I Am AAPC: LeAndrea Abercrombie, CPC

I Am AAPC: LeAndrea Abercrombie, CPC


I always wanted to work in the medical field. My original plan was to become a medical assistant and use that position to pay for nursing school. Two years into working and halfway through my bachelor’s degree program, I was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythemosis. My immune system forced me to consider a new career, and medical coding seemed interesting. I finished school fairly quickly. A lot of the classes were the same as a pre-nursing major, but if anybody had bad luck, I felt like I did.

Hurdle One

One month before graduation, the government postponed the ICD-10 implementation; however, my school had already started teaching ICD-10 because ICD-9 was slated to be obsolete by graduation. This meant I didn’t know ICD-9 well enough to sit for a certification exam.

Hurdle Two

My school was AHIMA accredited and encouraged us to take the Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) test; however, the test was suspended indefinitely within weeks of graduation. All of my exam preparation was in vain.

Hurdle Three

I had to self-teach myself ICD-9 because I racked up a huge tuition bill and ran up my credit card with books and study materials.

I began to work with a medical coder. She stated that medical coding was a progressive career and that outpatient was the best way to ease into the career and find where my niche would be.

I was psyched and decided to sit for the Certified Professional Coder (CPC®) exam. Although I had been out of school for a year, I was already working with codes and felt fairly confident and ready. Unfortunately, I failed by an earth shattering 1 percent. The road seemed so long, my career advancement was once again stalled, and I began to question whether this was truly the career for me.

My husband believed I could pass and encouraged me to study. For four weeks, I studied day and night. I applied my studies to the coding I was doing at work. My husband and my father bought all the study materials AAPC had available. One month later, I passed the exam!

Jump Those Hurdles and Never Give Up

It was all about not giving up and having a strong desire to be in the field. I believe my obstacles have shaped me to be committed to the business side of healthcare and I am extremely proud of having the letters CPC® behind my name.


4 Responses to “I Am AAPC: LeAndrea Abercrombie, CPC”

  1. Kelly McPhail says:

    Way to go!!! Your persistence and perseverance are admirable, as is the support of your family. Your story is an inspiration to others who are struggling with life’s challenges while seeking coding credentials. Best wishes to you in your career.

  2. Lorraine says:

    Thank you for sharing your story.

  3. Karen Russo says:

    I have an almost identical story. I thought I wanted to be a nurse after graduating with my BS in Exercise Science. I went to nursing school and thoroughly enjoyed my classes but not clinical. I never graduated and worked in banking but always had this nag to go back into the medical field but in an administrative role. I decided to go back to school for coding. I graduated pretty much with a 4.0 and passed my CPC on my first try. My only hurdle now is getting that first coding job.

  4. Mariah says:

    Thank you for sharing your story! It is very inspiring. It is unfortunate that you had to face so many obstacles, but it sounds like you had a great support system and you continued to let your determination outweigh the challenges.

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