Can't Get Past the Brick Wall

terriwarren

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Laurel, MD
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I got certified in 2010, and immediately hit the "Minimum 2 years experience" wall. How, may I ask, is someone supposed to get experience if you have to have it already? I managed to get a little experience freelancing online, but I want a JOB with regular hours and benefits. PLEASE don't say that new coders aren't reliable or don't want to learn, because I have heard that as an excuse to cut us out of the job pool. It was my belief that a Coder I position was for new, entry-level coders so that they can get experience, but I have even seen Coder I positions advertised with minimum 2 years experience. If there is anyone out there near Laurel, MD, who is willing to give a new coder a chance, PLEASE let me know. Without a job, it has been a struggle to maintain my membership and CEUs. I haven't even been able to attend any of the seminars or the national conference, which I would LOVE to be able to attend. PLEASE HELP ME!!!!!
 

JCaillouet

Networker
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Been there myself.

Only things I can offer:

1) Try to know the location of one of your chapters and begin to network. Most of them do have an indigent fund which is to help new members such as yourself get the experience required. Also with the networking opportunities there you get:
  • CEUs
  • Chance to show others that you're willing to learn, are a good worker, and hopefully someone to take a chance.
  • Exposure

2) May be a stretch but there is a Practicode program with the AAPC to make an attempt to knock off a year of the apprenticeship and give you 'one year' equivalent experience. Pricing guide for you to look into it: https://www.aapc.com/practicode/buy.aspx

3) Have faith. Hard as you know what but try. I was certified in 2010. It took me hit and miss on a few jobs and growing up before I was able to get the five year mark for the Professional designation and having to go out there and be honest and sell yourself. And me with an issue on being sociable and networking, heh.

Good luck.

Joshua Caillouet CPC, CASCC, Professional
RCM Lead - Senior ASsociate
Hexaware Technologies
 

terriwarren

Networker
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Laurel, MD
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At Least Someone Gave You a Chance

You say it was hit or miss with a few jobs for a while, but I have not even had that chance. It has been difficult for me to get to chapter meetings to network because not only do I have a mobility disability, but I also have been without a car for a couple of years. I am volunteering at a hospital to try to network and make connections, but it still has not helped. I appreciate the response, but with SS Disability my only income, I often cannot afford the price of most of these meetings.
 

hperry10

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Hyannis
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I think one reason a lot of employers want experience is because many coding/ billing departments are already understaffed and to have to pull someone away to train someone who is brand new to the field is difficult and greatly affects productivity and revenue coming in. We had a job opening in my office for a Certified Coder, we preferred someone with experience, we got lots of applicants, threw most of the resumes away because the applicants wanted a remote opportunity- they didn't read the job description or there were spelling errors in the resumes. It came down to 2 applicants, one who had her CPC-A with zero experience and the other who had several years of medical front desk experience but hadn't taken the CPC exam yet. We gave the job to the second applicant. Although she was not a certified coder, her front desk experience was invaluable and allowed us to train her quickly and she was able to take on a large billing and coding case load right away. If we hired the 1st applicant we would have had one Certified Coder doing the work of three while the other Certified Coder was training the new employee with no experience. This was our busy time of year so there was no way we could have done that.

Heather
 
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JCaillouet

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I've been there.

You say it was hit or miss with a few jobs for a while, but I have not even had that chance. It has been difficult for me to get to chapter meetings to network because not only do I have a mobility disability, but I also have been without a car for a couple of years. I am volunteering at a hospital to try to network and make connections, but it still has not helped. I appreciate the response, but with SS Disability my only income, I often cannot afford the price of most of these meetings.

Been unemployed a good stretch as well. The only reason I got this job was because of whom I went to school with. Volunteering at the hospital might not pay off in the short term but you will have the exposure. Have you thought about flex-seeking on what you're looking for? A/R collections is covered by your training and it is a foot in the door.
 

ahguzman

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50
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You say it was hit or miss with a few jobs for a while, but I have not even had that chance. It has been difficult for me to get to chapter meetings to network because not only do I have a mobility disability, but I also have been without a car for a couple of years. I am volunteering at a hospital to try to network and make connections, but it still has not helped. I appreciate the response, but with SS Disability my only income, I often cannot afford the price of most of these meetings.

