Message From Your Region 1 Representatives: Stephanie Sjogren and Stephanie Thebarge 

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  • May 22, 2019
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Ten years ago, I was only a few years into coding, billing, and this industry. I was out of school, but still a rookie and if you had told me then that I would stand up and speak in front of so many awesome people HEALTHCON, I would have laughed and said, “Yeah, ok!” When you first graduate or pass the Certified Professional Coder (CPC®) exam, you think, “Wow, I know all the things!” Then you get your first job, and realize you know nothing, like Jon Snow from Game of Thrones.
Navigating your way through your career can be challenging and daunting. But here is what I learned along the way from my experiences and from others.
You won’t get your dream job overnight and you won’t learn everything there is to know just by passing an exam. Dream jobs take time and you need patience in the career process.
Never Stop Learning
This is forever true. Knowledge is power ― or insert any other cliché phrase you want here ― but it is true. You don’t have to be an expert in everything, but knowing a little about a lot of things will help you find the correct answers more quickly.

Be a Subject Matter Expert (SME)

Be a SME in one area or multiple areas. Whether you are a forensic auditor or in risk adjustment, choose a part of this field that you love and dive in. Find the niche that will set you apart from the rest.


HEALTHCON 2019 is over, but we still have regional conferences in New York City and Seattle, Washington this year to look forward to. This is not a shameless plug; it is the truth. I went to my first conference not too long ago (in 2016), when I was invited by a company that wanted feedback for their auditing program. I took advantage of this opportunity and attended so many wonderful sessions that made me want to change the course of my career and grow. I met people there who helped me realize I could do more and be more.
If you can’t get to a HEALTHCON or regional conference, go to your local chapter meetings and branch out. Often you will meet people in your area who are just starting out or who are seasoned veterans to be both sounding boards and mentors.

Have Fun, Smile, and Branch Out

It was wonderful meeting everyone at HEALTHCON who attended and fantastic to see so much representation of Region 1 at the membership appreciation breakfast (Shout-out to Buffalo, New York for having the most people from our area at the breakfast!). As we always say, please know your National Advisory Board (NAB) representatives are here to help you in any way we can, so please do not hesitate to reach out to us!
Your Northeast Region 1 NAB Representatives:
Stephanie Sjogren, CPC, CDEO, CPMA, CPC-I, CCS, HCAFA, and Stephanie Thebarge, CPC, CEMC, CHONC

Alex McKinley

About Has 111 Posts

Alex McKinley is AAPC’s senior marketing communications manager. Prior to his work at AAPC he worked in the tax and accounting industry. He received his bachelor's degree in Mass Communications (Public Relations Emphasis) from the University of Utah.

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