Letting Credentials Expire

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I am writing hoping to get some advise or inspiration concerning renewing my membership/credential as a CPC-A.

I passed the CPC exam in August 2010 with an 89% on my first try. I was excited about getting a job and was confident in my abilities (I really loved Radiology and Anesthesia coding). My local college had told me that the coding field was in need of coders and that need would only grow. There would be plenty of opportunities.

Unfortunately that opportunity never came, despite lengthy efforts. No one wanted to hire a CPC-A. They wanted experience and could afford to be picky in this economy. I could not afford to volunteer my time. I continued with a few more courses at my local college and became an Administrative Medical Assistant as well - as a back up.

Since then I have only been able to get work as a MA but still have not had any luck in the coding field. I live paycheck to paycheck and cannot afford some of the better CEU options. I have been making due with the Test Yourself quizzes and attend local chapter meetings (my chapter is struggling and I fear they will have to close). I cannot afford the current coding books (I still hold on to my 2010 editions). My employer uses an outside coder so I do not have access to any current books through them.

It's been almost 2 years since I've had much real practice coding. With ICD-10 approaching I feel like all my efforts and education will be wasted. I am seriously considering letting my membership and my credentials expire and focus only on my MA CEUs. I feel like I am investing in nothing.

I am saddened by this because I loved coding while I was in school. I caught on quickly and have enjoyed the coding community since. My professor had told me once, "Never, never, NEVER let a credential expire" I guess I just need some convincing. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this as I'm sure several of you have been here. Thank you.
 

jyotirvora

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I am in the same boat. but Please try your best to keep your credentials as you never know when an opportunity will come up. All the best for your job search. Its really not easy specially in these tough times. Hope you get something soon.
 

mbuike

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Don't give up!

Yes,
you should definitely do everything you can to keep your credential- I think you will find a coding position especially with your MA experience- you now have an even better understanding of the procedures, plus the way a medical office works (such as flow of information and how tests are ordered and patient information is gathered), the software systems, etc.
I know many medical billing specialists that transferred from MA work, and they make the best billers! They are always interested in getting a coding credential, but sometimes this extra work to study for the CPC exam is too much for them while working at the same time. You have more tenacity than you know, so don't give up!
It may take more than a year to get a substantial basis for all this, and to somehow transfer the skills onto your resume to make this clear, but keep reminding your manager that you have your coding certification and are interested so she will keep you in mind in case the outsourced coding does not work out! Many offices have an on-site coder that can be a great resource to providers and staff with questions, and can catch missed revenue plus fix mistakes before they happen.
Best of luck to you.
 

kathyhibbs

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Keeping Credentials

::(QUOTE=kathyhibbs;222295]I read this post and related a lot. When I started working on my CPC, I began to realize that this was not the certification that employers were seeking. Because I was about halfway through, I decided to complete it. During this time I didn't see job postings requiring CPC credentials. Instead I would see job opening requiring CCS and other credentials through AHIMA, especially at the hospital level. Here it is, two years after I received my certification, and I haven't found a job requiring my AAPC certificatiion. I am still working at the job that I've been working at for over 6 years but having this certification doesn't seem to have benefitted me professionally, only personally knowing that I set a goal and achieved it.

Maybe if I had done better research I would be a Certified Coding Specialst instead.[/QUOTE]
 

cordelia

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even if you had passed the CCS test, you would still be in the same spot where employers require experience. Keep looking for an entry level non coding HIM job, something to get your foot in the door, help you gain experience and move up. That is how most of us (myself included) started out, doing a non coding job.

Cordelia, CCS, CPC
 

semaxwell1

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Try going for RHIA or RHIT

With the mandate of EHR/EMR increasing, I'm seriously thinking about going for the RHIT certification. It's not a coding credential, but IMO it's more marketable and can more easily get my foot in the door and open more opportunities that later could lead to a coding job. I'm good with computers and software. There's no doubt that positions managing EHR/EMR will increase. ;)

I've noticed more and more job postings have RHIA or RHIT listed as a required certification. Of course, depending on the type of position and duties will require an actual coding certification,

There are a couple of local schools that are CAHIIM accredited, and after completing the degree program there I can sit for the RHIT exam. I'm hoping some of the courses I took for my Associate's degree at a local community college will transfer to those schools.

