Letter to the President of AAPC

eeh

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Dear Mr. Pew:

I am a legal secretary who has been in search of a new career. For the past 28 months, I have completed AHIMA's Coding Basics Program, passed the CCA, CPC and CPC-H and presently preparing for the CCS-P. I also sit on the AHIMA Advisory Board for the Coding Basics Program.

I am horrified at all of the negative postings (just a few are attached below) from the AAPC website and other sites describing how newly-credentialed coders CAN'T get even an INTERNSHIP not to mention a paying JOB. I am writing to you to ask you how AAPC intends to rectify this situation.

Have you ever contacted any of the facilities that are in the AAPC Externship Program ? Why are there only a handful of participating facilities in major metropolitan areas? When one contacts them, the standard response is "we are not in the externship program anymore".

Does AAPC realize that IF they strengthened their Externship Program and Job Placement Service that their revenues would skyrocket ? I was interested in taking the AAPC CPC-H course for $1295 back in March. I decided against it and trained myself for the exam and passed. AAPC is offering a great product right now - 1/2 year of Webinars for $395 - as much as I would like to purchase it - I REFUSE TO SPEND ANYMORE MONEY on Coding until AAPC provides a resolution to this situation.

I feel that AAPC owes an explanation to all of its members as to how they are going to help those of us who have spent thousands of dollars and countless hours in preparing for a career in medical coding.


Respectfully Submitted,



EEH
 

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Pam Brooks

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ehines....I applaud your initiative in writing this letter, and I sincerely do sympathize in regards to all CPC-As who are unable to find work or even an externship. The problem is multifaceted, however the AAPC did market the idea of Project Extern....with the hope that facilities and practices would take advantage of 'free' employees. Unfortunately, this did not happen, and let me tell you why. I did consider becoming a Project Externship site. I work for a 150+ bed community hospital, with an affiliated physican practice, but the human resources logistics involved in having non-employed volunteers present to work in the very sensitive medical information area was more than I was willing to undertake. Not only that, but with the advent of electronic medical records, I have very few entry-level positions or work available. That was my choice, and my facility's choice--not the AAPC's fault. Although heartfelt, your letter is misguided. To my knowledge, the AAPC is not obligated to find any of its members any job, opportunity or externship. Does the AMA place physicians in jobs? The American Nurses Association? How about the State Bar...do they place attorneys in legal practices? I'm curious, because I don't believe any association is going to recommend just any unknown member for a job or any other professional opportunity as a courtesy. Finding a job is YOUR job. And typically externships are part of a college education. If your college or career school could not find you an externship, that's not the AAPC's fault. That's your fault, for not questioning your school about placement rates. I'm tired of the finger pointing that's going on, and very discouraged at the level of unprofessionalism shown by some of these angry posts. Play the blame game somewhere else, please, but leave this board for those of us who are hoping to learn, network and brainstorm.


Did you check with AHIMA to see if they find opportunities for coders? I'm not aware that they do. I certainly hope this isn't an AHIMA attack on AAPC. Both credentials have merit; it would be unprofessional of any of us to discredit the other.

Respectfully,
 

beachbabi

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I totally agree with Pam Brooks. I worked in the medical field starting as a file clerk and have worked my way up to Business Manager in the past ten years. I went to college at night while working full time to obtain my degree in HIT. After graduating, I decided to go further and obtained my CPC. My college nor AAPC put me in my position today. I earned it.

It is nothing against new students who are interested in obtaining their CPC with no medical experience. However; facts will show that an employer will hire someone with prior experience over someone who just obtained the certification and no experience.
 

mmorningstarcpc

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Very well said Pam!! If you are considering a career in coding, do your homework!! Your research, or lack of, is on you, NOT the AAPC!! Besides that, when would the AAPC have time to contact every facility in the country to see if they would participate in the extern program? Maybe you could do some research and meet with the facility you are looking at to show them why having an extern would be a win-win situation for them. Take the initiative!!
 
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shandellw

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Hi ehines,
Correct me if I am wrong, but it seems your frustrations are directed towards the credential. You are correct, the AHIMA does not assign the A, for apprentice like the AAPC, which is a concern for many professionals and potential coders that I come in contact with; however, that is AAPC's requirements. I always advise those who ask me to obtain the CCS-P from the AHIMA in place of the AAPC's CPC-A, but the experience will still need to be obtained. The AHIMA recommends at least three years experience prior to testing for the CCS-P, but it is not a requirement, which works out better for some. I completely understand where you are coming from-- you took the exact same test as a CPC, but received a lesser credential. The best advice I could give is to continue to be tenacious--with a good attitude, of course and express your concerns to the AAPC as you have taken the initiative to do. Do not allow anyone on this forum or in the real world to discourage you with negative comments--the AAPC can defend itself they don't the members to do so.

