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A Career Change

  1. #11
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    Medical Coding Books
    Quote Originally Posted by Anna Weaver View Post
    Sorry to hear you are having such a hard time. I can tell you from experience that it can be overwhelming at times, but it can be done. I changed careers when I was close to 50. I had worked in the laboratory for over 18 years and was very comfortable there. I was the "go to" person if there was a question on a procedure, computer issues etc. I was in charge of the office and had several employees under me that I was responsible for training etc. Then, I started getting into the coding. I took a couple classes, then I took the course (with no intention of changing jobs), then I decided I wanted to do this full time. I completed my schooling and started applying for jobs. I KNOW I got very lucky in that where I work now was okay with hiring an uncertified person. I did get my certification within months of hiring (I was scheduled for the test). I didn't know anyone who was certified outside of my fellow employees (not CPC but AHIMA), we only had 2 in my class taking advanced coding. When I hired, there wasn't a lot of recognition yet for coders and it wasn't that very long ago. They were just starting to hire certified. Then I worked as a facility coder doing outpatient procedures, labs and such. The procedures they started me with were ASC procedures which are generally (not always) not as technically advanced as a lot of the inpatient procedures. It gets easier after awhile to dissect the reports and I can tell you that everyone messes up sometimes. We are human, therefore we make human mistakes. The problem is not really making the mistakes, but knowing that they need to be corrected.
    You will make a great coder, I can tell because you are already asking questions. LOL. Asking questions will get you answers and that will make you a better coder in the long run. If you check out the forum, you will find we don't know everything either. We all (even those who have been here for awhile) are learning every day. That's the life of a coder in the real world, learning to ask questions and research for answers. You have to want to learn and be willing to make the changes necessary. We are not sedentary in our learning capacities.
    Yes, we do have people standing over our shoulders, but everyone does. The OIG, CMS, just to name 2 (not even going with the insurance companies), and there are several out there, that are always watching and waiting. Most everyplace you work will require you to be productive, and they will have their own standards they want you to go by. Unfortunately, I think some of them set those standards by what an experienced coder can do instead of what a normal or novice coder can do.
    Anyway, by saying all this, I just want to encourage you to continue to follow whatever path you feel is appropriate for you, it will make you a better employee if you are where you want to be, not where you feel someone else wants you to be.
    Best of luck!
    Anna
    Back in the mid 80s, I first heard about coding through a nursing friend. She decided that she no longer wanted to be a nurse, so she took four medical insurance billing courses at a community college for a total of four months (not through the extension program). She worked as a temporary employee and was hired by a group of doctors in Los Angeles.

    It sounded interesting to me, but I was working overtime consistently for seven years, so naturally I couldn't go to school. Plus, coding was just a new field--at least that's what my friend told me. She's had success back then, but she wasn't certified because it wasn't required. She even started her own business about five years later, and made $75,000 back in 1991.

    So I finally followed her footsteps by taking a six-month course at another community college. After completion, I found out that I needed certification and experience. Besides, I felt that there had to be more than the basics regarding coding, so that's why I decided to reinforce my learning by taking the same courses at another school. These courses were a semester long each, so it took me two years to complete four classes. I enjoyed it immensely, and I worked hard in those classes--because there was a lot of work, but it was really worth it.

    I studied diligently for the CPC exam for four months, even though we were told repeatedly 1-1/2 years in advance by a temp employer consultant (and she was extremely frank that my heart just sanked; her words and body language tore me to pieces), a classmate, and two teachers that it has changed dramatically.

    So during the past five years, my financial situation has changed dramatically as well as everyone else's during these tough economic times--and it's going to be a long climb uphill--but I've come this far, and I believe there is a light at the end of the tunnel. In the meantime, I will continue to study for the exam which I plan to retake in September or October.

    Thanks for your encouraging words. This as well as other threads are so comforting. Thank you all, and I feel for each and every one of you.
    Last edited by Sonjagirl; 06-15-2009 at 02:42 PM.

  2. Default
    I too had a hard time finding my job. I had a wonderful one in FL, and due to the Economy we had to move back home to NY. I did find a job though. And, let me give you this little piece of advice....I could not find a "coding" job, so I took my skills and my certification and I tweaked my resume and I am now the Documentation and Reimbursement Coordinator for the Medical Group here. I used to code and bill the Physicians E/M Codes for the Hospital I worked for in FL, and the position I am in now has me working side by side with all of the providers making sure they are accurately coding E/M Codes. So look in other areas...I found this position under "financial analyst" And when they saw my coding certification, they wanted me to start right away. I wish you all luck!!!