Local chapter meetings are free. I know it seems overwhelming but hang in there. You've already done something many people who already work in a coding environment haven't done- YOU PASSED the exam and are certified!! Are you looking for a remote coding position? Generally what I've seen is those positions DO require more experience as well as a proficiency exam. If you don't have any previous medical experience, consider applying for receptionist or billing or collections positions to get established.

Don't give up!

AHG, CPC, CPMA
 
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terriwarren

Networker
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33
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Laurel, MD
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I Have Been Applying for Other Positions

I've been applying for many positions, not just coding positions. I have been applying to A/P and A/R positions, medical billing positions, and I even applied for a position in the communications office where I am volunteering. These days, if you don't have "minimum 2 years experience" then you HAVE to know someone who already works where you are applying. It's as simple as that. And no, not all chapter meetings are free. Most of them have a fee, and with SS disability as my only income, it's a struggle just to make day-to-day expenses. Until recently, I did not even have transportation, so the only way I could attend any chapter meetings would be to spend money on a cab, more money on the chapter meeting, and more money for the cab fare home. THIS IS A BRICK WALL. SOMEONE SOMEWHERE MUST BE WILLING TO HELP SOMEONE GET EXPERIENCE. So far, I haven't been able to find them.
 

nomerz

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Aurora, CO
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Terri,

I hear you, trust me. It's such a catch 22 to only hire those with experience but not give experience to those who want it. I was lucky enough to be employed in a billing position while pursuing my CPC and then just transitioned over to coding once I passed the exam. Not to beat a dead horse but I really do echo what others are saying. Get involved with AAPC, apply to other positions within the industry, and be persistent. Apply to jobs even though they have that "2 years minimum." Employers are posting their ideal candidate and may take a chance on someone that doesn't fit perfectly into what they say they're looking for.

Coding is a marathon, not a sprint. I know it's frustrating but it is such a rewarding career. Once you get past the brick wall, it'll be worth it, I promise! :)
 

npricercm

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I've been applying for many positions, not just coding positions. I have been applying to A/P and A/R positions, medical billing positions, and I even applied for a position in the communications office where I am volunteering. These days, if you don't have "minimum 2 years experience" then you HAVE to know someone who already works where you are applying. It's as simple as that. And no, not all chapter meetings are free. Most of them have a fee, and with SS disability as my only income, it's a struggle just to make day-to-day expenses. Until recently, I did not even have transportation, so the only way I could attend any chapter meetings would be to spend money on a cab, more money on the chapter meeting, and more money for the cab fare home. THIS IS A BRICK WALL. SOMEONE SOMEWHERE MUST BE WILLING TO HELP SOMEONE GET EXPERIENCE. So far, I haven't been able to find them.

Have you talked to the local chapter officers? As a former officer of a Colorado Chapter, I would gladly have waived the fee and helped with transportation. If you work at a hospital to gain experience, start your own chapter. Have you tried a staffing agency? Have you tried your local workforce office? Did you go to a school, do they have a career office that can help? I know it is frustrating. Have you tried to apply to a solo practice or is it hospitals you are focused on? . Billing companies are a good way to get your foot in the door. Do you want to work just at home? That could be an issue.

Don't give up just yet, focus on what your end game is and come up with a different plan of attack..
 

rhh03

Networker
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34
Location
Covington, Ga
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Brick wall

Hi Terri,
Like others have suggested try applying for non-coding postitions such as receptionist, insurance verification or scheduling. Also try to avoid hospitals and large group practices because they usually prefer more experience. Try small practices because they are more willing to train plus you are certified. For the most part trying to get a postition as a remote coder is not an option without experience because they want to make sure you know what you are doing. Keep applying and good luck.
 
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