No Coding Jobs for inexperienced Coders

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I agree, what can be done?

Hi, my name is Cynthia. I live in Detroit, MI. Although I recently finshed a Medical Insurance Billing and Coding course at Everest with a 4.0/4.0 GPA (HONORS) I have not been able to land a job. This is crazy. I went through the entire 8 month program with stella grades 4.0 from day one, and I am sitll not able to land a job in this field. I participated in the Student Leader program (Ambassador Igniters), I even worked as a student work study during the same time period, and still graduated with honors. The last month of the course we were required to work in an externship. I worked for a Billing Company. They did every type of billing imaginable. I worked on follow-up (I loved it) I found thousands as errors, and dollars that needed to be resubmitted for payment. I think that because I was new and found all of these errors committed by veteran staff with an average 5 years of work experience, I was not hired. If it was me, I would think that I had found a jewel. I would have though: wow this person is just coming out of school and can help this much with recouping moneys that would have not been seen, oh I need to hire her. But not so much.

I read your entry, and I think that something should be done. There should be an incentive for employers to hire new students that graduate from Billing programs with good grades. Also those that receive certification should receive a signing bonus for doing so before being hired. How is the world of Billing going to change and become better if those that are already in the field are scared for new talent to correct errors that are made. How are the new people supposed to learn about how the system works -- and then change it or tweak it so that it gets better. The system is broke and it needs to be fixed.
 
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I think you just learned how the system works !

I have been looking since April. And like you, I see the inequity in the system. However, as many before me have found out, without networking, you will not get in this field. It is very much like the "Good Ole Boys" political system. It is not what you know, but who you know. By finding those errors, you found a chink in the armour of the supervisor, dept mgr, human resources, etc. There is no way any one of those supervisory people can go to their boss and say, our seasoned people are costing us money, so lets hire this new person to correct it. They look at it like that would be admitting they are not on top of their job and possibly put it in jeopardy. They fail to realize the boss would be thrilled to recoup more revenue and probably thank them for correcting the problem. Keep looking, keep your head up and when you feel down and out just remember ICD-10 is coming and many of those people will not be able to make the switch. Our job is out there it is just a matter of time.

Another path you might want to look into is auditing. RAC is doing spot audits and have been hiring people to do that. I don't know where you are, but with a little research, you can certaily find out how to apply. You have a proven track record for finding errors, they would love you. It stands to reason if they were undercoding in that office, chances are they were making other mistakes also. Just a thought. Keep me posted

Hi, my name is Cynthia. I live in Detroit, MI. Although I recently finshed a Medical Insurance Billing and Coding course at Everest with a 4.0/4.0 GPA (HONORS) I have not been able to land a job. This is crazy. I went through the entire 8 month program with stella grades 4.0 from day one, and I am sitll not able to land a job in this field. I participated in the Student Leader program (Ambassador Igniters), I even worked as a student work study during the same time period, and still graduated with honors. The last month of the course we were required to work in an externship. I worked for a Billing Company. They did every type of billing imaginable. I worked on follow-up (I loved it) I found thousands as errors, and dollars that needed to be resubmitted for payment. I think that because I was new and found all of these errors committed by veteran staff with an average 5 years of work experience, I was not hired. If it was me, I would think that I had found a jewel. I would have though: wow this person is just coming out of school and can help this much with recouping moneys that would have not been seen, oh I need to hire her. But not so much.

I read your entry, and I think that something should be done. There should be an incentive for employers to hire new students that graduate from Billing programs with good grades. Also those that receive certification should receive a signing bonus for doing so before being hired. How is the world of Billing going to change and become better if those that are already in the field are scared for new talent to correct errors that are made. How are the new people supposed to learn about how the system works -- and then change it or tweak it so that it gets better. The system is broke and it needs to be fixed.
 
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Wait

I took everyones advice from this forum and called the local hospitals, doctors, and billing companies and did my research. Before you spend any more money on AAPC call your local billing offices and ask them if they will hire you without the "A". I did that and not one company was willing to hire me because I still didn't have 2 years CODING experinnce. I was told time and again, with the economy the way it is they can hire coders with 5-10 yrs exp for the same money they would pay me. My rebuttal to them was; but do they know the new codes, and updates that we were taught in the class and have kept up with after our schooling ended. Do they go to regular update seminars or do they just code what they know from the past and have their claims returned and dont know why. Some of the people were honest and admitted they didn't send their employees for continuing education refreshers. Others didn't answer, but you could see the wheels in their head start to spin with the thought that maybe they did have a complacency problem that might be costing them money.

This just came out last week. This sounds very promising and wonderful. As soon as I get certified, I am definitely going to try this out. :)

http://ht.ly/2CmAe

Virtual Experience: Apprentice Removal

As an alternative to on-the-job experience, a CPC-A may earn the removal of the apprentice designation by accurately coding 800 operative notes virtually. The operative notes are real, redacted notes representing 17 specialties and are available to code online. We believe this experience will closely simulate coding in a multi-specialty practice. This will serve two purposes for the CPC-A. First, it will enable the removal of the apprentice designation without having to get a job, which is often difficult to obtain without experience. Second, it gives the coder a proficiency score to show to potential employers to provide evidence of coding skills.
 

Emily Kort

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CPC-A Shares Your Frustration

I earned my CPC-A in November of 2009 and have been searching for a paid medical office position since. Currently, I work five days a week at my (non-medical ) paying job and two days a week at my free job as a retrograde chart auditor in a family practice. In the past seven months, I took just 10 days off from both jobs to catch my breath. This pace is the hardest thing I have ever done and I see no end in sight. I am in too deep to quit now! I have determined that my problem is that I have no mentor and I am not well-connected in the medical field because I am a career transitioner. I was having too many hopeless feelings and decided to take up weighlifting to increase my endorphins and improve my outlook--I seem to have less hopless feelings now, so that's a good thing. In our Great Lakes region, this is a typical scenario. No one I went to classes with has a job, either. In fact, our AAPC chaper has almost 500 members and 80% of them are unemployed CPC-As. What can I say? Keep putting one foot in front of the other and give yourself a hug.
 