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Betsyd View Post
    I too had a hard time finding my job. I had a wonderful one in FL, and due to the Economy we had to move back home to NY. I did find a job though. And, let me give you this little piece of advice....I could not find a "coding" job, so I took my skills and my certification and I tweaked my resume and I am now the Documentation and Reimbursement Coordinator for the Medical Group here. I used to code and bill the Physicians E/M Codes for the Hospital I worked for in FL, and the position I am in now has me working side by side with all of the providers making sure they are accurately coding E/M Codes. So look in other areas...I found this position under "financial analyst" And when they saw my coding certification, they wanted me to start right away. I wish you all luck!!!
    Yes, it helps to look in other areas. New York, from my understanding, is the financial capital of the United States. I'm quite surprise you didn't find a job as a coder, but I guess times have changed all over the world. Did you get your training as a coder in New York. If so, what is the name of the school, or did you learn on the job?

    I wish you much happiness in your current position. Thanks for responding.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeytheShark View Post
    Sonjagirl,

    You have good grammar skills! I'm sure you will find an opportunity somewere in billing and/or coding. Allot of times, in billing, the position is solely dependent on how confident you sound.

    Your inquires are significant!

    So, you got sold the insurance billing curriculum hey. Be careful with schools like these. They do not exemplify the definition of concrete coding program which is essential to success in coding career ( at least for most who plan to lonewolf their career). If you don't think your program adequately prepared you for a nine-to-fiver in billing, you should definitely think about enrolling into some concrete coding classes in Los Angeles; make sure to do your homework on researching the school!

    Sonjagirl, It must be pleasent living in California were there are at least a dozen of approved AHIMA facility coding curriculums, when compared to my city having "one" that costs around twenty thousand dollars. ( I think California has like the sixth largest economy in the world. Make sure to use your resources sonjagirl). If I lived out there, I would be working for TCS.

    Here is a story that might cheer you up sonjagirl!!!

    I was in the same situation as you. Presented myself as an easy target and got scammed by coding school, got a job at company that was no better than the school that refered me there. I was used then as a pawn for an incorporated scam that I think nobody even knew about inside the company, I think - something I need to start doing before posting; some opportunities are best to watch pass by.

    Since then, my work at my city junior college ( non approved AHIMA program in coding, and then the arts) is providing options of a life time when choosing what coding employer to work for. Last month I disclosed my "GPA" to "one" of the "five" facility inpatient jobs I applied to around my city. That "one and only" employer I submitted my "college work" to called back the very next day "five times" and emailed "three times." Although they said the job was inpatient, it wasn't inpatient just because MD are consulting inpatients with E/M codes. I am dumb (financially) for not taking the job, but it wasn't what I wanted.

    Confidence is the key to landing billing and coding jobs (even if your spelling and grammar arn't there). And you back up confidence with coding things correctly.

    Also,

    Don't let other coders and business associates get to you when they try intimidating you about how hard a coding examination can be, or the qualifications needed to get coding job. If I listened to controversy from others about how hard CCA and CPC exam were, I wouldn't be certified. Certified fake coders at my old fake school were telling me the CCA exam was coding pages of narrative descriptions from real paper. Yeeeaaa, they turned out to be big liars; You can't associate these type of coders with the organizations( if you do it will ruin your drive to strive for lucrative job prospects); it is hard because there are allot of them. I have found a total of seven-and-a-half coding/billing personnel (out of the 75,000 members in AAPC) that seem to have a soul about sharing invaluable knowledge that can only be aquired through years of practical experience in field. Fortunately one of those seven people live in my city, and reached out to me but I couldn't execute in making a new friend because I think I am perminently scared in my brain from dealing with so many two-faced corruptable people ( mainly coders).

    Good luck, keep your head down in the trench and keep fighting the good fight new coders!!!
    I did attend two public schools right across the street from each other. These schools were really enlightening.

    The second school, West Valley Occupational Center, should have been my first choice; but I wasn't ready to adhere to their early schedule, since I was commuting in bumper-to-bumper traffic from downtown Los Angeles to Woodland Hills. There was no way I could have arrived on time.

    Eight months later, I decided to repeat the classes that I passed at Los Angeles Pierce College by registering with West Valley Occupational Center. I explained to the instructor about the rush-hour traffic and that I would be about 15 minutes late for each session, but I didn't want her to think that I wasn't coming or interested in the class. I didn't want her to drop me automatically. She told me that she had to commute to and from Inglewood (by going over the hill on the 405 freeway) to get to and from school, so she understood perfectly. Was I happy to hear that. Her commute was worse than mine!

    Anyway, I spent two years there completing four classes. It was definitely worth it, and the tuition was just $55 - $60 per class for each semester which included on-campus parking, school identification card, etc.! We really got a lot for our money! The training there was equivalent to a private school ($6,500 - $10,000 for their one year curriculum); at least that's what I was told! Anyway, those four classes--over a period of two years--came to a total of $220.00 without books!

    Yes, Los Angeles definitely has some good schools, but I prefer the public ones even if their courses are longer. I was told by a CPC instructor within AAPC that I won't find a public school that dissects operating reports within the city. I don't know if that's true . . . maybe.

    I've lived here all of my life, and I guess I took everything for granted. To me I thought this was just normal until I started traveling repeatedly to other cities within the United States and abroad. Thousands are moving here every year for the jobs, schools, entertainment, weather, palm trees, beaches, mountains, etc. It has a lot to offer; and I have to admit, "the pros outweigh the cons."