Enjoy your career and all the best on the CCS-P,

Shandell Williams
CCS-P
 
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skanderson

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I agree that it is not the AAPC's fault that some newly credentialed coders are experiencing difficulty finding a job. I have 20 years in the coding/billing field but after relocating, I have been struggling for a year in an attempt to secure ANY job in the medical field (and I am certified). It's a jungle out there but I refuse to blame the AAPC. I am on their website daily searching for leads and grateful for this great resource.

Most of us that have been in this field as long as I have started at the bottom and worked up. ALSO, those of you looking for employment need to post your search under the correct forum AND double check your grammar and spelling.
 

mitchellde

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I agree with Pam all the way! Why is it necessary to badmouth the AAPC or for that matter pit the AHIMA against the AAPC to see whose dog is bigger. It is extremely unprofessional. The members defend the AAPC because we are members, and we believe in what we do and have the highest respect for the organization and each other.
As far as finding a job. Many times it appears that newly certified coders set their sights too high and want a coders job right away. This is not realistic if you have no experience in the medical field. I tell everyone interested in coding to get a job at a hospital, and that is any job, be a unit clerk or a secretary or aide. You need to be in the industry because every position offers you a unique perspective into the industry. The best hospital administrator I worked for started his carreer as a house orderly. I started as a unit secretary.
But I agree with Pam it is not the AAPCs fault that you cannot get a job. You may need to settle for something less that the ideal to get your foot in the door.
Personally I have never regretted my membership with the AAPC and grow to respect the association more every day.
 

Aleifer

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Dear Morningstar,
"If you are considering a career in coding, do your homework!! Your research, or lack of, is on you, NOT the AAPC!!" Everybody knows how difficult it is to obtain certification. Let's welcome EHines who passed multiple certifications coming from a non-medical background.

May we all work together on these boards to help each other find coding experience/ jobs.
 

Aleifer

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"but the human resources logistics involved in having non-employed volunteers present to work in the very sensitive medical information area was more than I was willing to undertake"
Many students, volunteers, and business associates work in medical establishments throughout the United States and sign Confidentiality Forms. HR may have tried to make it difficult if your organization is a union shop. Work cannot be taken away from a union employee and given to a volunteer or a consultant.
 

Aleifer

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EHines was simply giving a voice to the "elephant in the room" - all the people that have been crying on these boards. There is no mention that EHines cannot find a job or of pitting AHIMA and AAPC against each other.

Let's work together to come up with a resolution.
 

shandellw

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I agree with Pam all the way! Why is it necessary to badmouth the AAPC or for that matter pit the AHIMA against the AAPC to see whose dog is bigger. It is extremely unprofessional. The members defend the AAPC because we are members, and we believe in what we do and have the highest respect for the organization and each other.
As far as finding a job. Many times it appears that newly certified coders set their sights too high and want a coders job right away. This is not realistic if you have no experience in the medical field. I tell everyone interested in coding to get a job at a hospital, and that is any job, be a unit clerk or a secretary or aide. You need to be in the industry because every position offers you a unique perspective into the industry. The best hospital administrator I worked for started his carreer as a house orderly. I started as a unit secretary.
But I agree with Pam it is not the AAPCs fault that you cannot get a job. You may need to settle for something less that the ideal to get your foot in the door.
Personally I have never regretted my membership with the AAPC and grow to respect the association more every day.
The unprofessionalism comes in when members come to the conclusion that the original poster is upset with the AAPC due to their lack of finding a job. As a member of the AAPC, it is very distasteful to read some of the snooty comments from those who have never been in this individuals situation, and the earn it attitude is quite unhelpful. As members shouldn't we be more encouraging and offer suggestion without the it's not the AAPC's fault you can't find a job nonsense.
 