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I too am a bit nervous about the future prospect of finding a coding job. Although I have my RHIT, CTR and a BS degree in Health Science I spent the bulk of my HIM career in Cancer Registry work. I have many years experience with chart review, abstracting and ICD-0 coding (ICD-0 coding though is not even in the same intense league as inpatient coding) BUT I am hoping that it will carry some weight with a prospective employer. I recently contacted a former supervisor (she is an RHIA and HIM/Director) and asked her for some solid advice on how best to build my resume and market myself. She is familiar with my work and has encouraged me to build upon my exsisting strength(s) in Oncology and has advised me to get my CCS-P (via AHIMA) since I have an RHIT and my CPC and CHONC (via AAPC). She further advised me to take formal classes on ICD-10 (via AHIMA & AAPC) and make certain to highlight these courses on my resume. She made a very valid point in that effective October 1 2013 we will all be beginners again and that the playing field will be more level as no one will have "3 - 5 years experience with ICD-10." She told me that she will be looking at "where coders received their training, and what steps they took on their own to prepare for ICD-10." She also informed me that she expects to lose coders who have been at it for years and do not wish to make the transition. Above all she said keep studying Anatomy and Physiology as those who are strong in A & P will be the ones who will excel. I certainly hope she is right as I plan to take her advice.....any thoughts???
 

jjones12

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Looking for coding job in maryland area.

Hello, I'm looking for a coding job in the MD/DC area. I obtained by CPC in Aug 2009. I have been working in the healthcare field for over 10 years. I currently work for a physician at a hospital in the Baltimore area but they do not hire new coders. I'm greatful for having a job, but I would like to focus on coding. If anyone know of any openings please let me know. I am willing to travel if I have to.

Thanks,

Gail.
 

anapravnik

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Huge increase in memberhip

I agree with the previous posts regarding the ooportunities that will present themselves
with the implementation of ICD-10. It struck me last night when I was reading my latest issue of the Coding Edge that in five years, AAPC membership has literally doubled.
Forgive me if not exactly correct as I do not have the publication in front of me, but I believe it went something like this:

Membership:

1990's - 2,000
2000 - 5,000
2005 - 50,000
2010 -just hit the 100,000 mark!!!

Again, these could be off in the earlier years as it is just from memory, but I am certain of the jump from 2005 to 2010 because it was so astronomical. That is not to say that all of the members were able to pass their exam and get certified, and of course many of them I'm sure are CPC-A's. However, we can all agree that the number of positions for coders and the jobs that are needing to be filled has not increased by 50,000 in the last five years. I found this figure very interesing.
 

eavilez

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No coding jobs for entry level!

I am also a new coder and have found it very difficult to get my foot in the door. All I read is experience only, usually they want more than 3 yrs of experience. It is very fustrating that they wont give us entry level a chance.
 

kevbshields

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Folks:

Networking is very important. It allows you to know someone who may help you land a job. However, tantamount to networking is the technical skill behind it. I once worked with a grade "A" networker. This person could market better than the drug companies. Catch was, he didn't have any substantial skill to act as his foundation. The perception may very well be that you have to "know someone" to get where you're going. In all but one (1) job I've had, I knew no one when I walked through the doors. It was technical skill and soft skills that helped me edge over the other candidates.

Please remember that your foundation begins at the bottom--not the second story. Spend time looking for jobs on the employment searches that are not necessarily coding or billing. There are multiple opportunities for experience that translate to coding out of the following HIM and revenue cycle jobs:

  • File Clerk*
    Release of Information*
    Data Entry*
    Chart Completion Analyst
    Customer Service
    Patient Registration
    Financial Analyst/Counselor
    Medical Administrative Asst*
    Claims Specialist
    Medical Receptionist
    Accounts Receivable
    Claims examiner
    Dental office assistant
    Medical Records Tech*
    Medical Collections Specialist
    Enrollment Specialist/Insurance Verification
    Patient Advocate
    Medical Customer Service Rep
    Insurance Reimbursement Specialist*
    Revenue Analyst/Tech
    Admissions Clerk

These are just to name a few that I encountered on job boards. Point being, your skills as a certified coder can be put to great use outside of production coding jobs. Although you may aim to be a production coder (or something else), consider any of these options to help you in attaining that goal.

As demonstration that we all start somewhere, the * above represent duties and/or positions that I held prior to becoming a coder.
 
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Kevin,
Just wanted to thank you for your comments. However, do I use CPC-FC to indicate I want to be a file clerk, or CPC-DE for data entry. I spent a year of my life getting a good education to become a coder. I lost a years salary, combined that was more than 45K. I have had the opportunity in the past to do customer service, data entry, file clerk, and other entry level jobs and none of them required a CPC.
I want to believe you meant well with your comments, but next time think about your words before you demean us. Your bio indicates you have 9 years experience. Is that all with the same company? Did you start in data entry or as a file clerk? Again, I hope you meant well, but I cannot afford to take a 20K annual pay cut to be a file clerk.
 

mmorningstarcpc

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Patti,

Kevin made a very valid point. I am sure he in no way meant to demean anyone. I have been in this field for almost 30 years. My first job out of college, with an AA degree, was a medical secretary, my second was a medical receptionist. I then worked as a medical records clerk in a prison. My point being, we all started somewhere. With each position you learn, the more you learn, the further you will go. Dream jobs are not handed to anyone but the very lucky few. We all had to "pay our dues" just like newer coders (or any profession) will have to do. Its not an easy world sometimes....

