Woodland Hills (Los Angeles), California
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What is the average amount of time used to code each scenario?

I don't have any experience, and I'm studying for the certification exam and practicing the extreme coding scenarios in The Extra Step coding manual. These scenarios are so advanced, that they are literally wearing me out! :eek: I thought the ones we had in school were overwhelming, but these are infinite! :confused:

Plus it's taking me longer to figure out! :eek: When I check my answers, I find out that there are more codes involved than what we learned in school. I think to myself: “Is this the way it is in an outpatient setting? No wonder there is a demand for coders.” It makes someone like me feel intimidated to pursue coding, but I don't have any other choice, so I'm going to stick with it, regardless. Has anyone else felt this way?
Take a deep breath ...

You feel overwhelmed, and that's natural. You are new to coding; you are practicing from complicated scenarios; you are worried about being perfect; you are worried about whether you'll pass the CPC exam.

Take a deep breath. Repeat after me ... the answers are on the test.
Yes, that's right. The answers are on the test. The CPC exam does not require that you code the entire scenario from scratch. Rather, you are given a scenario and you are asked a question and given 4 possible choices for the correct answer. So half the work is done for you. The correct answer is always one of the four choices! (Note: each choice may contain multiple codes.)

As for when you get into the real world... No one will expect you to be able to perfectly code complex scenarios from day one. No one will expect you to code 500 visits or 200 procedures per day. You'll start slow and build up speed and accuracy with experience.

As for production goals - much depends on the specialty you are in. There is a big difference between coding family practice office visits vs heart surgery. Don't worry about that today.

The fact that you are so concerned bodes well for your future success. You are obviously detail oriented, meticulous and dedicated.

I'd wish you good luck, but you don't need it ... you'll do fine.

F Tessa Bartels, CPC, CPC-E/M


The way you responded to my thread was as if you knew or met me personally. You must have been in my shoes at one time or at the beginning of your career. It seems that way. When I start a new project, I really have that hard drive (ambition) to succeed. That’s just the way I am. It’s a tough, competitive world out there, and “only the strong will survive,” so I make sure I’m well prepared because I can’t depend on anyone to take care of me. That’s why I strive to do my best in the workplace. For years, I’ve worked in different industries such as banking, real estate and an oil company.

Medical coding is a new arena for me. It’s like learning a new set of rules. Even though some specialties are complicated, I enjoy the challenge of learning new things which I know will be continuous. That’s fine, and that’s what I’m looking for. In fact, I plan on taking an in patient coding class a few years from now.

Thanks for the encouragement.