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Re: Letter to the President

Dear Pam....First I wish to both welcome and congratulate E Hines for his/her accomplishment(s) thus far in attempting to switch career(s). It is no small feat to cross over from being a legal secretary to becoming a medical coder. So much to learn. When I read his/her letter I fully empathized with E Hines frustration and not for one moment did I take it as an "AHIMA Attack"....seriously, with all due respect that kind of speculation only fuels frustration further. All of us here have had to pay our dues in one form or another and it is important that we foster positivity on these boards. I think E Hines did a very brave thing by writing this letter and it takes courage to say "out loud" what many may think in the safety of "silence". There are so many out there who can not find jobs and to assume that it means they are "not taking the initiative" or "did not research their school" is attacking the person and not the issue. The "issue" being what can we as members of AAPC do to help our fellow coding professionals? Chapter meetings are a great way to reach out to someone new. Offer to be a mentor....see if you can pull some strings at work and give a newbie (if only 1 day a week) a chance to shadow you. Correct "AAPC" is not responsible for finding E Hines a job BUT as individual members we ARE responsible IF we choose to ignore people like E Hines and not offer up some creative solutions.
 

mitchellde

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The unprofessionalism comes in when members come to the conclusion that the original poster is upset with the AAPC due to their lack of finding a job. As a member of the AAPC, it is very distasteful to read some of the snooty comments from those who have never been in this individuals situation, and the earn it attitude is quite unhelpful. As members shouldn't we be more encouraging and offer suggestion without the it's not the AAPC's fault you can't find a job nonsense.
My comments are not snooty, sorry if you felt that way, however it is not the AAPCs responsibility to FIND a job for anyone. This organization provides numerous outlets for those that wish to find a job, and honestly we have all been in this position at one time or another. It is just as frustrating to discover you cannot get a position because you are overqualified as when you are underqualified. I just feel that those with no experience should not expect to get a coder position from the start it is good experience to work your way up and that is what a lot of us have had to do. If you look at past posts you will see where many times members including me have suggested other positions to apply for. But to expect the AAPC to jump in and find a job for someone is not realistic.
 

rthames052006

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Nothing in life is guaranteed and that includes a job after schooling; I have 3 children who have gone to college and are entering the job market and I hate to tell you.... it's not just coding that people are having a hard time in finding a job. When my kids decided they wanted to go to college I asked " What do you want be" , have you researched your field, have you pick up a newspaper( local or not) to see what qualifications they are looking for, is your field in demand. These are things you must ask yourself before you jump, leap etc...

As many of the posters, Like Machelle, Pam and Deb have said, it's not easy!! I know coders who have years of experience who are having a difficult time finding a job, so it's not just newbie coders who are having this issue it's across the board.

And I must agree with Machelle, Pam and Deb that it does seem like the AAPC is being blamed for this, they cannot force a physician office, hospital, payor to accept the Project Xtern and then cannot force them to take a newly certified coder on either.

These companies can pick and choose to hire and do what they want to do, thats like some companies who will only hire CCS or CCS-P's it's their choice.

It gets really old, really fast to continue to hear people complain, remember there are several hiring managers who are on these theads, reading what you are saying....
 

brahn

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Reply to Ehines

I passed my CPC-A in June and have applied numerous times for coding positions. I have had 1 interview. Which I am grateful for, but so far no others. I am getting the old adage here "we want experience", that stinks. But you can't blame the AAPC for lack of jobs, internships or externships. I wish we had some in the area I live in but we don't. I just keep trying and applying. I wish you the best but you really can't blame them. The exams aren't the easiest and congratulations on passing!!! I too want to do the CPC-H but that will wait. Good luck with your job search.
 
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Here we go again. The last time I commented on the likes of this the entire thread was removed. For me, the main problem I see is that far too many people were given a free ride into this field. Unemployable people and those that are quite employable but lost their job during the recession believed all of the hype about working from home. Through the grace of an overwhelmed and underfunded job program at their local unemployment office they went to school at no cost to themselves. They were told how good they were doing, passed all of the required exams and out the door they went. Flooding the market. Now that the reality of searching for a job in an oversaturated market has hit home they are looking for someone to blame.
It's not the orginizations responsibility, as someone has previously stated. So instead of continuing to stick your hand out.....why not ball it into a fist and go knock on some employers doors. Knock on them till your knuckles bleed. Then tomorrow get up and go do it again, to the same doors if need be. Despite what you belive or think that you are "entitled" to there are no free rides.
 
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Please allow me to clarify one thing. As I know what I have just said is going to be misconstrued.
I am by no means demeaning ANYONE that has sunk their savings into an education.
If you have went without to educate yourself in this field I hold you in the highest esteem and I have no doubt that individuals as dedicated as yourselves will reap the benefits of your sacrifice.
 

