Rank Your Professional Standards

Find out if your work habits will help or harm you in preparing for ICD-10 implementation.

ICD-10 forces you to look at clinical documentation and how you code in a new way. The new diagnosis code set, which goes into effect Oct. 1, 2014 also requires a higher standard of excellence. I’m gearing up for ICD-10 implementation by gathering assessment tools, going to seminars, giving presentations, living inside my ICD-10 book, and taking stock of everything that needs to be done. In the midst of preparing, I came across an assessment quiz in a magazine that classified me by dog breed (I’m a lab, by the way.). I love a fun quiz, so I created my own for medical business professionals. Take this quiz to assess whether your work standards will see you through ICD-10 implementation.

Do You Have What It Takes?

Keep track of your answers (a, b, c, or d), and rank yourself at the end.

You’re lucky because you work from home. Your shift starts at 8 a.m. You:

a.  Wake up at 7:30 a.m. to brush your teeth, get dressed, make coffee, and read your personal emails before starting work at 8 a.m.

b. Wake up at 7:55 a.m., quickly start your coffee pot, and slide into your chair in time to start at 8 a.m.

c. Wake up at 7:58 a.m., punch in, leisurely make your coffee, and sit down to start working about 8:15 a.m.

d. Wake up at 7:59 a.m., roll over to grab your phone to punch in, and fall back to sleep for a few more hours.

At work, your cubicle is next to a woman who gets at least five personal phone calls a day, plus many text messages. Her conversations and the constant buzzing from the texts are very distracting to you. You:

a.  Ask your neighbor to get coffee with you. During the break, you explain that her phone habits are distracting to you, and that you’re having difficulty getting your work done. You ask her if she can mute her text notifications and talk quietly when she’s on the phone.

b.  Complain to your boss, and ask her to talk to your co-worker.

c.  Rant to other co-workers about your neighbor’s irritating behavior.

d.  Rage builds every day, until you finally storm around the corner of your cubicle to yell at her.

You glance up at your calendar to see that next week is your AAPC chapter meeting. You:

a. Will be there. You rarely miss a meeting.

b. Will probably go if nothing else comes up. You’ve been to five meetings in the last 10 months. That’s pretty good!

c. Feel guilty because you haven’t been to a single meeting all year. You vow to go to this one; although, deep down you know that you probably won’t attend.

d. Ha! There is no way you’ll give up an evening to go to a meeting when you don’t get paid for it.

You’re at an AAPC conference and having a blast. You went out to dinner with a few new friends and stayed out way too late. It’s 12:30 a.m. and the general session starts at 8 a.m. You:

a. With a groan, set the alarm for your usual time (6:30 a.m.), so you have time to shower, eat, and get a good seat before the general session starts.

b. Quickly calculate exactly how long you’ll need to get ready in the morning (20 minutes?), and set your alarm for 7:30 a.m. You can eat a protein bar while listening to the general session.

c. Skip the general session. You’ll be ready by the time the first breakout session of the day starts.

d. Roll into the general session five minutes before the end so you can get the continuing education unit (CEU) code (Note: This is strictly against the rules. If you weren’t present for the session, you shouldn’t claim CEUs for it).

The latest edition of Healthcare Business Monthly has arrived. You:

a. Read every article. It’s important to keep up your knowledge in all areas because you never know when it might come in handy.

b. Glance through the issue and read the articles that pertain to your current position.

c. Make a mental note to read it (like you do every month), and place it at the top of the stack of past issues you still need to read.

d. “File” it away in the blue recycling bin, like you do every month.

At work, there is a new coding and billing extern. You:

a. Introduce yourself and offer to have her sit with you for an afternoon to show her a few things.

b. Introduce yourself and go back to working.

c. Avoid contact. You don’t want to get bogged down with helping an extern. You have way too much to do already.

d. Roll your eyes and think, “Great, another extern! They ask stupid questions and suck up your time.”