At least there's no “A” stigma with the RHIT. :eek:
 
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I have just recently graduated from a college coding program. I talked to a local hospital recruiter about getting a job as a coder. She told me this:

There is no shortage of coders, there never has been. It's a scam put on by online colleges to make money. Most coders are trained and promoted from within the hospital. N o one is going to hire a coder with no experience because there are to many people working in hospitals that want those jobs. She flatly told me I threw away 12,500 dollars.:mad:
 

zanalee

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I started out as CPC-A did billing/filing, coding position opened up and i got it. I worked there for 2 yrs and saw no improvement on pay and i wasnt learning anymore. i applied at an agency that had contracts with hospitals, they paid me 3x more than what i was making. I got hired with the hospital that i was contract for, with my CPC. I worked with so many people who carries a CCS didnt know what that was, so i research and bought the study guide and passed the CCS (6 yrs ago) . I am still looking for inpt work, so it wasnt the CCS that got me places. But im sure is a big help on my resume.
 

kevbshields

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I don't care what this hospital recruiter told you--she is not a coder, not a manager of HIM and has NO TIME in our industry; her credibility is nill. There most certainly has been a shortage of qualified coders for many years. Some examples, in my relatively recent job as an HIM Supervisor, we had between 3 and 4 coding vacancies arise on my watch. Despite applicants in excess of 30 for each job, less than 10 of them were qualified to interview. Although there may have been some folks in the 30 that had experience, they didn't do a good job of proving it with their Resume. Of the 6 or so we interviewed for each position, I can never recall there being anything less than a landslide toward whatever candidate we selected in the end. We did not just seek out experienced coders; we also found entry-level coders appropriate for interview. Most people who applied had no experience, no clue about the job and knew that it was a "desk job." Yes, there was a shortage of coders in my pool! Plenty of nurses, who couldn't tell me the difference between a CPT and an ICD-9 code, but just as many people who claimed to have some experience, but couldn't answer that basic question.

Here's a set of what I saw: the experienced coders came to the interview knowing as little about the position as the entry-level folks interviewing. Their interview skills were lacking and they couldn't readily articulate their interest in our organization, nor describe any contemporary continuing education--NONE! The folks we always ended up choosing were superb in the interviews, had solid references, even if they had very limited experiences coding. They were polite, researched the job or organization, could speak about their personal and professional interests in us and talk about continuing education they had completed or wanted to complete through us. They admitted, "I don't know it all, but I'd like to learn."

I'd offer too, that when I consulted, there was an obvious lack of qualified coders and auditors. They flew me from Kentucky to California every other week; I was not the only one who traveled, about 60% of our consultants traveled way across state lines to work--because they couldn't recruit anyone qualified for the job.

Let me also say that in many of the billing jobs I've seen open, they do not get the same response as coder vacancies. Those candidates, in the cases I've seen, have even less hands-on experience, but someone has to be selected to get the job.

Before you trust recruiters, make sure they know the material to which they're addressing. I'd also point out to you that if there really has been no shortage of us in your area, consider relocating.
 

rthames052006

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Since then I have only been able to get work as a MA but still have not had any luck in the coding field. I live paycheck to paycheck and cannot afford some of the better CEU options. I have been making due with the Test Yourself quizzes and attend local chapter meetings (my chapter is struggling and I fear they will have to close). I cannot afford the current coding books (I still hold on to my 2010 editions). My employer uses an outside coder so I do not have access to any current books through them.


Hey Lrhines, I copied the above paragraph from your original thread that I wanted to comment on.

Have you heard the news about the AAPCCA Scholarship Fund! It was "unvailed" at the National Conference in April! You'd need to submit an application and you can find information on this Scholarship Fund by logging in to your account then on the "blue bar" scroll over to " MY AAPC" click on that link you'll see a link for " Scholarship", there you will find all the information pertaining to the scholarship, how to apply and what the scholarship can be used for. The things you've mentioned in the above paragraph would be eligible ( CEU's, coding books).

Best of luck to you and I too hope you decide to keep up with your credential, you might look back one day and regret that you let your credentials lapse.

Just my advice.
 

cingram

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Maybe you should change your resume a bit, take the "A" off by your name but put it in your skill set put that you passed the cpc exam with an 89% and that you are still the apprentice status. I bet that will get you some interviews. That will make the employer read your whole resume and not just see the "A" and move on and you will not be lying either.
 