Good luck to you!!
 

Pam Brooks

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Kevin,
Just wanted to thank you for your comments. However, do I use CPC-FC to indicate I want to be a file clerk, or CPC-DE for data entry. I spent a year of my life getting a good education to become a coder. I lost a years salary, combined that was more than 45K. I have had the opportunity in the past to do customer service, data entry, file clerk, and other entry level jobs and none of them required a CPC.
I want to believe you meant well with your comments, but next time think about your words before you demean us. Your bio indicates you have 9 years experience. Is that all with the same company? Did you start in data entry or as a file clerk? Again, I hope you meant well, but I cannot afford to take a 20K annual pay cut to be a file clerk.
In defense of Kevin, I would like to point out that you chose to quit your job and take a pay cut to get your coding education, and if you expected to start out at 45K, you were sadly misinformed.

I am exhaused at the volume of new coders who have posted on this board, thinking that coding was going to be some kind of get-rich-quick scheme whereby they would train for eight weeks and make six figures....and now are ticked off because it didn't pan out. Skill number one for coders is to be able to do your research. Enough said.

Kevin made some very valid suggestions, and if you're truly dedicated to beginning a career in the coding field, you'd be wise to take his advice. Your high and mighty attitude about being just a file clerk is disappointing. We all started somewhere. I started by answering phones and posting payments for 7 bucks an hour, in case you're interested. I don't think Kevin's post was at all demeaning, but you've made it that way with your reluctance to start where everyone starts....at the bottom. It was an unfortunate comment, and remember, managers are reading this board. Good luck, and hopefully you'll be able to start at the top, as you planned.
 

gost

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I didn't see anything demeaning in Kevin's post. I have said before (maybe even in this thread, I'm not going back to check) that one of the problems is that instructors and schools who are offering coding classes are luring people in with unrealistic promises. New coders are entering the job market with high expectations and are disappointed when they are unrealized.

I started in the mailroom of a third party administrator and worked my way up to management. I chose to change careers and become a coder. I took a (very VERY large) pay cut. (No, I didn't have a spouse making up the difference. I had to change my lifestyle.) I had to start over in patient accounts, not coding. But because of my experience in the general field, I quickly got a coding position. Through hard work and perseverance, I am now one of those hiring managers Pam mentioned. (And as a manager, I can guarantee that at least some of us do look at these boards before calling an applicant for an interview.)

I truly wish the best for everyone. What everyone needs to realize is that you cannot start at the top. Once there was a shortage of coders and maybe there still is in some areas. In my experience, there is not much of a shortage any more. Managers are going to hire those with experience before they are going to hire those without. That is only logical and is the same in any industry.

My advice to everyone is to stop thinking it is beneath you to take a job you consider inferior to the one you want. View every opportunity as another step toward your goal. Take the experience you need wherever you can get it. Use these forums to network in a positive way. Posting that you know mare than experienced coders because you just graduated and we probably don't keep up with new codes is NOT the way to make good connections on a site filled with experienced coders.
 

ohn0disaster

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The first thing that comes to mind after reading both, Kevin and Patti's, posts is "wow". I find it extremely ironic that you could call Kevin's post demeaning, Patti. If anything, I feel that YOUR post is demeaning. It comes off as you looking down your nose at those that hold postions such as those that Kevin named. Those are the positions that MANY of the coders/billers/auditors that frequent this forum started out in. You cannot find a job as a coder, but you're too good for all those job examples given, which will help get you to the position you want to be in? Kevin was merely offering helpful opinions/ options for those of you having trouble "getting your foot in the door". It's true that soooo many people think that once they pass that CPC test, you get sent your new hire paperwork along with your score. Having a certification does not secure you a job. Seeming that you are just SO ABOVE taking jobs that are for the lowly peons, I doubt you'll have much luck finding your coveted position. I find it funny that you say that you cannot afford to take a pay cut as a means to an end, but you're okay with making NOTHING because you just so much better than a file clerk. How DARE Kevin suggest such a thing!?! I can't help but wonder if your holier than thou attitude has been a major hindrance in the search for a job that lives up to your standards. Good luck, seems like you'll need it.
 

anapravnik

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Kevin's post is excellent advice.

Pattis,
I don't think you are doing yourself any favors by getting hypersensitive when experienced coders are offering their input and providing suggestions. Kevin is certainly not demeaning you. His point is, we all had to start somewhere. I would be willing to say most members
DID start as a file clerk, receptionist, billing representative, etc. Why are these positions demeaning? They are vital to any healthcare organization and an excellent segue into coding. Many of us did make a career transition and accept a lower income for a year or two to begin getting experience and establishing ourselves in the field.

Anyone getting an education in coding and preparing for the CPC should pretty much expect that's going to be the case for them as well. If it isn't, and you're able to be hired as a CPC-A w/ little or no experience, that's great! But that is the exception, certainly not the rule.

It's not that we haven't been in your shoes, it's that we have and we know how you can be successful in the industry. I don't know if coding instructors are making unrealistic promises about what to expect once you have completed your program, or if it's a matter of selective hearing, but too many people on this thread feel entitled to a coding position right out of school. You are not entitled, you have to work very hard. This is true in any profession.

The best of luck to you in your endeavors. Please don't dismiss the input of some of the veteran coders on this board that make every effort to be a valuable resource and give good information.
 

medcoder9

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This is really disappointing. And I see a lot of threads with same topic. No job for inexperienced coders. It is true it really is not what you know but who you know. I know someone who was working as CNA, she has no formal education in coding at all nor certification, but since she has worked on that hospital a long time they hire her in coding position. Although she lost her job coz she was found to be letting someone punch her in eventhough she comes in late.


