question for coders who are currently working from home...

veggiecow

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Let me begin by saying that I do NOT want to turn this question into a thread on "who do you work for" or "how do I get a job from home"!!! Pleeease. I do not mean to be ugly, but I want to have my question answered as opposed to being inundated with such requests. Thank you.

For those coders who currently work from home:
I have worked from home for many years doing HCC risk adjustment coding and have 7 years of coding experience. Whenever someone asks what I do or find out that I work from home they ask me to help get them a job doing the same thing. Now, in order to "paint a picture" of what I am talking about, let me explain that these individuals are not, nor have they ever been, in the medical field. Most are housewives of my husband's friends. Some are even my husband's friends themselves who have outside jobs (brick layers, carpenters) and are in need of part-time work during the winter months.
I have tried explaining that I don't have a "data entry" job. Rather, this is a job that requires several years of experience, certification, etc. But apparently I am not explaining it clearly. If I show them my certification I get responses like "Oh, I can fake that" or "I can create one of those on the computer". If I tell them they need 5 years of experience I get "Oh, I can create a resume that reflects such and put you down as a reference to 'verify' it". If I try to explain the complexity of medical coding I get "Oh, I can come to your house for a week or so and have you help me until I get the hang of it".
I am just at my wits end. I am getting calls almost every day by these people. I'm sorry if my post seems negative, but I am so frustrated with these phone calls and requests. Some even come over and ask me at least once a week. I also, (oh gosh this sounds so terrible) but I also don't particularly appreciate the trivialization of what I do by likening it to "data entry".
So, my question (finally, lol)...is have you ever experienced this? How do you handle it? Or do you have any advice on what I should say? :confused: Thanks in advance.
 

skanderson

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Coding from home

Only a reputable organization would hire a coder to work from home. My experience indicates that a prospective employer thoroughly investigates our credentials through the AAPC and former employers.

And I would never let someone use my name on a reference unless the person was truly worthy of my recomendation.

Those of us who have worked hard, have the experience, and have reached the point where we can use our skills to work from home need to be proud. Wish these people good luck...they'll never make it.
 

eadun2000

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Lol.. been there and done that! I have been working at home for eight years now. I always tell people that first, they have to go to school. After that, they have to get certified. After certification, they have to find a job in the field and gain AT LEAST five years multi specialty experience and then, if they are outstanding in their field, they MIGHT have a chance of getting a position to work from home. Most give up on it after hearing you actually have to go to school and actually have to have years of experience.
 

okiesawyers

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Oh yes, been there done that. When I read your post, it was almost like reading a story of my life! I was not hounded quite as much though. I have had 2 co-workers that expressed interest in me teaching their wives to code (like it would take a week or 2). I have also had friends of my husband that wanted me to teach a family member to code, or get them a job where I work. I would explain over and over the requirements, which always fell on deaf ears. I finally ended up printing off a job posting with all the requirements and told them to read it (which detailed certification required, 5 + years experience required with references, etc) and told them to go ahead and apply if they felt like it... if they didn't believe me. Didn't have any problems after that. Very frustrating I know.
 

srich64

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I too have worked from home since 2007 - doing HCC risk assessments for various companies - and (no I am not going to be slammed by requests for who I have worked for)---thanks. I also have an extensive prior background in various "real" offices.
Anyway, yes I have encountered people who want to know what I do, and how I get to work from home. With the implication that it is easy! I explain that it takes many, many years to get to that point; you have to be certified; companies will send you tests to see if you are qualified; you need college level coursework and at least 3 years experience in a real office environment. I also go on to explain that you have to be VERY skilled at time management and have to be flexible with your employers requirements if you happen to be in a different time zone, etc. You also have to have enough experience to be able to code by yourself. There are no co-workers to bouce ideas off, etc. You are also expected to keep up with production demands and oftentimes have to work weekends and at night. After I have gone into all that - I am usually left alone. I did show one persistent person a coding test a potential employer sent me. Her eyes glazed over and she never asked me again.
Most times when I am asked what I do for a living, I tell people "remote Medical Record auditing". The word auditing seems to be the key word - I haven't been asked for a long time to help anyone learn how to code!
 

srich64

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How to explain what a remote coder does.....