Pam Brooks

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The unprofessionalism comes in when members come to the conclusion that the original poster is upset with the AAPC due to their lack of finding a job. As a member of the AAPC, it is very distasteful to read some of the snooty comments from those who have never been in this individuals situation, and the earn it attitude is quite unhelpful. As members shouldn't we be more encouraging and offer suggestion without the it's not the AAPC's fault you can't find a job nonsense.

I would respectfully ask that you reveiw my many posts on this board where I have spent a great deal of time outlining suggestions for jobs, interview skills, resume tips and other employment-securing ideas for newly credentialled coders who are looking for a break. I don't consider myself snooty, and if that is your perception, I'm afraid I am not going to apologize for voicing my experienced opinion, if you don't mind. But it's also my right to voice my opinion when I feel that someone needs to hear it.

Oceanlivin', your response may hit a big nerve here, but you really identified the overall issue, and said it well. That, in my opinion, is the elephant in the room---Tens of thousands of CPC-As who are looking for someone to blame.

I am one of the hiring managers who reads this board, and between the ranting, negative attitudes, poor spelling, crazy user names and overall lack of maturity and professionalism I've been seeing lately (not to mention the recent requests for off-shore coders to get a US sponsor AND the posts about having failed the CPC exam for the third time)...... I'm wondering who the heck thinks I'd be happy to have them join my team.

And before you think I've placed myself on some kind of golden pedestal, let me tell you that I worked in a factory, as a waitress and in a government warehouse before I got into coding. I have had dirt under my nails, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I had to work my butt off to get where I am today.
 

Aleifer

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RE: Letter to the President

The blasting of each other, especially from veterans in this field, is very unproductive, unprofessional and unattractive. Don't assume you are immune from the issues posted on these boards. Even if you are very experienced and think your job is secure once your salary is maxed out you may be replaced with a less experienced professional. Everyone is dispensable especially if we continue to farm out jobs to other countries and with the advent of CAC.

Points to Ponder:
Some People (not me, I have coding experience) researched and made an INFORMED DECISION to invest in AAPC's Programs which included starting out as an Apprentice knowing the advertised Project Xtern and/or virtual internship was an option. If there aren't enough available internships then the virtual internship, which I no longer see availabe, is an idea. As a Director of HIM, I would like to see certified coders have encoder experience which can be achieved virtually. AAPC would have no obligation to help people find internships or offer virtual internship if it HAD NOT BEEN ADVERTISED when people signed up for these programs. “A” is a problem if there is no way to remove it when people made this investment with the advertised options in mind. If there aren't enough internships then AAPC should either continue to offer a virtual internship or remove the “A”. Of course this does not guarantee a paying job but it certainly creates a more desirable candidate than an apprentice without experience. I am not faulting AAPC. There was no way to anticipate that there would not be enough internships. Every business must “make good” on what they advertise which is what I think Ehines was getting at.

Some fields such as Speech Therapy limited the number of masters programs years ago so that the field would not become over saturated.


Finding my first coding job without experience was an issue for me in 1991. Every time I saw the same job posted I reapplied. By the third time I applied to the same position they finally hired me out of desperation.
Newbies – Look for positions that are located on the outskirts of where you live who may have more difficulty finding good coders. Keep applying even if you already applied a month ago. If the ad is still there chances are they have not filled the position.
 
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EEH, I sincerely share in your frustrations in finding employment; however, if you have not done so, objectively read Pam Brook's replies to your posts. Sooner or later, you may find it very imformative and encouraging. After being a member for a year, I found how AAPCs leaders and members can be very resouceful, supportive, informative, and encouraging. As a reminder, staying on course in obtaining our ideal career is also steered by our positive and optimistic attitude; fine tuning our job hunting and interviewing skills and knowledge; and, maintaining unwavering commitment in our progress in obtaining employment.

Also, in this economic times, common sense will tell you that employers want to hire the right person to avoid firing anyone; they may not have it easy either; and, a lot of things may be at stake than we can ever realilze. If you objectively read Ms. Brook's advice, you would have agreed with my statement. Therefore, if we want to be hired, we need to bring to the hiring manager's, or recruiter's, table a positive, optimistic, and problem-solving attitude that has been tested and tried while looking for work, along with our Coding Certificate and Resume. Anyways, awards are rewarded for those who are relentless; and, who were encouraged and informed by the very same people who continuously support, inform, and ecourage you and the rest of us. Ms. Brook's advice is a good example; and, I found it a privilege in learning from her. By the way, congratulations in passing your CPC Exams, and good luck in your employment endeavors.
 