But I will not let these unfortunate truth hinder me to apply for coding jobs. Hopefully if I was given a chance for interview and they see my proficiency on practical lessons I learned in my coding certification PLUS me passing CPC certification, it is enough proof that I am ready for the job. All I need is to 'sell' myself, by showing my knowledge and abilities to the employers.
 
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btadlock1

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This is really disappointing. And I see a lot of threads with same topic. No job for inexperienced coders. It is true it really is not what you know but who you know. I know someone who was working as CNA, she has no formal education in coding at all nor certification, but since she has worked on that hospital a long time they hire her in coding position. Although she lost her job coz she was found to be letting someone punch her in eventhough she comes in late.


But I will not let these unfortunate truth hinder me to apply for coding jobs. Hopefully if I was given a chance for interview and they see my proficiency on practical lessons I learned in my coding certification PLUS me passing CPC certification, it is enough proof that I am ready for the job. All I need is to 'sell' myself, by showing my knowledge and abilities to the employers.
I disagree with your first thought...It's not who you know, it's how flexible you are willing to be. I work for a multi-specialty/multi-practice management company - we have over 150 providers and several clinics. I'm not a coder - I started out as a commercial insurance follow-up rep, and I've done it for 3 years. I get to do a lot of coding, and analyzing coding errors, but I've also become well versed in how insurance works, payer policies, and laws and regulations, which set me up for getting my auditing certification. Sure I don't code all day, every day, but I get to use my coding skills writing appeals, and in teaching others why claims processed the way that they did. I probably could have had a coder position a while back if I had wanted it (since I was able to prove myself in follow-up), but I like the problem-solving and getting to argue that came with my job. (There's nothing more awesome than having an insurance company change their claim policies because you proved them wrong) .

Anyways, I took the CPMA, and was immediately promoted to a new position when I passed, and I'd have never made it to this point if I had been picky about where I started out. I guess the point is, keep your mind open, or you might miss opportunities that you wouldn't have thought of on your own.

The CPC is preferred at my employer, but if you're taking an entry level position that doesn't necessarily require it, making a big deal out of it might sound like you're going to be too expensive, or at least dissatisfied with the going pay rate. Believe me, they will hire someone with no experience over a CPC in a heartbeat if they think the CPC will jump ship the second something better comes along. I've seen it happen dozens of times. They're trying to run a business, and the risk of losing someone to turnover will always seem worse than hiring someone who's not certified. If you quit, they have to start the whole process over again (advertising the opening, sorting through a pile of applications, wasted production time in interviewing, and then training the next person). It adds up.

Sell yourself as qualified, yet eager to learn more, and let your resume mention your credentials. Appearing overqualified will not help you in this field when you're just starting out.
 

sundance5656

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Finding entry level position

I too, am a newly certified coder (9/2009). I have been applying for multiple openings, all of which have the least experience requirements. I have also not limited myself to my region. I am applying all over the country, trying to increase my chances. Out of 30 some applications, i have received 3 replies, all negative. Most of the applications i get the reply that they have received my information, and nothing more. I am intent on continuing my search, since i took it upon myself to get my coding education. I only have one question for the employers out there. You want experienced people, but how do we get our experience, unless we can get a job??
 

ohn0disaster

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Too much internet, not enough pavement hitting

I think, also, that people are relying a bit too much on internet searching for jobs. In any given area, there are multiple doctors' offices and/or hospitals. You need to get out there and put in the foot work. Put in applications at these offices and ask to speak to an administrator. Be sure to explain that you are a certified coder BUT would be willing to take any position to get your foot in the door. Sometimes it takes some getting to know someone before trusting their ability to code. If you prove yourself to be competent in other areas of the medical field, you'll be more likely to be considered for your job of choice. I know for a fact that many times, resumes and applications that are put in online are either never looked at, or are quickly glanced at and put to the side. People like to put a face to the resume. An applicant can sound GREAT on paper and then when they walk in it's a completely different story. I know we're part of the Information Age and all, but some things just work better "old school".
 

DMRgn2010

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I think, also, that people are relying a bit too much on internet searching for jobs. In any given area, there are multiple doctors' offices and/or hospitals. You need to get out there and put in the foot work. Put in applications at these offices and ask to speak to an administrator. Be sure to explain that you are a certified coder BUT would be willing to take any position to get your foot in the door. Sometimes it takes some getting to know someone before trusting their ability to code. If you prove yourself to be competent in other areas of the medical field, you'll be more likely to be considered for your job of choice. I know for a fact that many times, resumes and applications that are put in online are either never looked at, or are quickly glanced at and put to the side. People like to put a face to the resume. An applicant can sound GREAT on paper and then when they walk in it's a completely different story. I know we're part of the Information Age and all, but some things just work better "old school".
I agree. I'm guilty of too much "internet" and email applications. I will do differently once I get my CPC exam and finish the seasonal job I have at Greenberg Smoked Turkeys (And preparing for my CPC exam on Dec. 11).
 

mmorningstarcpc

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I took everyones advice from this forum and called the local hospitals, doctors, and billing companies and did my research. Before you spend any more money on AAPC call your local billing offices and ask them if they will hire you without the "A". I did that and not one company was willing to hire me because I still didn't have 2 years CODING experinnce. I was told time and again, with the economy the way it is they can hire coders with 5-10 yrs exp for the same money they would pay me. My rebuttal to them was; but do they know the new codes, and updates that we were taught in the class and have kept up with after our schooling ended. Do they go to regular update seminars or do they just code what they know from the past and have their claims returned and dont know why. Some of the people were honest and admitted they didn't send their employees for continuing education refreshers. Others didn't answer, but you could see the wheels in their head start to spin with the thought that maybe they did have a complacency problem that might be costing them money.
I wanted to commment on this as far as stating current coders are not up on changes if they haven't attended a seminar in the past year. I won't say all, but almost all coders do continuing education yearly in some form or another. I had a previous employer who paid nothing toward my certification or CEUs, but we did get new books each year and I went thru them cover to cover looking for changes and updates, as well as read anything I could get my hands on. For you to feel you are better than seasoned coders, because you had "current schooling" over those who don't attend seminars is wrong. I certainly can't speak for everyone, but I believe part of being a coder is knowing you have to keep up with updates in some way, shape or form, and the coders I know, believe this and do this.