I too have worked from home since 2007 - doing HCC risk assessments for various companies - and (no I am not going to be slammed by requests for who I have worked for)---thanks. I also have an extensive prior background in various "real" offices.
Anyway, yes I have encountered people who want to know what I do, and how I get to work from home. With the implication that it is easy! I explain that it takes many, many years to get to that point; you have to be certified; companies will send you tests to see if you are qualified; you need college level coursework and at least 3 years experience in a real office environment. I also go on to explain that you have to be VERY skilled at time management and have to be flexible with your employers requirements if you happen to be in a different time zone, etc. You also have to have enough experience to be able to code by yourself. There are no co-workers to bouce ideas off, etc. You are also expected to keep up with production demands and oftentimes have to work weekends and at night. After I have gone into all that - I am usually left alone. I did show one persistent person a coding test a potential employer sent me. Her eyes glazed over and she never asked me again.
Most times when I am asked what I do for a living, I tell people "remote Medical Record auditing". The word auditing seems to be the key word - I haven't been asked for a long time to help anyone learn how to code!
 

kevbshields

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I haven't faced this problem as deeply as you express. Of course, I haven't worked at home since 2007, so that may help a bit.

However, I did have one acquaitence, who thought this was no big deal . . . that the book just "told" you everything you needed to know. With that being the case, and to really sort of show him how complicated coding is, I handed him an ICD-9 manual and some "sample" questions from a certification prep book and said, "go to town." Somewhere around 3 minutes later he gave up, handed me back the book and I never heard another word.

One thing you might consider is when they ask if you can teach folks or want to continue to bug you, give them an "assessment test". Chances are it doesn't even have to be valid, just hand it to them, tell them to complete it and you'll consider mentoring if they score high enough. Now, they aren't going to have the manuals, much less understand most of what's on the test, so the likelihood is low that someone will meet a reasonable expectation. And, when they ask to borrow your books, tell them you have none to loan. Wish them well and then point them toward a coding education source and you've really done your duty. Those who are truly interested know what routes to take and those who just think it's no big deal can find themselves corrected. I'd make a bet you won't get many of those "tests" back. To keep you from having to score them, hand ones out that you already have answers for . . . like a pre-employment test you've taken or something along those lines.

I must admit that nothing quite upsets me as much as peopling treating what I do as if it were answering the phone or something altogether unskilled. I have this friend with whom I've gone to a few social outings. When people ask what I do and I tell them, he "corrects" me and says something like, "he's just a medical coder." It's demeaning (in my opinion) and it's hard for me not to take offense. Oddly, it's always the people who don't do this stuff that think it's easy . . .

Good luck to you all!
 

Katzson

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OMW!! Ditto to EVERYTHING you all have said :) The company that I work for is wonderful! I work part of the time from a hospital office setting & part of the time from home. I would work full time from home if I could. I have fellow co-workers (not coders) that have made the comment "must be nice to work from home" or "I wish I worked from home, then I could go to the gym & go tanning" Really? LOL Can you all see me laying in a tanning bed with my laptop! LOL I think ppl believe that if you work from home that you are not really "working" however, it takes a very focused, skilled & job devoted person to be able to do it. Now I'm going to print off everyones response & pass it out to everone who has ever ask me how to get a job working from home.

Give them this website

Thank for the thread
 
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You are being too nice

I hope I don't sound mean to you, veggiecow, but I think the reason you are being constantly bothered is that you are being too nice in your response.

Just say 'no.' You can be pleasant and professional about it. For example ...
"I don't have the time to take away from my job to help train you, but Google "medical coding courses" and you'll find a lot of information. Most people go to school for a couple of years to learn this. A one-week intense coding course costs around $2500. Good luck."

Then end the conversation, or change the subject.

F Tessa Bartels, CPC, CEMC
 

tnypow

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LOL...I get this too and I've just graduated!! Since I'm 55yrs old, folks think this must be "easy" since I'm doing it...once I show them my practice HANDWRITTEN doctor notes and ask them to find the medical reason(s) for the visit, they shut up.
 