Lateefah26

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I am due to renew my membership in 2/13 if I can't find a job in the field I am going to let my certification go as well. I would love to code but it is very hard to break into the field...:(
 

roeslerje

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I am due to renew my membership in 2/13 if I can't find a job in the field I am going to let my certification go as well. I would love to code but it is very hard to break into the field...:(
If you are planning to stay in the medical field, just not as a coder, I would consider keeping the credential up. It has relevance elsewhere in the field. When I took my first medical job (insurance follow-up) I was started at a higher pay rate because of my CPC-A credential. It was not a high-paying job, but even if I only earned an extra 10 cents more per hour, it more than covered my annual dues.
 

roeslerje

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Maybe you should change your resume a bit, take the "A" off by your name but put it in your skill set put that you passed the cpc exam with an 89% and that you are still the apprentice status. I bet that will get you some interviews. That will make the employer read your whole resume and not just see the "A" and move on and you will not be lying either.
Are you suggesting that she put "Mary Smith, CPC" at the top of her resume, and then later clarify that she is an apprentice? I'm not really a fan of that. People work hard to earn the CPC after their names. If she just put "Mary Smith" at the top of the resume, and then added the credential specifics later, that would seem a little more ethical to me. I'd love to hear what those who read resumes and do the hiring think of that--maybe it's just me.
 

bfontaine

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You are correct, I would NEVER put a CPC after your name until you are one. If you only list your name, then put below that you are certified as an apprentice, it would be more ethical. Keep your certification!! It will be worth it. I know it's hard to see the big picture when you are struggling, but you can find lots of free CEU's through CMS, your Medicare carrier, and other places so don't use that as an excuse to drop your credential. It's expensive and time consuming to get it back. Apply for jobs in Medical Records, Insurance follow up, ANYWHERE you can get your foot in the door and good luck!!!
 

cingram

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Are you suggesting that she put "Mary Smith, CPC" at the top of her resume, and then later clarify that she is an apprentice? I'm not really a fan of that. People work hard to earn the CPC after their names. If she just put "Mary Smith" at the top of the resume, and then added the credential specifics later, that would seem a little more ethical to me. I'd love to hear what those who read resumes and do the hiring think of that--maybe it's just me.
Its not about ethics. a CPC is still a CPC even if you have the "A" after it. Its the same test and same requirements. I never did this because I never had a hard time getting interviews even with the "A" on the end. but sometimes that is what you have to do to get an interview. Do you think its "ethical" that an employer doesnt look through someones resume just because of 1 letter at the end of their certification?
 

roeslerje

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Its not about ethics. a CPC is still a CPC even if you have the "A" after it. Its the same test and same requirements. I never did this because I never had a hard time getting interviews even with the "A" on the end. but sometimes that is what you have to do to get an interview. Do you think its "ethical" that an employer doesnt look through someones resume just because of 1 letter at the end of their certification?
Well, it seems to me that it is inaccurate and misleading to present oneself as a CPC when the correct credential earned is CPC-A. An employer who won't look at a CPC-A's resume is not being dishonest. It may be limiting his/her choices to his/her own detriment, but usually employers have specific criteria in mind, and that may mean a CPC with a certain number of years' experience.
 

cingram

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Its not inaccurate at all as long as you put that you are apprentice level in your resume. Plus the employer will know by your expierence anyway. The employers I have talked to said they dont care if the "A" is on there or not they are still a CPC because they had to pass the test. But I live in a state where it seems pretty easy to find a job with or without the "A"
 

gared111

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Honestly, I would never hire someone that lied on their application, and I would consider leaving the "A" off a lie. That time spent as an apprectice is extremely important for learning how to apply the huge amount of info learned in school. Heck, I've been doing this for over 20 years now, & I still learn something new most weeks.

So yes, I would leave that "A" on your application until you're no longer an apprentice. That being said, the last 2 places I have worked would have hired an apprentice in a heartbeat if they had great references, and came across well in their interview.

Don't let your credentials expire if at all possible. Do you really want to sit through that 5 hour test again?
 

cingram

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Well its not lying because it is still in your resume. what about the people who lie about how long they were at a job and this is a very common practice that is encouraged by staffing agencies to help you get the job with one of their clients.
 

roeslerje

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It is, however, misleading. Many employers will not feel the same way you do, so I would definitely not offer that as key "get noticed" advice for job-seekers. And the fact that other people lie on resumes isn't much of an argument.
 

bfontaine

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You can't live your life doing something because someone else thinks it's right or has done something that you know is not ethical and gotten away with it. In the AAPC we are constantly held to "Upholding a Higher Standard" and if you are a member of the AAPC you agreed to the following Code of Ethics. Don't get carried away by representing yourself in a deceptive manner, no matter what other people do. I say, if you think employers are discarding your application prematurely, show your name only at the top of your resume. Don't make any reference to your CPC-A there if you so choose, but do mention it in your educational background because to some employers, its a plus. I know if I had an opening in my A/R department if a CPC-A applied I would be more than willing to give them an interview and see if I thought they were otherwise qualified.

