What is a patient financial specialist in healthcare? It is a career field which applies business skills to the area of healthcare reimbursements. People entering the field find that positions are available, because of the burgeoning healthcare industry. Those in this career are also known as patient representatives.

What do Patient Financial Specialists Do?

When you check into a clinic or hospital for a test or a procedure, the person who takes down your information is probably a patient financial specialist. He or she will ask for your insurance information and then continue with questions about prior health issues and surgeries. If you are registering for a health test, the specialist will verify for you that the procedure is covered under your health insurance or under Medicare or Medicaid. After you leave his or her desk, the patient financial specialist will enter the information into the computer, making sure the data is sent to pertinent personnel such as the physician. According to Glassdoor once the data is logged, the specialist will coordinate your test schedule so that the best use is made of the facilities and the technicians involved. They are also responsible to tell you what preparation you need for diagnostic testing. The specialist may be responsible to make sure that test results and other reports are made available to the professionals involved in your care, and to coordinate their schedules so that a staffing is possible. Patient financial specialists may bill insurance and correspond with representatives of insurance companies as well. In short, it is the job of a specialist to help the patient arrange everything from the scheduling of their procedure to the reimbursement to the medical facility while assisting the medical professionals to coordinate their time with the patient.

How Do I Become a Patient Financial Specialist in Healthcare?

According to Education Portal, entry level positions are actually available with nothing more than a high school diploma. That, however, may limit your employment opportunities. While much of the training is done on the job, applicants with a bachelor's degree are more enticing in the job market and can assume managerial positions. Majors in business and healthcare administration are an asset. In addition, an understanding of business procedures and a strong background in math will give you a springboard to higher wages. These professionals can make more than $34,000 a year, and the predicted job growth rate is 17 percent, which is higher than average. Patient financial specialists should have a working knowledge of medical terminology and the ability to communicate effectively. It is important to be able to work with people who, because you are dealing with health issues, may not be easy to satisfy. That means honing your customer service skills.

Related Resource: Health Data Management

If you are considering a career in healthcare, but do not want clinical contact with patients, this may be the career for you. These people work in clean, well-lit conditions and do not spend long hours on their feet. They should be "people-oriented" and have the ability to work with a variety of professionals. If you do not have a degree, and are not considering earning one, you may still be able to have a career as a patient financial specialist.