Respectfully,
 

EMCordone

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A little hope....

I started out in the medical industry as an admissions coordinator for a SNF. Soon after leaving, I found out I was pregnant with my little man. I decided to stay home for my pregnancy and son's first year. By the time he was out, I was going stir crazy and knew I needed to work as soon as that little bugger had his first birthday! But, I also knew that a year out of the work force (for whatever reason), would hinder my ability to find work. So, I enrolled in a local vocational school's billing and coding program. As soon as I graduated, I printed out about 200 resumes and cover letters and no joke, hit the pavement. Every morning, I hit the internet job sites and applied where applicable, then I would get on yellowpages.com and make a schedule and "route" of the places I would hand deliver my resume. I accepted my current job less than a month after graduation, even without true billing experience. The moral of my story? As cliche as it may be, "Hard work, dedication, and motivation TRULY pay off." Good luck!
 

DMRgn2010

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I wanted to commment on this as far as stating current coders are not up on changes if they haven't attended a seminar in the past year. I won't say all, but almost all coders do continuing education yearly in some form or another. I had a previous employer who paid nothing toward my certification or CEUs, but we did get new books each year and I went thru them cover to cover looking for changes and updates, as well as read anything I could get my hands on. For you to feel you are better than seasoned coders, because you had "current schooling" over those who don't attend seminars is wrong. I certainly can't speak for everyone, but I believe part of being a coder is knowing you have to keep up with updates in some way, shape or form, and the coders I know, believe this and do this.

Respectfully,
I started out in the medical industry as an admissions coordinator for a SNF. Soon after leaving, I found out I was pregnant with my little man. I decided to stay home for my pregnancy and son's first year. By the time he was out, I was going stir crazy and knew I needed to work as soon as that little bugger had his first birthday! But, I also knew that a year out of the work force (for whatever reason), would hinder my ability to find work. So, I enrolled in a local vocational school's billing and coding program. As soon as I graduated, I printed out about 200 resumes and cover letters and no joke, hit the pavement. Every morning, I hit the internet job sites and applied where applicable, then I would get on yellowpages.com and make a schedule and "route" of the places I would hand deliver my resume. I accepted my current job less than a month after graduation, even without true billing experience. The moral of my story? As cliche as it may be, "Hard work, dedication, and motivation TRULY pay off." Good luck!
I agree, mmorningstarcpc and EMCordone. I am not experienced. Not enough. Just taking coding courses does not substitute for true coding experience. Even though I had two coding courses and spent about 7 mos. of hands-on-coding training which was a requirement for my capstone course, is not the same as actually working for two years coding in real life. There is still so much I don't know.. I might have known more than I do now regarding my coding knowledge, but not enough to qualify me to start coding on my own. I have thought about working as a "volunteer" in a coding department, but volunteers do not have access to the computer systems as paid employees. Coders, in some offices, also enter their own coding information into the system after they complete their coding tasks as do patient account posting reps (I'm not sure if that's what they're called or not) and balance what they entered at the end of each batch (after lunch and before leaving for the day). I began getting used to coding and remembering several codes after seeing the same ones every day that I was in the office. I know I could do that again. But being certified will show the employer that I am capable of being trained to code, and keeping up with coding updates, rules, regulations, and the health care laws, etc. Just merely taking courses and having a certification in coding is not enough. Same for Drs and nurses, would you want to go to a dr or nurse that just graduated and been licensed without experience??? Not me. Same for coders. We still need years of thorough training to be accurate with coding, and knowing the laws, etc., to keep the physicians, etc., from getting in trouble (from possible fraud, etc.) for wrongful coding and reimbursements which could be denied because someone wasn't adequately trained and qualified as a coder.

Also, it is true, about looking for jobs. You have to get out every day (which I plan on after the end of this holiday season - when I'm done working as a seasonal office assistant for Greenberg Smoked Turkeys which is my "survival" job) and after I have passed my exam.. which I hope I do this time.
 

btadlock1

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Maybe that's not something that's being made clear - this is a field where your hard work and dedication actually make a significant difference in your achievements - all you have to do is get your foot in the door, and you'll quickly be where you want to be if you really show that you're a worthy employee, in general. Employers need to trust you as a person as much as they trust your skills. They require years of experience because recruiting coders and assimilating them is a time-consuming, expensive process - the expertise is important, but in this economy, 2 years experience = "I know what I'm in for, and I've worked hard and kept my skills current, for an amount of time that requires serious commitment and strong work ethic. I'm not going to be overwhelmed, and I'm not going to quit within a short amount of time."

It's really not fair, since there are a lot of people in positions that you've all worked hard to aspire to, who don't have nearly the knowledge or skills that you do, or because you've never gotten to really sharpen your skills after the exam was over; it's the same problem thousands of college grads are dealng with in other fields: you can't prove your dedication without some kind of track record within the field (unless you're one hell of a salesman). Without being able to prove your dedication, you'll never get to make a track record. It's an awful catch-22, but there is a way out.