In case you may have forgotten, here's what you agreed to by becoming a member of the AAPC:

AAPC Code of EthicsMembers of the American Academy of Professional Coders
(AAPC) shall be dedicated to providing the highest standard of
professional coding and billing services to employers, clients,
and patients. Professional and personal behavior of AAPC
members must be exemplary.
AAPC members shall maintain the highest standard
of personal and professional conduct.
Members shall
respect the rights of patients, clients, employers, and all
other colleagues.
Members shall use only legal and ethical means in all
professional dealings, and shall refuse to cooperate with,
or condone by silence, the actions of those who engage in
fraudulent, deceptive, or illegal acts.
Members shall respect and adhere to the laws and regulations
of the land, and uphold the mission statement of the AAPC.
Members shall pursue excellence through continuing
education in all areas applicable to their profession.
Members shall strive to maintain and enhance the dignity,
status, competence, and standards of coding for professional
services.
Members shall not exploit professional relationships with
patients, employees, clients, or employers for personal gain.
This code of ethical standards for members of the AAPC strives
to promote and maintain the highest standard of professional
service and conduct among its members. Adherence to these
standards assures public confidence in the integrity and service
of professional coders who are members of the AAPC.
Failure to adhere to these standards, as determined by AAPC,
will result in the loss of credentials and membership with the
American Academy of Professional Coders.

I'm just sayin' sometimes it's not easy to do the right thing, but we all should recognize the opportunity to do it when we see it. Think of it as making us all proud that we passed that tough exam, and prouder still that you did the right thing.
 

cingram

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just so you all know I have not done any of these practices, but when I met with a staffing agency they redid my resume and took out some of my jobs becuase they were temp positions and they had submitted my resume like this before I even got to see what they did and proof it. Plus like I had said before you are putting in your credentials on your resume. You are just using the top as an attention grabber. Anyway I just got my "A" removed in march but when I had the "A" it was at the top of the resume and in my skill set I had the date that I passed the CPC so it was in there more than once. Employers are willing to give students a chance. Before my first job in the field my job expierence was walmart, a bowling proshop, and working security for the az cardinals. so it is possible you just have to apply for everything. Once you get that interview you are on your own you have to "prove" that you are expierenced. Remember schooling is expierence just not on the job expierence. so maybe talk to someone in the field that is in the specialty so you can get some interview tips based on that speciality.
 

ksue

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Cpc-a

Well I lost over 200.00 dollars on the remove your A course that took me 3 months to complete 1/2 of it then was stopped and I was told no refund..so what was the point? I was extra mad as I quit my job to complete this course. I guess you could say I coded about a 400 op reports which I never knew if I coded them correctly or not. I am so mad at the AAPC with not doing enough to help CPC-A coders. I believe they should do more for new coders maybe recruit experienced coders to give workshops that will count as experience..something. I'm not a rocket scientist but I could come up with some better ways to help new coders get experience!
 
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Pam Brooks

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Maybe you should change your resume a bit, take the "A" off by your name but put it in your skill set put that you passed the cpc exam with an 89% and that you are still the apprentice status. I bet that will get you some interviews. That will make the employer read your whole resume and not just see the "A" and move on and you will not be lying either.

This is unethical at the very least. And when I hire...I always go to the AAPC website and check to see if you are credentialled (because it's a job requirement). I would then see that you are an apprentice, and would not hire you because you intentionally misrepresented yourself.
Hiring managers aren't stupid. But this was a poor suggestion, and I wouldn't recommend anyone follow it.
 

MnTwins29

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Wow, cingram...

that staffing agency really gave some bad advice. I was shocked that they stated to leave out the temporary jobs. That is experience that may make a difference and should not be omitted. Were they worried it portrays a poor picture of stability or too much job-hopping? In today's economy, more hiring managers realize people take temporary jobs because that is better than no job. All that takes is a notation the job is temporary, and then explain the circumstances if asked in the interview. Plus leaving the "A" out? Glad you dropped them!
 