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Mscoheley

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Even worse are those of us that have spent alot of money going to "for-profit" colleges to get a diploma, only to find out our school does not offer and externship and we were not told that we would be concidered "apprentice" coders for at least a year after we pass the CPC exam. I am very dis heartened at the lack of prospects
 

georgewatson

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I fully blame myself for my situation. Had I done some research and found out getting a coding job without experience was impossible, I'd have never wasted the $2,000+ on classes, books and certifications to wind up with a CPC-A but no experience. No, the AAPC doesn't owe anyone a job. But do they have a hand in certifying all the community college programs out there churning out grads with useless degrees?
 
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I fully blame myself for my situation. Had I done some research and found out getting a coding job without experience was impossible, I'd have never wasted the $2,000+ on classes, books and certifications to wind up with a CPC-A but no experience. No, the AAPC doesn't owe anyone a job. But do they have a hand in certifying all the community college programs out there churning out grads with useless degrees?
I do feel for everyone in this situation.I really do.

I think the situation is caused by multiple things though. The state of the economy has something to do with it. Entry level positions are being taken by over qualified individuals because they need work.

Graduates in many different fields are stuggeling to find employment, it's not just medical coding.

Colleges have been churning out grads, but the AAPC doesn't certify these colleges. There is no required education to sit for the CPC exam. If someone wanted to pay membership and exam fees they could sit for the exam with no education. The AAPC only "recomends" education and/or experience.

Any college can create a medical coding program without the AAPC's blessing.

Because so many education programs are out there right now the level of education that new grads. have vary from superior to poor. I think this also plays a part in why employers are becoming hesitent against hiring cpc-a. They just aren't sure what type of educaiton to expect.

I think the AAPC and AHIMA should work together to have education standardized so employers know what to expect. Until that happens is is up to the consumer to investigate where they spend their money.

As an officer in our local chapter I've been trying and get the Project Xtern going. Encouraging local chapters to take a part in this may prove to be helpful for CPC-As as well.
 

mkm1517

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Lack of jobs is not just in coding or the medical field in general. We relocated last year for a better job for me, but my husband has been looking for a job for over a year now and not getting any bites. And believe me, he isn't being too picky about a job or payscale either!
 

cpccoder2008

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I just wanted to give a little background to where I came from so other's would understand that every company is not the same way. I went to coding school also and took my CPC in 2003 right after I got my certificate and failed. I was so upset, I then decided to wait till last minute and then retest after I had more time studying alone versus a classroom with 20+ women. I then found a temp job with a physician's office helping out in the insurance department. That was my foot in the door. From there I was hired on full time doing insurance, then Medicaid, then Medicare until eventually a coding position became open. I was working for over a year when I was offered the coding position and had become CPC-A certified also. Point of my story is that you have to start some where's. It does not matter if someone with credentials of CPC, CPC-H, CCS and CCS-P were to apply for that job, I would have still got it over anyone because my foot was already in the door and I had proved my knowledge and motivation to them. I worked for that company for over 9 years and can tell you that every time a coding position became available we would hire within first. I am currently at a new job doing coding and was hired on as a coder here but the coders here have been here forever and the newer ones were promoted from a lower level position. My best advice to someone is become certified if you can afford to and apply at any company if your area you can think of. Even if you are a receptionist at a medical supply office chances are that someone there might hear of an opening and you'd be the first to know. Most companies hire within because these are loyal employees that are wanting to move up in the medical field and already have a knowledge of the coding system or computer system they use along with insurance, Medicaid and Medicare knowledge making them a better candidate for the job. So please don't give up hope, there is job's out there, you just need to find the right one, and like I said you don't always start off in the coding world so try not to limit yourself to just that.
 

SusanWhite83

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Wow!!!

I am new to the medical field as well. I have worked and gone to school obtaining an Associate Degree in Medical Billing and Coding and another Associate Degree in Health Insurance Specialist. I am finding it hard to get into the role I want to play in the medical field. I can attest to the hardship of going from one career to another or to starting a career rather than just having a job of any kind. I can say I understand the frustration of my fellow CPC-A's, and the lack of experience and the courage it took to take a chance on something that wasn't guaranteed. The biggest thing is to not give up!!!!!

It's easy to do because your anger can and will get the best of you, if you let it. But that's when you need a break, rest your mind, and get back to it when you settle down some. It will open your mind up to possibility and thought. Then you are on your way. Remember it always takes more out of you to be upset about it than to come up with a way to get around it or make it happen. Be positive!