Temp agencies that can get you a permanent gig answering phones in a clinic are a great resource. It may take a couple of months, but eventually your employer is going to tap into your real market value, if they have any business sense. If they need another coder, what will they do? Search for an outside stranger to code, or promote the receptionist with a CPC, and hire a new receptionist? You can speed up the process, even without a temp job, if you can manage it, by searching for unpaid internships. Mention it at every job interview that's not for an actual coding job, but is somewhere that you could intern as a coder on the side. Talk about it on your resume. If you're already in the right environment, and things aren't happening for you like you'd hoped, ask around until you find someone who would let you tag along and learn from them (or maybe teach them), in your spare time.

If you're stuck in neutral, sometimes begging for internships (even unpaid ones), is they only way to get your name out there, and prove your dedication without years of on the job history to provide. Unlike your collegiate counterparts who can't find jobs with Master's degrees, your required time on the bottom is very much in your hands. I hope success finds you all, soon!
 

kladdicott

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Great to know that those of us "newbies" who put everything we had into learning a trade, which we believed would lead to a career in our future are sadly misguided. If you want a job in this field it looks as though you may need to move to India!!
 

medcoder9

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I am actually not opposed to moving to India or any country, preferably, England that will hire me. Please if anyone knows how to apply for coding jobs in other country...? let me know.
 

babyred72

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ttsaunders1, have you tried looking for something in insurance verifications or authorizations? That's how I got started right out of school. I was actually hired by the company I did my externship with. You can at least get your foot in the door somewhere.
 

shoegirl06

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Hello, this is the first time I've posted, but I really wanted to chime in here. I wish this thread was more positive. I've read through alot of it, and agree with those that say you have to start at the bottom and work your way up. I'm in school now for HIM and Coding and although it took me a long time, I kept sending my resume out everywhere, and I finally got my foot in the door in a medical billing office doing administrative work part-time. Persistence is really the key...you can't give up hope. Everyone has to start somewhere. This is a career change for me, as I used to be a paralegal. I knew I would have to start in an entry level position, and learn the ropes of working in a medical office. I know if I stay positive, am there every day, do a good job, and take on as much new responsibility possible, eventually something will open up and I will offered a promotion. I know this won't happen overnight, and if for some reason I can't move forward at this company, at least I will be getting experience here and use it elsewhere. Anyhow, I hope we can try to turn this thread around and get rid of the negativity and replace it with tips and advice to get new people motivated and working. :)
 

btadlock1

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Hello, this is the first time I've posted, but I really wanted to chime in here. I wish this thread was more positive. I've read through alot of it, and agree with those that say you have to start at the bottom and work your way up. I'm in school now for HIM and Coding and although it took me a long time, I kept sending my resume out everywhere, and I finally got my foot in the door in a medical billing office doing administrative work part-time. Persistence is really the key...you can't give up hope. Everyone has to start somewhere. This is a career change for me, as I used to be a paralegal. I knew I would have to start in an entry level position, and learn the ropes of working in a medical office. I know if I stay positive, am there every day, do a good job, and take on as much new responsibility possible, eventually something will open up and I will offered a promotion. I know this won't happen overnight, and if for some reason I can't move forward at this company, at least I will be getting experience here and use it elsewhere. Anyhow, I hope we can try to turn this thread around and get rid of the negativity and replace it with tips and advice to get new people motivated and working. :)
Exactly! I was cleaning houses 3 years ago, and now I'm in charge of ICD-10 implementation for our entre company - we manage over 100 providers...you've just got to put the effort in and take every opportunity you get! If I can do it, anybody can!
 

jaclea

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I share the frustration

I am having the same difficulty as all of you. I have an IT background prior to my billing/coding education. I am CPC-A certified. My local chapter tells me to try and get a clerical position so I can get my foot in the door and that's what I am currently searching for. Even those positions require prior experience. I wish the schools would change their advertisements about help with job placements after completion of the programs. I have friends with the same difficulty we face. One of them is working a security job to have an income. I wish I knew how we could change this situation to persuade employers to give us 'new' coders the experience we deserve.
 

DMRgn2010

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Volunteering, only option for experience.. for me

I have been volunteering at Trinity Mother Frances Hosp and Business Services. I want to show them that I have the ability, ethics, skills in hopes of getting my foot in the door. For me, I feel that is the only option for me at this time. But at the same time, it has been very rewarding to help out in any way I can. I have also attempting to seek out volunteering opportunities in the coding/billing departments there at the hospital. I hope my hard work while volunteering (yes, I am a hard-worker, I can't help it, it's second nature to me) will not be in vain.

What do you all think?
 

btadlock1

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Although I really hope none of you are still facing this problem for another whole month, I wanted to mention this (mostly because I'm excited about it!:p):

I wrote an article for Coding Edge discussing this topic...it'll be in April's edition! :D

In the mean time, there are a lot of threads that have hashed and re-hashed this, so look through them...you may find what you need. Good luck to everyone!
 

dfortner

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I understand, as well.

Trying to find a job without required experience is frustrating at best. I know. I am a CPC-A, hold a Bachelor of Science in Management and Masters in Human Resource Management and still can't find employment opportunities. Where I live, the health care professionals do not deem credentials or education, other than their own, as value-added assets to their practice. The hospitals in my area are the only ones who REQUIRE CPC designations. Nonetheless, I continue to apply and keep a positive attitude. Some avenues I have explored - law offices employ coders to review medical records; entry level positions such as medical records, patient registration, collections all give you a foot-in-the door; volunteering at local hospitals; cold submissions from local Yellow Pages; networking at local chapter meetings, as well as, e-mailing or visiting other local chapters and putting your face and name out. I wish the best for you and know, with persistence, something will fall in your lap.
 

CCrooms

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Will it ever change for entry Level Medical Billers/Coders?