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Explain Medical Coding

After receiving overwhelming requests for information about what I do and how I acheived an at home coding job I decided to create a website with all of the information I was constantly repeating to others. That way when I was asked about it I could just give them my web address. I'd be happy to have you take a look. If you think it would help you feel free to pass the address on to others...http://www.medicalbillingandmedicalcoding.com/
 

NLS1983

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Don't take is so seriously

No offense, but it sounds like you need to lighten up and just refer them to take a course in coding. Coding isn't the hardest job in the world, but yes you do need experience. You are making it out like no one can learn this and that you are way smarter than them. Just tell them "It's not as simple as you think: you should take a course" and be done with it.
 
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Working from home

I agree, I have been working form home since 2007 and have received soooo many questions.

Unfortunately the field seems triviaalized because of all the media that tells people "anyone" can do it.

Idecided to create a website for all of the asiring medical coders out there explaining what coding is, the credentials, education required, etc.

Here's a link http://www.medicalbillingandmedicalcoding.com/ please feel free to share it with all of the curious people in your lives
 

kevbshields

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While I realize that what we do doesn't require the same level of expertise as someone graduating medical school, if many of these academic coding programs really showed students what to expect, that might prevent people from making a professional and personal mistake. We (as a profession) are adapting to be "assessed" on everything. It makes sense that we might as well expose those students to assessments early on--for example, taking one before they begin classes. This way, they are far more comfortable with the concept of being tested and it may point people toward another direction if this is really something they are not interested in doing.

This thread has shown that people who are initially interested sometimes back out when they fully understand what is required of them. Most HIM, Coding and Cancer Registry programs do not have students submit to any form of assessment to gain entry into the program. There might be academic standards, like GPA, but that is really it. We might be better served to have some additional elements of selection criteria to prevent our industry from being oversaturated and also helping people find out if this is or is not the job for each of them.
 

YPUllom

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I have had this too. I give them the name of the school I attended and a "rough quote" of what that will cost them. Then I tell them about the "big test" you have to take to get certified and what that will cost them. I am always "encouraging" in the manner in which I relay this information. I don't try to make it sound like I don't think they could or would do what it takes. So far I know of one person who followed through and signed up for classes (although she chose a real classroom setting & I went the online route) I assume she finished it but I don't know for sure since she was the wife of my ex-husband's best friend & I haven't seen her since he & I split.
 

eadun2000

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No offense, but it sounds like you need to lighten up and just refer them to take a course in coding. Coding isn't the hardest job in the world, but yes you do need experience. You are making it out like no one can learn this and that you are way smarter than them. Just tell them "It's not as simple as you think: you should take a course" and be done with it.
"No offense" but until you have walked in the shoes of experienced coders, you really do not know if it is hard or not. You assume that because you have taken the practice curriculum, that you know where we stand with this. Nobody on here said that no one can learn this and that we are "smarter" than them. We are trying to be realistic and polite. IMO when (or if) you have worked in this field 5-7 years and are blessed to be able to work from home, then you can actually comment about this... until then please keep your comments to yourself as you have no clue where anybody was coming from. Just sayin.
 

YPUllom

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worse than this...

You know what I get that is worse than this...
The people who act like my job is not important because I work from home.
Everyone seems to think that because I am home I have time to chat on the phone or do this or that favor for them. I also get "since you're on the computer anyway, would you look up this for me? or "post this on eBay for me?'
I don't mind doing things for friends or family but I wish they would remember that I am working and would ask me when might be a good time for me, instead of just expecting me to do things at the drop of a hat.
Yes I do set my own schedule and if something comes up I can just log out and come back later but then I am stuck working while the rest of my family is enjoying the evening or I am up very late at night or over the weekend trying to get caught up.
I generally don't answer the phone anymore unless the caller ID shows it is the kid's school or the company I work for and I also will not answer the door either but it irks me because I being called rude over this.
 

ahaden

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Boy. so there are many of you out there who have experienced the same thing. I get it from family members who think it is no big deal. I tell them about all the time I spent working to get here and how my hours are more then if I was to work in a office. I even have a niece who will not talk to me any more since I told her it was difficult and you needed the education and daycare if you have children at home! People just do not understand how important and difficult our jobs are. I just change the subject. or say hard to get a remote job good luck!
 
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