Like I said, I am still a CPC-A. It's not like I have gotten where I want to be just yet, but I will keep my eyes and ears open. Don't let the hardship talk you out of all the obstacles you have overcome to get here. It won't be easy, but it will be worth it!!!!

To all those out there feeling overwhelmed and out right mad, take a step back to let the anger boil over and to de-stress and get back to it when you can handle it better. Til' then, one day at a time.
 
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I want to encourage all of you coders looking for a coding job to keep on trying. You may have to "get your foot in the door" as the one person wrote. You will eventually find something! I had a lucky break when I first started out. I was a new coder credentialed thru AHIMA. I was looking for a job just like everyone and no one wanted to hire me because I didnt have the experience. Online I saw a PRN job for an outpatient coder thru a consultant firm out of Florida. I emailed them and they sent me a test to take which I took and passed. When they called me to talk to me about the job they told me they were choosing someone without experience on purpose (who they felt would do well based on test scores) to help them gain experience so they could move on and get a coding job and be able to say they had experience now, because they knew how difficult it was.

They told me I had passed the test with better score then alot of experienced coders. I worked for them for 2 years PRN. After that I applied for my current job as coder and was hired. Thank goodness the consultant company was willing to take me on and give me the training I needed.

I still keep in touch with my "old" supervisor and have told her thank you for giving me the chance!
 

zanalee

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I fully blame myself for my situation. Had I done some research and found out getting a coding job without experience was impossible, I'd have never wasted the $2,000+ on classes, books and certifications to wind up with a CPC-A but no experience. No, the AAPC doesn't owe anyone a job. But do they have a hand in certifying all the community college programs out there churning out grads with useless degrees?
I paid over 5k at a trade school, I'd paid that off within a 1yr cause i was determine to get a job, i did anything i could to make my money's worth. I am grateful to have started as biller, now i know how the revenue cycle works.

There is alot of jobs out there for us you just got to go out there and get it, ive applied for 3 remote job in the past 6 months and got all three.
 

valleycoder

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Medicare and other regulations are making it nearly impossible to hire anyone that doesnt have extensive experience. Back in the day when coding was unheard of, there were not the requirments there are now therefore you could learn as you go....its just too much of a chance to take any more. Being certified doesnt make you a good coder; some of the best coders i know dont have their certification but they've been doing it for 20 years and have grown with the system. On the flip side, some of the worse coders i know are certified. if you want a job in the coding field, you're going to have to do what you can to get in the door and then hope to get the chance to mentor with someone but i think the days of being brought on board to be a coder (without having experience) is practically over. Just my opinion....
 

nrod2201

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I personally did not read ehines post and think it was an attack on AAPC. Quite the contrary; obviously ehines is concerned about something that is important to ALL of us. I appreciate the comments on a topic that will not seem to go away.

New coders need the opportunity to GAIN EXPERIENCE. Whether they start in the file room or as a receptionist... and believe me, even that is difficult in these times. Let's not be so hard on eachother.
 
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66
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Kachina Coders
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I'm a CPC but I do billing. I spent over 12k at a trade school with the hopes of starting a new career. At the time I was unaware the AAPC even existed or I'd have started there instead of shelling out all that cash on something I could have obtained for half the cost, if not less. I was one of those who did not properly research the field before I entered. I was, however, lucky enough to get a position as a biller before I even graduated. I've been working at a pediatrics office for 3 years as the only certified coder, unfortunately here that means little. Since being here I've been able to have my 'A' removed and with the 'medical' experience I'm looking to transition into a more coding based position or at least somewhere I can develope those skills. It's definitely not been easy, I'm fully aware I'm lacking the experience desired but my major problem hasn't even been the 'coding' aspect of the job, it's the fact that as a biller at a pediatrics office I have no Medicare experience. Most employers want that 'extensive' backround in Medicare.

What noone bothers to tell you is this field is overly saturated. It's the easiest field at this time to jump into, it take little time and its 'evergrowing' but at a rate unable to keep up with us. I haven't given up hope and neither should anyone else looking. Good things come to those who wait... I know the frusterations. I've read the posts. We are all having the same problems, but the time will come.
 

ldwash405

Guest
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9
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Oklahoma City Oklahoma
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I personally agree with nrod2201. New coders do need the opportunity to gain experience. I have come to these forums many times for advice. I have tried networking, applying for jobs other than coding to get my foot in the door, and tried to apply for Project Xtern...and nothing is working. Since I have received my certification all I have experienced are rejections. I try to keep my head up but it's hard sometimes. I have my moments when I wonder if my certification even means anything? CPC-A's just want a chance to prove that we can do the work and not just pass a test.
 

