Pam Tienter and Jean Pryor | Region 6 – Great Lakes
Hi Region 6 (Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin)!
We are honored to be your National Advisory Board (NAB) members for the Great Lakes Region for 2018-2021. We are looking forward to meeting members in the Great Lakes region and hearing about you and what AAPC is to you. During our three-year term on the NAB, we hope to be resources, cheerleaders, and positive role models for AAPC and members.
Pam Tienter, CPC, CPC-P, CCS-P, COC, CPMA, CPC-I, AAPC Fellow: I live in Mound, Minnesota. I am on a coding team in the medical policy area of UnitedHealthcare (UHC). I work with a great team and we have the challenge of coding medical determinations and benefits. I began my career 30 years ago as a Certified Health Unit Coordinator, before working as a coder in a physician’s office. I got my CPC in 2002. When the multispecialty clinic I was coding for hired consultants to come in and audit and I saw they were also CPCs, the lightbulb went off. While I was learning more and more as a coder over the years, I realized I needed to get out and DO more. I was hired in Coding Compliance at a local payer, where I used all my coding skills to answer questions from providers, maintain reimbursement policies, audit benefits and educate internally and externally. It was great experience to see the claim from the other side of what I knew from working in the physician’s office and to see how much work does go into towards the goal of paying a claim correctly. It was also an eye-opener to see what kinds of things sometimes come in on a claim! I got my CCS-P in 2004 and CPC-P in 2007.
I left for a while to do some auditing and educating and, as crazy as it may sound, I missed the work I’d done on the payer side and that led to a position at UHC. I worked on the Communication, Training, and Education team for their ICD-10 conversion project. This project allowed me to learn so much and do what I love with coding, auditing, and educating. During that time, I became an ICD-10-CM/PCS Trainer and earned my COC, CPMA, and CPC-I certifications.
For three years, I was also an ICD-10 Trainer for AAPC. I went out and taught their 2-day coding boot camp for ICD-10-CM. I looked forward to every class and met so many great people. That experience was a motivator for me applying for the NAB. Remember the U.S. Army slogan “Be All That You Can Be”? Whether you are a non-certified member of AAPC or hold multiple certifications, you can use our knowledge to your best ability and never stop learning and achieving in whatever you do.
Jean Pryor, CPC, CPMA, CPB, CPC-I, CRC, AAPC Fellow, CCS-P, CHAP: Originally born and raised in Kentucky, Ohio has been my home since 1984. I was hired into the medical field without any experience or knowledge of billing or coding. I was offered a position working Monday-Friday making $5 an hour. I was thrilled! My first position was processing workers’ comp claims. I was escorted to my desk, piled high with claims, and told good luck. That was my training.
Three years later I left that position and accepted a position in a provider office. I was sent to a coding and billing seminar where the speaker asked the attendees if anyone was a certified coder. No one raised their hands. He went on to explain about the credential. He said to move up in the field, you need this credential as it is the future. I did not want to stay in this field, much less get this credential. The patients would call the office very distraught and unable to pay their bill. This was quite depressing.
That was 8 credentials and a “few” years ago. I obviously have had a change of heart. Those patients needing assistance with their bills turned into my aunt, my mom, my dad, neighbors, etc. and I had the knowledge to help them.
The revenue cycle process takes a team to make it successful. Coders and billers (and many others) are vitally important to help a provider maintain the ability to keep the office running financially by properly coding services, appeal when needed and knowing the rules and guidelines. Without proper payments, the provider could not afford to keep their office open, update equipment, pay staff and treat patients (our friends and family) in the manner they need and deserve. Coders and billers at times feel like they have a thankless job. We may not have a direct face-to-face encounter with a patient, but on the back end, we remain vitally important to the success in the patient care process.
We are proud to be on the team and you should be too!
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