AAPC, Medical Coders Make it into Popular Woman’s Mag

In an article posted on its Web site, Woman’s Day recently named medical coding as one of eight legitimate ways someone can work from home.
We’ve been saying it all along — medical coders have a great gig!
The magazine refers readers to the AAPC Web site for more information.

CPB : Online Medical Billing Course

18 Responses to “AAPC, Medical Coders Make it into Popular Woman’s Mag”

  1. Joanne Tenney says:

    I am a recent certified Medical Coder in Connecticut. When I decided to go into this field I wanted to do something in my home. How do I find employers hiring at home coders?
    Thank you
    Joanne Tenney

  2. Janet Snyder says:

    Hi Joanne:
    To get to the heart of the matter, your probably won’t find employers who will hire you to work at home unless you have been coding in a medical health facility for a number of years. The article in the Women’s Day magazine really does a disservice to anyone wanting to go into the field of medical coding or medical transcription. There is no easy path into this profession such as finishing an academic program and then thinking you can start right out from home.
    I have taught and worked in the above-noted professions for years. You will have to work in an office, clinic or hospital to really “get the picture” of what is going on. You can do it, but my suggestion is to try get any position in a medical facility, learn the procedures/coding, etc. for a few years and the think about working at home. Some facilities will not even let their employees work at home even after being employed with them for many years just because of all the HIPAA laws, etc. Best of luck.

  3. Sherrie Parent says:

    Wow! Getting a place in Womens Day magaziene is awesome!! Working from home is an option I hope to have one day as well.

  4. Janet Snyder says:

    Believe me, the Women’s Day magazine does not know what they are talking about.

  5. Cammie Jones says:

    There are legitmate companies out there that employer coders to work from home. The previous poster was right when she advised to get a job in a medical facility, because these companies require a minimum number of years working as a coder, and that you pass rigorous examinations of their own before you can be considered a candidate. If they offer you work, it is generally on a subcontractor basis, so you are responsible for your own taxes and health insurance. Rest assured however, there ARE some hospitals in this area of the country, that are shifting their outpatient coders to work from home on the traditional 40 hour per week schedule. They set their coder up with a laptop and an internet connection, and they are networked to the hospital’s server so that they may access EMR from home. These positions are extremely limited, and should not be considered as a factor when people decide to choose medical coding as their career path.

  6. Margaret Nahmias says:

    The only sure way to avoid a scam, is to work at facility first then see if they will you let work for home. I learned this the hard way.

  7. Margaret Nahmias says:

    The only sure way to avoid a scam, is to work at facility first then see if they will you let work for home. I learned this the hard way.

  8. Margaret Nahmias says:

    The only sure way to avoid a scam, is to work at facility first then see if they will you let work for home. I learned this the hard way.

  9. Wendy says:

    I do not encourage the investment of resources (time & money) to attain the CPC in central Virginia. I attended PVCC and took the exam, passing it in Sept. 2008. I have had a very hard time finding employment as a coder or in a job using coding skills. My local AAPC chapter officers state that their personal opinion is that this area of the country has a glut of coders and the demand is down. I believe the community college system should re-evaluate if they should be offering the coding curriculum because it sets students up for disappointment. In addition to the CPC, I also have a B.A. from the University of Virginia. Not sure how to go about further pursuing a coding career, and am considering not recertifying for ICD-10.
    Anyone have ideas about how to increase employment opportunities for central Virginia coders?

  10. Wendy G says:

    Someone with a B.A. plus a CPC is a highly valuable person! I am HIM Director of a small rural hospital in SE Utah, and I would hire you in a minute! I guarantee there is a lot more than coding going on in an HIM (medical records) department (transcription, chart analysis/assembly, vital records, reviews, reports, filing to name a few). And people are always retiring or moving or dying who need to be replaced. Even just the CPC or CCS is still valuable out West, even if the East is saturated as you say. To the posts about coding from home, I reply don’t give up. Do try to get work in an office or hospital, even as a volunteer filer to get your foot in the door. Opportunities arise once your face is visible. Office space and benefits are being cut from budgets right and left, and HIPAA is relaxing significantly to accomodate out-sourced work/off-site work. We have HUNDREDS of at-home coders in my rural area because we are hundreds of miles from large facilities. Middle-men companies are out there to assist a coder with at least two years’ experience. So good luck and again, don’t give up!

  11. Kim says:

    I live in Virginia and I received my CPC-A in May of 2008. in May of 2009 I received a Certificate of Medical Billing/Coding from my local community college. I have been unable to find a job in Billing or Coding. I find most applicants are looking for a steady work history of 3-5 years in billing or coding. I am very frustrated as 2010 is around the corner with all the code changes. I feel I am slipping slowly behind… I currently work in a large hospital and cannot even get a job here!

  12. Jennifer says:

    I’ve been coding Radiology for over six (6) years now and have been working with a hospital in Phoenix AZ for the last two years. I am the only radiology coder for this particular location (this hospital has two locations) and have been given the opportunity to work at home for the last two years. This opportunity arose because they needed to have a CPC on staff after being audited and they had no work space for me to work internally. It has worked out really well and the work has increased dramatically with the addition of seven (7) radiologists.
    I recommend that if you want to work at home – show that you have the ability to do so. It really takes a special person to code let alone at home.

  13. Louise Slack says:

    There are at home coding jobs and as stated above experience is key. I have a headhunter calling me regularly looking for hospital coders, of course travel is part of this also. For Provider coders it is a little more difficult.
    I found one at home job with a local radiology billing service in the newspaper!
    Get on a list serve for your specialty and ask other coders.