I have been chasing the proverbial job of anything entry level. I live in the state of Michigan. It is more than difficult to land an entry level position here. As many others have stated it really is difficult and frustrating to want to help and know that you have the skills, desire, and wherewithal to be an asset to anyone that will hire you. But because we do not have a certification, or minimum work experience we are not interviewed, called, or allowed to "show what we got".

What I really get mad about is, I co submit a resume and cover letter and tailor it to the specific job, and will get an interview. Will receive accolades, praise throughout the entire interview, and still will not be chosen. A week or two later I receive that generic letter, or email. ..."Although your skills and credentials are impressive, we decided to go with another 'more qualified candidate'. Then to my horror, either a week or more later - I look out on the web, and the identical exact position has been listed again.

At this point I am thinking, "see if you would have hired me, you would not be spending more money, and time looking for someone else."

Just wanted to vent.

I due have 30 + years of customer service, and I can learn any software program that is out there. Haven't tackled one I have not mastered. But how do you transfer that to an employer. My perspective: No matter where you work, the principles are the same. As long as we know the methodologies everything else can be learned. What happened to each one teach one. Hospitals, Physician Offices, Long Term Care facilities, and Insurance Companies are looking for billers and coders. Why can't someone take those of us that are will to start at the bottom, and work hard to learn because we have a deep desire to learn, we have a dynamic work ethic. Why can't we find entry-level paying positions to help with all of the follow-up that all companies need help with before that statue of limitations runs out on submission of stale dated claims?

Myself, I LOVE doing claims-follow-up. Research, research, research, is my middle name.

If anyone knows of someone that needs this kind of dedication and ability; contact me at: croomsc2008@yahoo.com. In Michigan, or remote.

Thanks for this forum.
 

DMRgn2010

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I have been chasing the proverbial job of anything entry level. I live in the state of Michigan. It is more than difficult to land an entry level position here. As many others have stated it really is difficult and frustrating to want to help and know that you have the skills, desire, and wherewithal to be an asset to anyone that will hire you. But because we do not have a certification, or minimum work experience we are not interviewed, called, or allowed to "show what we got".

What I really get mad about is, I co submit a resume and cover letter and tailor it to the specific job, and will get an interview. Will receive accolades, praise throughout the entire interview, and still will not be chosen. A week or two later I receive that generic letter, or email. ..."Although your skills and credentials are impressive, we decided to go with another 'more qualified candidate'. Then to my horror, either a week or more later - I look out on the web, and the identical exact position has been listed again.

At this point I am thinking, "see if you would have hired me, you would not be spending more money, and time looking for someone else."

Just wanted to vent.

I due have 30 + years of customer service, and I can learn any software program that is out there. Haven't tackled one I have not mastered. But how do you transfer that to an employer. My perspective: No matter where you work, the principles are the same. As long as we know the methodologies everything else can be learned. What happened to each one teach one. Hospitals, Physician Offices, Long Term Care facilities, and Insurance Companies are looking for billers and coders. Why can't someone take those of us that are will to start at the bottom, and work hard to learn because we have a deep desire to learn, we have a dynamic work ethic. Why can't we find entry-level paying positions to help with all of the follow-up that all companies need help with before that statue of limitations runs out on submission of stale dated claims?

Myself, I LOVE doing claims-follow-up. Research, research, research, is my middle name.

If anyone knows of someone that needs this kind of dedication and ability; contact me at: croomsc2008@yahoo.com. In Michigan, or remote.

Thanks for this forum.

I, too, have had the same experience. I will not be chosen because someone else has been hired who is more qualified than I am. I'm sorry it's happening to you and a lot of others as well.

I thought volunteering in a similar department of a job I wanted: coding, of course. But now I realized that (when and if a job opens up) I will need to look at other types of medical office jobs where I am confident that I am qualified, although I might be considered "overqualified". I need help in this too.

While working at a "survivor-paid" job even though it is not related to medical office, I am still looking for work. But I feel that because it's December, there's not many jobs in my field.
 
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Experience is the "key word"

I agree 100% that more should be done to help those who are searching for "experience", to obtain employment in a field they so desire, and have worked very hard to achieve, and wether or not they are fully certified. I too, am a CPC-A. I was on these forums a while back voicing my concern about this issue, and I still feel that something has to be done to provide the experience needed. Don't get me wrong, I totally beleive in working very hard to get what you want in life, and I don't expect it to be handed to me otherwise. I just think that there are many schools/organiztions that offer the Coding Certification, and even though they do offer great courses, they do not offer a way to gain the experience that is needed in "real life". I also understand that there are not as many jobs available, as there are many people looking for them. But I think that is the problem, there needs to be some other level of training available to obtain the total "experience" needed. Like an internship/externship, or some type of apprentice level training. As of now, I do not know of any such programs being offered. There was an opportunity recently, with The Online Apprentice Removal Program offered through AAPC. I myself, actually purchased the program when it first came out, almost 2 years ago. Unfortunately, after some discussion at the AAPC, it was decided that the program was not able to meet the needs of it's members, and it now has been discontinued. I was also a beta tester in hopes of trying to aid in helping the AAPC make this program a go, but it did not happen. I am not entirely sure what the issues were, but needless to to say, I don't understand why there can't be some way of offering a program that further helps gain the kind of experience that is acceptable, and obviously needed.

This being said, I have been fortunate to find a job in a medical office where the administrator has been gracious enough to help me with my "apprentice" status, by giving me the doc's op notes to code for practice. I am very gratefull for this experience, and I hope at some point I will find that coding job I am working so hard to obtain. So in the mean time, that is what I will do. But I am really hoping that the AAPC will reconsider the options that are ,and are not, availible to it's members in reguard to this issue. Good luck to all of you, and you absolutely have my support.
 

mvmoore

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While I admire the positive attitude of your answer and agree with you in theory, the fact is if you have no experience, you almost never get to speak to anyone about your potentials, work ethic or academic achievements. Applications are almost always required to be submitted electronically and in fact I have been asked to NOT send resumes through the mail or "pop in to meet with the HR people". Inexperienced, yet certified coders send applications and resumes into the electronic void without ever knowing if they are read or filtered out by software programmed to weed out applicants without three to five years experience in the field.
 