Pam Brooks

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I'm not a rocket scientist but I could come up with some better ways to help new coders get experience!
I'm not sure if you're just venting, or if you're serious. I'm involved in my local AAPC chapter where there are dozens of new coders who would love to learn how to get more experience. I'd be very happy to hear if you have any fresh ideas on how to provide experience to newly-certified coders that aren't able to find employment. I'm always looking for new ways to help out beginning coders, and if you have some thoughts to share, I'd love to hear them, because I'm running out. Thanks!
 

cingram

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that staffing agency really gave some bad advice. I was shocked that they stated to leave out the temporary jobs. That is experience that may make a difference and should not be omitted. Were they worried it portrays a poor picture of stability or too much job-hopping? In today's economy, more hiring managers realize people take temporary jobs because that is better than no job. All that takes is a notation the job is temporary, and then explain the circumstances if asked in the interview. Plus leaving the "A" out? Glad you dropped them!
I didnt drop them they just got me a job for hospital coding but in the interviews I did tell them everything that I did. Yes they wanted to leave it out cause it looks like I was job hopping cause the position was only 1 month long as a claims processor.
 

checkers454

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What a scam!!!!!!!!!!!

I am glad there are others in the same boat as me. I have spent a fortune on my medical education over the years. And I even have years of medical office experience. I was thrilled at having passed my CPC exam the first time! Now, since no one is willing to give me at least one year of experience in coding that I need, I am going to let my credentials expire. I worked so hard and spent so much money. :mad: I have a huge loan to pay off. Can't spend a penny more on AAPC. Please help!!!!
 
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I don't care what this hospital recruiter told you--she is not a coder, not a manager of HIM and has NO TIME in our industry; her credibility is nill. There most certainly has been a shortage of qualified coders for many years. Some examples, in my relatively recent job as an HIM Supervisor, we had between 3 and 4 coding vacancies arise on my watch. Despite applicants in excess of 30 for each job, less than 10 of them were qualified to interview. Although there may have been some folks in the 30 that had experience, they didn't do a good job of proving it with their Resume. Of the 6 or so we interviewed for each position, I can never recall there being anything less than a landslide toward whatever candidate we selected in the end. We did not just seek out experienced coders; we also found entry-level coders appropriate for interview. Most people who applied had no experience, no clue about the job and knew that it was a "desk job." Yes, there was a shortage of coders in my pool! Plenty of nurses, who couldn't tell me the difference between a CPT and an ICD-9 code, but just as many people who claimed to have some experience, but couldn't answer that basic question.

Here's a set of what I saw: the experienced coders came to the interview knowing as little about the position as the entry-level folks interviewing. Their interview skills were lacking and they couldn't readily articulate their interest in our organization, nor describe any contemporary continuing education--NONE! The folks we always ended up choosing were superb in the interviews, had solid references, even if they had very limited experiences coding. They were polite, researched the job or organization, could speak about their personal and professional interests in us and talk about continuing education they had completed or wanted to complete through us. They admitted, "I don't know it all, but I'd like to learn."

I'd offer too, that when I consulted, there was an obvious lack of qualified coders and auditors. They flew me from Kentucky to California every other week; I was not the only one who traveled, about 60% of our consultants traveled way across state lines to work--because they couldn't recruit anyone qualified for the job.

Let me also say that in many of the billing jobs I've seen open, they do not get the same response as coder vacancies. Those candidates, in the cases I've seen, have even less hands-on experience, but someone has to be selected to get the job.

Before you trust recruiters, make sure they know the material to which they're addressing. I'd also point out to you that if there really has been no shortage of us in your area, consider relocating.
I am new to the forums, but I just wanted to say I enjoy reading your thoughts on various topics and this really hit home for me. I have 15+ years experience in the health insurance industry; I obtained my
CPC-A in 2010 and my CPC-H-A in 2011. I am currently struggling with the realization that many employers are only considering candidates with AHIMA credentials and have had thoughts of letting my credentials expire and going back to the contract/travel insurance industry. You have given me a few things to think about and for that, I thank you.

Cheresa R. Burks, CPC-A, CPC-H-A
 

holnkevin

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I have been feeling the same way, I do not want to continue paying for this membership and ceu when the opportunity isn't there with the pay, I am working in coding but the pay is not what I was hoping for when I decided on this career, I have been considering changing careers but until I decide which career I guess I will have to keep the credentials up.
 

cherillo

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keep it

Never let a credential go, you never know when you will need it, years down the road. It takes alot to get a credential. It's easy to let it go, but hard to get back. Keep it.:)
 
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Never get discouraged and let your credential expire. You worked too hard to get it! You never know when something will come up for you. I had 15yrs experience as a Biller/AR Rep when I got my certification in May 2012. (I had only been with current company since Oct 2010) A coding position opened up within the company in Oct 2012. I applied and got the job. Always start somewhere because in the future a coding position may open up within the company! It did for me!