  14. Kristy Pham says:

    Is there any chances for a coder who don’t live in US? If I get CPC, can I find a job at home. I have been working as a biller for a billing agency for 5 years in US (via internet and only some processes of billing, not all because I don’t live there)

  15. R says:

    I am a retired registerd nurse with over 39yrs experience working as a perioperative nurse, GI endoscopy nurse, and a home health nurse. I have succesfully completed the medical coding course with the plan of becoming a remote coder. I will be taking my CPC exam next month. I have been trying to find a job for the last four months hoping to get my foot in the door so I could eventually reach my goal. It has been very frustrating to say the least! I understand that I need to start at the beginning level. I have applied for entry level positions in a large local hospital with no success. I thought it would take me 2-3 yrs. Now I realize how naive I have been. I have misused my time and resources to get a job in a field that I thought, would find my experience and determination an asset. My physical health prohibits me from working in nursing. I’ll keep trying for a while longer, but the cost of obtaining new coding books and keeping up with CEU’s on my own is something I can’t afford without a job. For everyone who is thinking about Medical Coding, if you have your foot in the door keep going! It will happen if you keep trying! If you haven’t got your foothold yet, make a game plan and figure out how much time (for education and being the new kid on the block) that you are willing to give. Ask yourself if I put the same time and effort in to some other field , where will that get me? I’m beginning to think I should have taken my own advice!

  16. Claire says:

    I have just recently looked into medical billing and coding as a profession after being laid off from AT&T after 30 years. I would like to know if western North Carolina is a good area to get my foot in the door.
    I have not started school yet but would prefer to do the training online since we travel to Florida and back throughout the year. I would like a recommendation of a good online school. I spoke to Heather at Allied school in California and it sounds good but expensive – about $5,000. for both billing and coding.
    Can anyone out there give some advice on how to go about this intelligently?

  17. Tia says:

    I have been a medical coder for several different speciality offices for over 15 years. I would recommend anyone interested in pursuing a career as a CPC to first work in a medical office or facility (any position just to get your foot in the door) to see if you have a interest in working in healthcare, and you should enjoy working with numbers. I started in the late 80’s fresh out of business college for accounting and data processing, and was taught coding on the job. It wasn’t until I began my position (8 years ago) as a coding specialist in my current office that my employer paid for my CPC classes and CPC testing at a local college. I had many years of coding, and even I found the course and exam challenging, and I specialize in physician hospital coding. I suggest first see if you like the medical setting, then try to pursue opportunities with your employer before you spend thousands of dollars upfront, hoping for the perfect stay at home job to show up. You will need to earn the trust of any employer / doctor before you will be given a possible opportunity to work from home, and if you love coding it will be worth it. Good luck!

  18. Pam Brooks, PCS, CPC says:

    I read this article with great interest, as it mentioned the opportunity to become a medical coder and work from home. This is extremely misleading to anyone who, based on this article, were to sign up for medical coding/billing courses (some cost in excess of $6,000.00) and expect to immediately remain at home and code for physicians or hospitals.
    I’m not saying that Woman’s Day was irresponsible in reporting this as a valid home based business, but these kinds of work-from-home arrangements in the medical coding field are typically reserved for highly trained and experienced auditors and consultants. Regardless, there continue to be multiple advertisements in magazines, on TV and in newspapers as well as online, suggesting this career path after only weeks of training, promising high-paying positions to entry-level employees. As a medical coder with 21 years experience, I would warn anyone who wishes to pursue this to be extremely careful. Over the years I have spoken to many women, who hoped to have a home career in this field, who faithfully attended the courses (many are not accredited), got a coding “certification” from the school (a ‘certification’ that is not nationally recognized, and essentially worthless), had a 6-8 week externship, during which very few skills were developed, and then couldn’t understand why no physician or hospital would hire them. To even suggest that they might attempt a home-coding business with that level of inexperience is downright dangerous from a compliance perspective.
    Medical coding is not an entry level job. Typically, coders land their positions after several years in the hospital setting as either billing staff, medical administrative assistants or data entry staff. Because of the highly-regulated healthcare billing system, coders must understand the complicated billing and coding rules, they have to be skilled and knowledgeable in anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, medical terminology, AMA documentation guidelines, and Medicare legal policy. Most coders are nationally certified, by either the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) or the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), both of which require rigorous examinations. Errors made by well-meaning but misinformed coders can result in claim denials, requests for refunds by the insurance companies, and even fines or jail terms for physicians (and themselves!) for improper coding and billing activities. Ignorance of the laws and guidelines is not an excuse, and even very skilled and experienced coders have to re-educate themselves weekly, as the CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid) rules change. Furthermore, because of the strict confidentiality rules regarding the protection of personal medical information, home coding must be performed in a simulated office environment; with a secure connection, typically with separate phone and data lines, and always with lockable doors and cabinets and protected separate computer systems. One may not do medical coding in the family room, on the family’s computer with confidential medical records spread on the kitchen table and the family’s eyes on protected medical information. To do so is in direct violation of federal law. In short, home coding is not for the newly trained.
    I know this is a lengthy post but I was surprised that Woman’s Day didn’t do further investigation into this particular career suggestion. The AAPC website is overwhelmed with complaints and requests from new coders who cannot find work because physicians will employ only very experienced coders who can make sure they get their medical claims paid without incurring any legal problems.
    No matter what kind of home career is available, smart workers will take the time to carefully investigate the opportunity before making any financial or time investments in a venture that may not pay off in the end.