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How to Manage Career Curveballs

How to Manage Career Curveballs

With a good game plan, you can turn any situation into a winning move.

The very concept of the revenue cycle and how each part relies on the other to be wholly successful often leads to the necessity of one person wearing multiple hats. You could be working charge entry and then find yourself posting payments, for example. What do you do when you are coasting along in your career path that you love and are great at and then, suddenly, you’re thrown a curveball? I recently met someone in this situation, and I’m going to tell her story in the hopes that you will see that when life takes an unexpected turn, being curious, reaching out for help, and allowing growth can lead to a home run.

Consider the Situation

Sally Coder, as I’ll call her, had finally landed the coding manager position that she’d been working toward. She had honed her skills as a medical coder and a leader, and she was ready for the new role. She worked in this position for some time and enjoyed being a resource, guide, and mentor for her coding team.

Then, one day, she received an email from the director of operations advising her that the denial management team would be assigning all coding-related denials to her team to research and resolve. She thanked the director for the opportunity, assured her superior that she and her team would do their best, and then, what do you think she did next? Panic, complain, cry, start her resignation letter? She did none of the above.

Find a Resolution

The assignment of denials was a complete surprise. It was not in her job description, and it wasn’t discussed during the interview process. She had never even considered denial resolution as a skill she wanted to add to her resume. But instead of resisting this assignment because it was new and unfamiliar, she got curious about it.

The first thing Sally did was to start asking questions. “Where can I find some resources to explain to me what denial resolution is and how to successfully incorporate it into the coding department?” she wondered.

She found some great resources and immediately started applying them to her processes. When she realized that the resources weren’t going to be enough, she stayed curious and didn’t give up. “You don’t know what you don’t know,” she said. “So, who does know?” she wondered.

She started searching for someone who could answer her questions more specifically and help her apply the knowledge to specific scenarios. This was the point in her journey when she met me. She asked me if I would be willing to listen to some specific denials that were assigned to her and help her learn how to resolve them.

Stay in the Game

Throughout our interactions, I could sense that Sally was frustrated, but she never gave up. She was determined to apply her expertise as a medical coder and a problem solver to be successful in denial resolution. There are so many other paths she could have taken when posed with this challenge, but she chose to stay open to the possibility that, even though it was not what she asked for and not what she planned for, she would grow and learn from the experience.

I’m sure that many of you can see yourselves in Sally’s shoes and can understand how difficult unexpected events in work or even in life can be. Next time you walk around that corner and find yourself in new territory, I hope that you will find your way through it by staying curious, asking for help, and allowing growth.

Vanessa L. Moldovan
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