C. Davenport
CPC-A
 

ksd

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When I started out with my CPC (not -A but full CPC), I was only making $12/hour. You get paid more with the more experience you have as a coder. I now make significantly more than that as I have a lot more experience in different aspects of coding. It was not a slow increase either but a rapid one within a few years time to make a decent wage as a CPC. Just had to as I stated get the experience and prove my knowledge beyond a multiple choice test. As far as the CEU's go. Attend local chapter meetings each month. that will earn you 1 CEU at least each time and a GREAT way to network and find out who locally may be hiring. ALWAYS dress as you would to an interview cause you never know who you may bump into and leave an impression. Also do the monthly cutting edge tests. They will give you 1 free ceu per month. Between those two things, you can get all the ceu's you need for free and only have to worry about the annual AAPC dues which are only about $10/month. It is worth keeping your certification as you worked your butt off for it.
 
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Certainly agree with KSD above. I attend all chapter meetings and complete the monthly Cutting Edge. At my local chapter meetings, there are always job announcements and sometimes even the hiring manager of a company that has openings. At one meeting, the hiring manager made the job announcement. Before the meeting was over, a coder handed the hiring manager her resume. networking pays!!
 
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Since then I have only been able to get work as a MA but still have not had any luck in the coding field. I live paycheck to paycheck and cannot afford some of the better CEU options. I have been making due with the Test Yourself quizzes and attend local chapter meetings (my chapter is struggling and I fear they will have to close). I cannot afford the current coding books (I still hold on to my 2010 editions). My employer uses an outside coder so I do not have access to any current books through them.


Hey Lrhines, I copied the above paragraph from your original thread that I wanted to comment on.

Have you heard the news about the AAPCCA Scholarship Fund! It was "unvailed" at the National Conference in April! You'd need to submit an application and you can find information on this Scholarship Fund by logging in to your account then on the "blue bar" scroll over to " MY AAPC" click on that link you'll see a link for " Scholarship", there you will find all the information pertaining to the scholarship, how to apply and what the scholarship can be used for. The things you've mentioned in the above paragraph would be eligible ( CEU's, coding books).

Best of luck to you and I too hope you decide to keep up with your credential, you might look back one day and regret that you let your credentials lapse.

Just my advice.
Thanks so much for this information. I am currently unemployed (with few prospects on the horizon) and I'm not sure I will have the fee to renew my membership; I definitely don't have any money to pay for additional CEUs.
 

rick_54

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Hello all,
My situation is somewhat similar, except I did have a coding job with a major hospital for the last 15 months. Unfortunately, I lost my coding job three days ago due to the fact that I did not secure a CCS (AHIMA) credential by the end of March. My CPC-A was not preferred by my supervisor. I was told that the hospital follows AHIMA period, end of story.

Now it seems that the only employers that accept AAPC credentials are individual physicians offices where pay is low and there are no healthcare benefits.

The sad story behind all this is that AHIMA and AAPC are both parasitic organizations by nature. They survive off membership dues and sales of mandatory CEU's. They give there approval/endorsement to a college program curriculum with the hopes that the college will endorse joining their membership ranks on completion of the program. A university program does not modify coding classes dependent on whether you're going to join AHIMA or AAPC. Although, I will say that if you want to sit for the RHIA credential, AHIMA requires that you have a four-year degree. For a RHIT credential, a two-year degree. And for those of you who have tried to save on student loan costs and gone the coding certificate route, AHIMA was pushing a required 3-5 years coding experience before attempting the CCS credential, which by the way, only has a passing rate of 47%.

I can understand why so many members are reluctant on renewing their membership. I just recently expressed these concerns in the first on-line survey put out by AAPC. Why are they not going to bat for the membership when it comes to hospital setting employment? Is there some kind of collusion going on, or unwritten agreement as to who represents what HIM territory??

What really takes the cake in all this is the fact that even though you've learned the basics of coding from your institution of higher learning, when you do obtain a job, regardless of the credential held, you're going to spend a good amount of "training time" to learn exactly how your new employer wants you to code their charts using their coding methods!

I'm afraid that if you really want a good paying job with health benefits, your going to have to somehow get an AHIMA credential.
 
