The Value of Membership in a Professional Organization

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  • November 7, 2018
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As many know, professionalism is a key theme of my term as your National Advisory Board (NAB) President. I hope to motivate all members to “Achieve a Higher Standard” as it is my belief that the value of our credentials is directly related to how we are perceived by the entities that seek to employ coding, billing, compliance, auditing and practice management employees. Our voluntary adoption and adherence to professional standards is what sets us apart from non-credentialed individuals that have developed a similar degree of technical competence on their own.
The term “Professionalism” relates to how we, as AAPC members are perceived. There are many drivers of such a perception. These include technical competence, our individual and collective level of conformance to our Code of Ethics and the image we portray based on how we dress and engage in written, and verbal communication.
The most important driver as to whether we are perceived as professionals is our collective level of technical competence. While AAPC offers members a wide variety of low or no cost educational offerings that will help each of you to advance your level of technical skill, each of us has to put in the work and continually expand our level of knowledge and expertise. We demonstrate our technical competence through the quality of our work product. Beyond adding certifications, AAPC offers a revised fellowship program, which involves no cost, where members can demonstrate their level of expertise by submitting a bachelor’s level white paper on a healthcare business topic of interest.
Adherence to the AAPC Code of Ethics also sets us apart. Conforming conduct to the mandates of the Code of Ethics (Integrity, Respect, Commitment, Competence, Fairness and Responsibility) makes us very different from our non-member/non-certified peers. Living up to the Code of Ethics assures confidence that members will conduct themselves professionally while delivering a high-quality work product.
Regardless of our individual or collective level of technical competence, getting the chance to demonstrate our level of technical expertise often turns on whether we are perceived as “professionals.”  There is an old adage that in business, dress for the job you want not the job you have.  The image you portray often has more to do with whether you are taken seriously than the expertise you possess. While I have the same level of knowledge regardless of how I am dressed, it would be unthinkable to show up to deliver a lecture at an AAPC event or to meet with a physician client in unprofessional attire. Moreover, to do so would be disrespectful to the audience or to the client. We must also consider the image we portray both as individuals and as an organization based on how we communicate. Effective writing permits you to convey concerns and ideas and solutions that can result in change. A poorly articulated argument has little chance of being understood or adopted. Unhinged attacks only demonstrate that you have already lost the argument.
We must also be cognizant of how we communicate on social media. Rants on social media reflect poorly on the individual as well as the organization. The NAB’s Social Media Committee wrestles with the issue of how to productively leverage the power of social media to permit members to network, share ideas and get answers to questions while at the same time keeping the level of discourse professional. I would encourage all that when posting to an AAPC related social media site about a concern or problem, take a breath before teeing off. Be constructive. It is okay to address problems as long as you do so constructively and propose a solution. Unfortunately, there is too much unprofessional discourse in our society. Don’t fall into that trap. Elevate the discourse by being constructive.
AAPC has done an excellent job of promoting the value of our credentials. We can support that value proposition by elevating our level of technical competence while at the same time conducting ourselves professionally at all times in person and on social media. The more professionally we are perceived as an organization, the more value our credentials will have.
Michael D. Miscoe, JD, CPC, CASCC, CUC, CCPC, CPCO, CPMA, CEMA, AAPC Fellow
AAPC NAB President

Michael Miscoe
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Mr. Miscoe, JD, CPC, CASCC, CUC, CCPC, CPCO, CPMA has over 20 years of experience in healthcare coding and over sixteen years as a compliance expert, forensic coding expert and consultant. He has provided expert analysis and testimony on a wide range of coding and compliance issues in civil and criminal cases and his law practice concentrates exclusively on representation of healthcare providers in post-payment audits as well as with responding to HIPAA OCR issues. He has an extensive national speaking background and has been published in numerous national publications on a variety of coding, compliance and health law topics.

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