medical billing coders. Because medical billing coders do not fall within the “professional” or “administration” exemptions, the law usually entitles them to receive overtime compensation for working more than 40 hours per week.

If you believe that you were wrongfully denied overtime, Braverman Law PC may assist you with recovering back pay compensation.

To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a New York City employment lawyer, please call today at (212) 206-8166, or contact attorney Adam Braverman online.