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Hello all,
My situation is somewhat similar, except I did have a coding job with a major hospital for the last 15 months. Unfortunately, I lost my coding job three days ago due to the fact that I did not secure a CCS (AHIMA) credential by the end of March. My CPC-A was not preferred by my supervisor. I was told that the hospital follows AHIMA period, end of story.

Now it seems that the only employers that accept AAPC credentials are individual physicians offices where pay is low and there are no healthcare benefits.

The sad story behind all this is that AHIMA and AAPC are both parasitic organizations by nature. They survive off membership dues and sales of mandatory CEU's. They give there approval/endorsement to a college program curriculum with the hopes that the college will endorse joining their membership ranks on completion of the program. A university program does not modify coding classes dependent on whether you're going to join AHIMA or AAPC. Although, I will say that if you want to sit for the RHIA credential, AHIMA requires that you have a four-year degree. For a RHIT credential, a two-year degree. And for those of you who have tried to save on student loan costs and gone the coding certificate route, AHIMA was pushing a required 3-5 years coding experience before attempting the CCS credential, which by the way, only has a passing rate of 47%.

I can understand why so many members are reluctant on renewing their membership. I just recently expressed these concerns in the first on-line survey put out by AAPC. Why are they not going to bat for the membership when it comes to hospital setting employment? Is there some kind of collusion going on, or unwritten agreement as to who represents what HIM territory??

What really takes the cake in all this is the fact that even though you've learned the basics of coding from your institution of higher learning, when you do obtain a job, regardless of the credential held, you're going to spend a good amount of "training time" to learn exactly how your new employer wants you to code their charts using their coding methods!

I'm afraid that if you really want a good paying job with health benefits, your going to have to somehow get an AHIMA credential.
I am trying to get various opinions on this. Should I go for the RHIT or the CCA?
 

rick_54

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From my experience working with other coders, 98% have the RHIT credential. I think this is pretty much the standard coding credential. It will require a two year degree from an AHIMA accredited HIM program.
 

Pam Brooks

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I'm going to disagree with the comments about the CPC. In New England, the CPC certification is not only desired and valued, but my hospital requires it for all of our physician coders. It all depends on the work you do.

I do see RHIA and RHIT, as well as CCS being required for facility coders (those who code the inpatient record, and abstract the DRG), but professional-fee coders who audit, code surgeries, do billing and outpatient coding are very employable with their CPC. I see openings at Dartmouth, all of the Boston-based facilties, as well as work in my area (seacoast NH) requiring and accepting CPCs. Perhaps things are different in other areas of the country.
 

ErikAZ

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Of the coders working in my department we have me (credentials below), two RHIT and two CPC (one just passed her CIRCC). Two previous coders we had were an RHIT and a CCS. Generally for hospitals AHIMA credentials are highly sought after. The way to get into a hospital as a CPC is to specialize like our new CIRCC above. I was hired as a concurrent coder here with the CCS-P and CPC neither of which is a hospital coding credential.

I agree with many others the best way is to take another position then try for a lateral move. One huge problem now is so many coders work remote that there isn't anyone there to train a new coder. I have an AHIMA CCS student in my department now doing her practicum and honestly she seems really sharp. The last coder we hired had done her RHIT practicticum in our HIMS department then took a job in staffing for six months until we had a coder opening. We already knew we wanted her because she made such a good practicum image.

Keep the credential active. ICD10 is coming and there will be jobs then. If your working in a hospital HIMS department already you've got a foot in the door. The big thing is don't give up.

Erik
 

ErikAZ

Networker
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Location
Greenville SC Chapter
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Hello all,
My situation is somewhat similar, except I did have a coding job with a major hospital for the last 15 months. Unfortunately, I lost my coding job three days ago due to the fact that I did not secure a CCS (AHIMA) credential by the end of March. My CPC-A was not preferred by my supervisor. I was told that the hospital follows AHIMA period, end of story.

Now it seems that the only employers that accept AAPC credentials are individual physicians offices where pay is low and there are no healthcare benefits.

The sad story behind all this is that AHIMA and AAPC are both parasitic organizations by nature. They survive off membership dues and sales of mandatory CEU's. They give there approval/endorsement to a college program curriculum with the hopes that the college will endorse joining their membership ranks on completion of the program. A university program does not modify coding classes dependent on whether you're going to join AHIMA or AAPC. Although, I will say that if you want to sit for the RHIA credential, AHIMA requires that you have a four-year degree. For a RHIT credential, a two-year degree. And for those of you who have tried to save on student loan costs and gone the coding certificate route, AHIMA was pushing a required 3-5 years coding experience before attempting the CCS credential, which by the way, only has a passing rate of 47%.