ICD-10 is coming. You:

a. Set aside 10 minutes a day to study the ICD-10 guidelines in the draft version you already own. There is an AAPC ICD-10 Boot Camp in a nearby city, so you ask your boss if you may attend and help to lead the educational effort at your office.

b. Ask your boss if you can attend an AAPC ICD-10 Boot Camp in the next couple of months.

c. Wait until closer to implementation time and find a boot camp to go to next summer.

d. Implementation is almost a year away! You’ll do what your boss tells you to do, but until then, you’re going to stay happily in denial.

How often do you educate your physicians about coding and/or billing?

a. All the time. You’re always looking to improve their documentation and identify appropriate ways to increase reimbursement for the work they do.

b. Often. You attend their quarterly physician meetings to talk about coding and billing trends. You send monthly emails to each physician with relevant information, too.

c. Occasionally. Talking to the physicians makes you nervous, but once or twice a year you send out an email with a few tips, and ask if anyone has questions.

d. You don’t have time for that—and if you did, you’d rather spend it doing anything other than arguing with physicians about coding and billing.

You’re invited by your physicians to talk about billing and/or coding at their next staff meeting. You:

a. Look back over their trends for the last few months to prepare a presentation that will meet their specific needs.

b. Create a handout with reminders about the things you know they forget to do. You formulate the talk you’ll give on the drive to the meeting.

c. Pull out your standard lecture that you give to all new physicians. You’ll skip a few points, but it should work fine.

d. Are terrified at the thought of speaking in front of your physicians. You make up any excuse to get out of it.

Your usual work attire for the office is:

a. Dress for success: dress pants, blouse, and jacket

b. Professional: pants and a sweater

c. Comfortable and clean: khakis, T-shirt, hoodie, and tennis shoes

d. HOT: A short skirt, low-cut top, and your sexy, strappy sandals. Yee haw!

Scoring

Mostly As: Awesome! You’re a rock star, who is serious about your career and about being the best you can be. I admire your integrity and dedication to excellence. Keep it up!

Mostly Bs: Good job! You’re committed to fulfilling the duties of your job and doing them reasonably well. Most people fall into this category. You probably have a couple of habits you should improve. The next time your inner voice says, “Gosh, I should do that, but it’s OK if I don’t,” just remember: It’s OK if you don’t, but do you want to be just OK? Imagine how proud you’ll feel if you step up and go the extra mile.

Mostly Cs: You do what you have to do at work—no more, no less. It’s a job and you need a paycheck—period. What’s important is what happens after you clock out.

You spend almost half of our waking life at work: 40 hours plus lunch and breaks, time getting ready, and time commuting. That works out to be about 45-60 hours a week of work-related time, and leaves approximately 50-60 hours of free time. For something that takes up half of your life, you should make the most of it. Doing your best at work will make you proud, boost your self-esteem, and give you a sense of accomplishment and belonging to something bigger than you. It will allow you to feel valued for your contributions, intelligence, and knowledge. Give it a try!

Mostly Ds: Wow! Now might be a good time to assess your behavior and make some big changes. For example, if your physicians don’t seem to take you seriously, think about what you can do to change that. Look at the way you present yourself—appearance says a lot about a person; and check your own attitude—your own fears and insecurities may be the root of your problem.

For me, writing this quiz showed me a couple things I’d like to improve and I hope it showed you that being an “excellent” medical business professional comes from the choices you make.

Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Let’s make a commitment to be a little more excellent, every day.

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Bio: Erin Andersen, CPC, CHC, is a compliance specialist at Oregon Health & Science University. She has over 10 years of coding and compliance experience. Andersen was president of the Portland, Ore., Rose City local chapter in 2013, and a 2012-2015 Region 8 representative for the AAPCCA board of directors.

John Verhovshek

John Verhovshek

John Verhovshek, MA, CPC, is Managing Editor at AAPC. He has covered medical coding and billing, healthcare policy, and the business of medicine since 1999. He is an alumnus of York College of Pennsylvania and Clemson University, and a member of the Asheville-Hendersonville AAPC Local Chapter.
John Verhovshek

About Has 402 Posts

John Verhovshek, MA, CPC, is Managing Editor at AAPC. He has covered medical coding and billing, healthcare policy, and the business of medicine since 1999. He is an alumnus of York College of Pennsylvania and Clemson University, and a member of the Asheville-Hendersonville AAPC Local Chapter.

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