Pam Brooks

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I have been chasing the proverbial job of anything entry level. I live in the state of Michigan. It is more than difficult to land an entry level position here. As many others have stated it really is difficult and frustrating to want to help and know that you have the skills, desire, and wherewithal to be an asset to anyone that will hire you. But because we do not have a certification, or minimum work experience we are not interviewed, called, or allowed to "show what we got".

What I really get mad about is, I co submit a resume and cover letter and tailor it to the specific job, and will get an interview. Will receive accolades, praise throughout the entire interview, and still will not be chosen. A week or two later I receive that generic letter, or email. ..."Although your skills and credentials are impressive, we decided to go with another 'more qualified candidate'. Then to my horror, either a week or more later - I look out on the web, and the identical exact position has been listed again.

At this point I am thinking, "see if you would have hired me, you would not be spending more money, and time looking for someone else."

Just wanted to vent.

I due have 30 + years of customer service, and I can learn any software program that is out there. Haven't tackled one I have not mastered. But how do you transfer that to an employer. My perspective: No matter where you work, the principles are the same. As long as we know the methodologies everything else can be learned. What happened to each one teach one. Hospitals, Physician Offices, Long Term Care facilities, and Insurance Companies are looking for billers and coders. Why can't someone take those of us that are will to start at the bottom, and work hard to learn because we have a deep desire to learn, we have a dynamic work ethic. Why can't we find entry-level paying positions to help with all of the follow-up that all companies need help with before that statue of limitations runs out on submission of stale dated claims?

Myself, I LOVE doing claims-follow-up. Research, research, research, is my middle name.

If anyone knows of someone that needs this kind of dedication and ability; contact me at: croomsc2008@yahoo.com. In Michigan, or remote.

Thanks for this forum.
Have you ever contacted the employer and asked why? If they gush all over you at the interview, and then choose someone else, it might be helpful to know what it was about your interview, (or you, for that matter) that they didn't feel measured up to the person that they did choose. You can certainly ask..."I felt my interview went extremely well, and I left feeling positive about this position. I'm wondering if you can give me some feed back as to why I wasn't selected"

As a hiring manager, I typically have a 'top three' that make it to the final interview, and frankly, those interviews are usually fantastic. What it boils down to at the very end is will they fit? What stinks about that from a job candidate perspective, is that it's personal. I've had several great candidates that had wonderful qualifications, but the job involved meeting with providers, and these candidates showed up for their interviews like they just finished up working in the basement. Another candidate was just too "perky"....my staff would have killed her (after they killed me). One candidate was way too anxious....I was afraid she'd be too intimidated by the providers. So it's not always about a great resume. Sometimes it's about whether or not your personality/appearance/demeanor/ fits our environment.
 

DMRgn2010

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I agree 100% that more should be done to help those who are searching for "experience", to obtain employment in a field they so desire, and have worked very hard to achieve, and wether or not they are fully certified. I too, am a CPC-A. I was on these forums a while back voicing my concern about this issue, and I still feel that something has to be done to provide the experience needed. Don't get me wrong, I totally beleive in working very hard to get what you want in life, and I don't expect it to be handed to me otherwise. I just think that there are many schools/organiztions that offer the Coding Certification, and even though they do offer great courses, they do not offer a way to gain the experience that is needed in "real life". I also understand that there are not as many jobs available, as there are many people looking for them. But I think that is the problem, there needs to be some other level of training available to obtain the total "experience" needed. Like an internship/externship, or some type of apprentice level training. As of now, I do not know of any such programs being offered. There was an opportunity recently, with The Online Apprentice Removal Program offered through AAPC. I myself, actually purchased the program when it first came out, almost 2 years ago. Unfortunately, after some discussion at the AAPC, it was decided that the program was not able to meet the needs of it's members, and it now has been discontinued. I was also a beta tester in hopes of trying to aid in helping the AAPC make this program a go, but it did not happen. I am not entirely sure what the issues were, but needless to to say, I don't understand why there can't be some way of offering a program that further helps gain the kind of experience that is acceptable, and obviously needed.

This being said, I have been fortunate to find a job in a medical office where the administrator has been gracious enough to help me with my "apprentice" status, by giving me the doc's op notes to code for practice. I am very gratefull for this experience, and I hope at some point I will find that coding job I am working so hard to obtain. So in the mean time, that is what I will do. But I am really hoping that the AAPC will reconsider the options that are ,and are not, availible to it's members in reguard to this issue. Good luck to all of you, and you absolutely have my support.
While I admire the positive attitude of your answer and agree with you in theory, the fact is if you have no experience, you almost never get to speak to anyone about your potentials, work ethic or academic achievements. Applications are almost always required to be submitted electronically and in fact I have been asked to NOT send resumes through the mail or "pop in to meet with the HR people". Inexperienced, yet certified coders send applications and resumes into the electronic void without ever knowing if they are read or filtered out by software programmed to weed out applicants without three to five years experience in the field.
Thank you two for replying. It is hard to have to only send resumes electronically. I have been doing that (sending resumes electronically). I think that if the administrators of HR see an application/resume they like, they will want to schedule an interview (usually a 'screening' interview then a regular interview). The HR and the department-related interviewers who will be interviewing, will then want to meet you. Most HR employees don't have time to meet every interested candidate in person especially if they have very little office space or time to do this. But the waiting sure is hard.
 
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