I can understand why so many members are reluctant on renewing their membership. I just recently expressed these concerns in the first on-line survey put out by AAPC. Why are they not going to bat for the membership when it comes to hospital setting employment? Is there some kind of collusion going on, or unwritten agreement as to who represents what HIM territory??

What really takes the cake in all this is the fact that even though you've learned the basics of coding from your institution of higher learning, when you do obtain a job, regardless of the credential held, you're going to spend a good amount of "training time" to learn exactly how your new employer wants you to code their charts using their coding methods!

I'm afraid that if you really want a good paying job with health benefits, your going to have to somehow get an AHIMA credential.
As a member of both there are a few differences between AAPC and AHIMA.

1. AHIMA is non-profit whereas AAPC is for profit.

2. AHIMA doesn't require you to be a member to be credentialed whereas AAPC does.

3. AHIMA is pretty much the gold standard for hospital credentialing. AAPC came up with the CPC-H but that's still basically an outpatient credential more attuned to someplace like an ancillary care center or specialty hospital.

While I was hired as a concurrent coder with just a CCS-P and CPC I made very clear in my interview that I planned to get the CCS (which I did about a year later) and eventually the RHIA (in school now). It's not easy at almost 50 to take tests and go back to school but you do what you have to.

If someone has the time and wants to work in a hospital as a coder (or even a HIMS tech to get in the door) I 100% recommend the RHIT and the two year Associates Degree in Health Sciences that comes with it. As someone who has interviewed coder applicants I can tell you it's not an easy credential to obtain but it's worth it.

Erik
 
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As a member of both there are a few differences between AAPC and AHIMA.

1. AHIMA is non-profit whereas AAPC is for profit.

2. AHIMA doesn't require you to be a member to be credentialed whereas AAPC does.

3. AHIMA is pretty much the gold standard for hospital credentialing. AAPC came up with the CPC-H but that's still basically an outpatient credential more attuned to someplace like an ancillary care center or specialty hospital.

While I was hired as a concurrent coder with just a CCS-P and CPC I made very clear in my interview that I planned to get the CCS (which I did about a year later) and eventually the RHIA (in school now). It's not easy at almost 50 to take tests and go back to school but you do what you have to.

If someone has the time and wants to work in a hospital as a coder (or even a HIMS tech to get in the door) I 100% recommend the RHIT and the two year Associates Degree in Health Sciences that comes with it. As someone who has interviewed coder applicants I can tell you it's not an easy credential to obtain but it's worth it.

Erik
Erik,
Great information and you are very smart.
 

checkers454

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Proud but Disappointed-Please reply

Hi. I would like to agree with some of the posts on here about not being able to get a job coding. I have taken health science and nursing courses beginning in the 80's in NJ at a very reputable junior college and then after moving to GA years later at a very good technical college. I always stayed in the medical field hoping to get employment one day, since my BA has not been very marketable. In Thomasville, GA I completed the Medical Assisting program with honors, however, I did not complete my clinical because there was not a good office to use. And thus, was not abel to obtain my CMA. After moving to Augusta, GA, I decided to take an online course in medical coding, billing, and insurance. I completed it with a 4.0 GPA. Since passing the CPC exam, I have not been able to find an office to do an externship and remove my "A" or to get a job.

Having completed all those difficult courses and spending all that money, it becomes very discouraging. I have second thoughts about my online school and AAPC and my Local Chapter, since they have been the most expensive. They have not given me a chance. I seriously doubt I will renew my membership with AAPC for the 4th year since I don't have the money to buy the new ICD-10 books. I can't spend anymore hard earned money on this.

Please send your thoughts. :(:eek::eek::)
 

bugsy4cpc

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Happy, yet sad...

Happy to know I am not the only one yet sad it has to be this way! I am in the same boat as all of you. I have been certified since 2006 and have been in and out of coding since. I started out with ortho surgeries and fell in love with that. If I had stayed there I would probably still be there instead of unemployed! Through my travels I have gained a wide range of specialty coding which I thought would be beneficial. It has not turned out that way at all. As for remote coding, I have taken several of the tests offered and not passed one. This is so darn confusing to me! I am constantly told I need to be coding for the facility not the provider. What?? Anyway, I was faced with giving up my credentials as well. Through some sound advice, though, I went ahead and renewed for another two years. Always being told "something will come along". I am very saddened by the whole experience. I absolutely love coding!! Don't know what keeps going so terribly wrong.
 
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