CrysLednum

Guru
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103
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Charm City - Baltimore
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I have been reading everyone's posts regarding ehines' post and I can see all sides.

I was a stay-at-home mom going to night school for coding when I decided to go back to work and I found a job as a medical biller. I had no working medical experience, but I continued with my courses at night and saw an ad in the paper (dating myself). It was for a point-of-service biller. I interviewed, told the manager I was going to school for coding and if she took the chance on taking an "uncertified coder" I would do my best or leave gracefully. She took that chance. Within 6 months I went from front desk fee tickets to Surgical Coding - no credentials yet. Six months after that I took my CCS-P and then the following year I took my CPC. I did that for years and now am back in school going for my RHIT and working in Compliance.

The local community college where I first took my coding classes was not all that great and when I enrolled they said coders made 60K and up. (Stop laughing). The reality was quite different - but determination, honesty and perserverance has me where I am today.

I know quite a few CPC-A's and I feel for them. I have known people who got jobs just to temporarily fill a spot until someone with more experience could be hired. While I find that practice distasteful, the flip side is experience was gained.

I would advise anyone, CPC/CPC-A who is struggling to find a job to take anything - insurance verfications, registration, etc. and be honest with your manager. Let them know you find this step temporary that your end-goal is coding and who knows, maybe a coder will be moving on and that manager will think of you first.

It is difficult having to had to spend the money and know that you know you can do it and not have someone else believe it, but look at different routes that will ultimately let you end up where you want to be.

Good luck to all of you!

By the way, Baltimore's Charm City has an extern program if you are in the area.
 

twtcpc

Guru
Messages
195
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Hi Roxanne,

I agree, it is very hard for any of us to find a job with the market the way that it is, all of you complaining might want to contact your government represenatives not the AAPC! With some of the posting that I have seen over the past several months, I can't blame anyone for not wanting to hire some of them....can't follow directions, spell, and have a bad attitude!

I work in billing compliance and with the health care laws and the alphabet soup of government auditing agencies out there now, health care faciliites cannot risk having a coder without some kind of experience...the doctors themselves are enough of a liability sometimes!

Like a lot of others, I too started off in the medical field in an entry level position in customer service at a DME company. I think a lot of fault does not fall with either the AAPC or AHIMA, but with the marketing promises of big money and work-at-home jobs that has overwhelmed the market with people from other companies who teach the medical billing/coding classes...some of which I wouldn't pay you a penny for after seeing what they are teaching some of the people that I have worked with!

My husband and I were trying to relocate to Florida for him to have better opportunities for training for his career and you would think that someone in Florida would have wanted someone who was a CPC with over 14 years of coding/billing experience and compliance/auditing also, but no luck. So please don't blame the AAPC for not being able to get a job, because many of the leads that I followed and applied to were found on the job board here and I appreciated the ability to find those.

Tracey

Nothing in life is guaranteed and that includes a job after schooling; I have 3 children who have gone to college and are entering the job market and I hate to tell you.... it's not just coding that people are having a hard time in finding a job. When my kids decided they wanted to go to college I asked " What do you want be" , have you researched your field, have you pick up a newspaper( local or not) to see what qualifications they are looking for, is your field in demand. These are things you must ask yourself before you jump, leap etc...

As many of the posters, Like Machelle, Pam and Deb have said, it's not easy!! I know coders who have years of experience who are having a difficult time finding a job, so it's not just newbie coders who are having this issue it's across the board.

And I must agree with Machelle, Pam and Deb that it does seem like the AAPC is being blamed for this, they cannot force a physician office, hospital, payor to accept the Project Xtern and then cannot force them to take a newly certified coder on either.

These companies can pick and choose to hire and do what they want to do, thats like some companies who will only hire CCS or CCS-P's it's their choice.