    I appreciate your experience. You've been very encouraging to me. Thanks!
    Last edited by Sonjagirl; 06-15-2009 at 03:38 PM.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonjagirl View Post
    I did attend two public schools right across the street from each other. These schools were really enlightening.

    The second school, West Valley Occupational Center, should have been my first choice; but I wasn't ready to adhere to their early schedule, since I was commuting in bumper-to-bumper traffic from downtown Los Angeles to Woodland Hills. There was no way I could have arrived on time.

    Eight months later, I decided to repeat the classes that I passed at Los Angeles Pierce College by registering with West Valley Occupational Center. I explained to the instructor about the rush-hour traffic and that I would be about 15 minutes late for each session, but I didn't want her to think that I wasn't coming or interested in the class. I didn't want her to drop me automatically. She told me that she had to commute to and from Inglewood (by going over the hill on the 405 freeway) to get to and from school, so she understood perfectly. Was I happy to hear that. Her commute was worse than mine!

    Anyway, I spent two years there completing four classes. It was definitely worth it, and the tuition was just $55 - $60 per class for each semester which included on-campus parking, school identification card, etc.! We really got a lot for our money! The training there was equivalent to a private school ($6,500 - $10,000 for their one year curriculum); at least that's what I was told! Anyway, those four classes--over a period of two years--came to a total of $220.00 without books!

    Yes, Los Angeles definitely has some good schools, but I prefer the public ones even if their courses are longer. I was told by a CPC instructor within AAPC that I won't find a public school that dissects operating reports within the city. I don't know if that's true . . . maybe.

    I've lived here all of my life, and I guess I took everything for granted. To me I thought this was just normal until I started traveling repeatedly to other cities within the United States and abroad. Thousands are moving here every year for the jobs, schools, entertainment, weather, palm trees, beaches, mountains, etc. It has a lot to offer; and I have to admit, "the pros outweigh the cons."

    I appreciate your experience. You've been very encouraging to me. Thanks!

    Oops, you're not in the same situation as me.
    Last edited by 007CPC; 06-17-2009 at 11:30 PM. Reason: spelling

  6. #16
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    Woodland Hills (Los Angeles), California
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeytheShark View Post
    Opps, you're not in the same situation as me.
    We're all going through something, though.

    By the time I decided to go into medical insurance billing in 2004, all the classes were no longer part of the regular curriculum at the community colleges. They were included in the extension program, so it cost more.

    At the first school, I paid $400 for the four medical insurance billing sessions (extension courses) at Los Angeles Pierce College and about $200 for the three medical terminology sessions (extension program) at Los Angeles City College. Los Angeles Pierce College didn't have the medical terminology course. I paid a total of $600 for these basic courses for six months.

    Back then I had no intentions of going to another school eight months later such as West Valley Occupational Center, because my nursing friend didn't; and she worked as a temp and was hired by a group of doctors. She didn't need certification back then (1986). Now things have changed, but I plan to "keep my chin up."

    Once again, thanks for your comments.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonjagirl View Post
    We're all going through something, though.

    By the time I decided to go into medical insurance billing in 2004, all the classes were no longer part of the regular curriculum at the community colleges. They were included in the extension program, so it cost more.

    At the first school, I paid $400 for the four medical insurance billing sessions (extension courses) at Los Angeles Pierce College and about $200 for the three medical terminology sessions (extension program) at Los Angeles City College. Los Angeles Pierce College didn't have the medical terminology course. I paid a total of $600 for these basic courses for six months.

    Back then I had no intentions of going to another school eight months later such as West Valley Occupational Center, because my nursing friend didn't; and she worked as a temp and was hired by a group of doctors. She didn't need certification back then (1986). Now things have changed, but I plan to "keep my chin up."

    Once again, thanks for your comments.
    If you really mean it, your welcome

  8. Wink
    Quote Originally Posted by Sonjagirl View Post
    Yes, it helps to look in other areas. New York, from my understanding, is the financial capital of the United States. I'm quite surprise you didn't find a job as a coder, but I guess times have changed all over the world. Did you get your training as a coder in New York. If so, what is the name of the school, or did you learn on the job?

    I wish you much happiness in your current position. Thanks for responding.
    I received my education in FL actually. At Concorde Career Institute. But, the man that hired me did not look at my resume and he put me into a Revenue Analyst position. That was a lucky day for me because I am now a certified coder with the Experience of a Financial Analyst. There are many Coding jobs here, but I am not in NYC, I am in Western NY, and they did not know me in the "circles" here, but I am planning on changing that!

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Betsyd View Post
    I received my education in FL actually. At Concorde Career Institute. But, the man that hired me did not look at my resume and he put me into a Revenue Analyst position. That was a lucky day for me because I am now a certified coder with the Experience of a Financial Analyst. There are many Coding jobs here, but I am not in NYC, I am in Western NY, and they did not know me in the "circles" here, but I am planning on changing that!
    Thanks for responding!

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