It gets really old, really fast to continue to hear people complain, remember there are several hiring managers who are on these theads, reading what you are saying....
 

tvisocchi

New
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7
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Industry

I think that employers are way to picky when it comes to hiring. I have been coding in a mental hospital for about two years and have had no luck finding a coding job in a medical hospital. They all want specific experience. It is not enough anymore that you do have experience in the field maybe just not the right experience. You practically have to pay the employer for you to work for them. Also, how is one going to obtain experience, if no one wants to hire them?? As far as the AAPC, I know that everyone needs to make money but, their prices for classes, seminars, and meetings are outlandish.
 

jemj41999

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13
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Mobile, AL
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This is the reply I got from one of the hospitals here in response to it being hard to find a job without experience- "With the economy the way it is, they are holding out positions bc they know they will be able to find someone with the experience they want." Yeah, that really boosted my confidence. What about the people who really need a job and have families to support!!!!!! Im not giving up... just not gonna settle for that excuse. I believe if hospitals and doctors cared about the economy they should help by hiring new people. I thought Dr.'s and hospitals helped people. Please employers... give us newbies a chance to be the employees you want!!
 

SAllard607

Contributor
Messages
10
Location
Knoxville, TN
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The best thing that a newly credentialed coder can do is get your foot in the door. I personally started out in my organizations customer service department which allowed me to work closely with the department I desired to be in.

Everywhere you look these days its a get rich quick, and stay at home advertisment for medical coding, there are a lot of people at this time taking these coding classes and sitting for and passing their exams. It is hard work and like many other jobs you must be willing to work your way up. I know very few people that started out coding. It is a career that you work towards but nothing in the work force is ever just handed to you.

We have students that come to our department and the first advice I give them is to take a position to get their foot in the door and if possible one that allows them to learn as many of the systems that our company has.

I love my job and am proud of it, however, I worked very hard and worked my way up 3 positions before getting here.
 

mitchellde

True Blue
Messages
13,430
Location
Columbia, MO
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The best thing that a newly credentialed coder can do is get your foot in the door. I personally started out in my organizations customer service department which allowed me to work closely with the department I desired to be in.

Everywhere you look these days its a get rich quick, and stay at home advertisment for medical coding, there are a lot of people at this time taking these coding classes and sitting for and passing their exams. It is hard work and like many other jobs you must be willing to work your way up. I know very few people that started out coding. It is a career that you work towards but nothing in the work force is ever just handed to you.

We have students that come to our department and the first advice I give them is to take a position to get their foot in the door and if possible one that allows them to learn as many of the systems that our company has.

I love my job and am proud of it, however, I worked very hard and worked my way up 3 positions before getting here.
You are awesome! I love stories like yours. Keep going and never give up!
 
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CPC-A No Jobs

I am not pointing fingers at AAPC or AHIMA. I don't have a job coding yet and I graduate Coding and billing over a year ago. The clinic in my town have people that have never gone to college for medical coding and billing and they have jobs and don't have a CPC credential at all. I spent 14,000 dollars to get the credentials and couldn't even get this clinic to let me work for free. They were given the externship letter for participating facilities and all I could get out of them is it is still on my desk. Apparently AAPC is offering the Virtual experience at this time and may never offer it again. If any one knows of another virtual experience to take so I can get the last year of apprenticeship off my certification I would appreciate the info.
 

nutter98

Networker
Messages
43
Location
Marion, OH
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I agree with so many of the above post. You need to get your foot in the door. You may not be a coder right away but any knowledge of the facilities computer systems, their rules and regulations, how an insurance company works, how to do follow up, what does the patient receive once the insurance has paid, any knowledge will help. I currently work for a group of doctors and listed on the job postings include a Patient Advocate and Scanner / Clerk. The patient advocate reviews a patients account, lets the billers know if they need to do something with the accounts, they may even find and verify the patient has other insurance they never told us about. The scanner scans in all encounter forms and EOBs. I started out doing follow up calls for a surgery center. I would call and find out why a claim was not paid and reported back to the biller on what needed to be done to get a claim paid. Small offices will often hire part time patient billers and allow you to go to school. Prior to taking the AAPC exam I had my office manager write a letter about my experience to AAPC and also my advisor at college. I passed on my first try and never had the CPC-A attached to my name. I would suggest trying to get a job in the medical field prior to starting or during college and not wait until you have the CPC attached to your name.
Another thing is NETWORK. It often is not what you know but who you know. I was able to help my friend get a job 3 months prior to her completing college. We both worked for an OB/GYN until the office manager asked us to do something we did not agree with. My husband helped me get a temporary job at a multi-specialty group and when a permanent position became available I took that. I was able to get my friend into the temporary position and she is now permanent. If you are a good worker then it will pay to know people.
 

cryvmat

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AAPC is a RIPOFF

I agree with you. AAPC takes your money and offers no assistance. I am looking into finding out what government agency regulates AAPC so that they can get fined for stealing and leading people on.
 
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