Not to worry, people. But plan ahead...
Before the EMR, we were a department of 45 providers and four coders. When we implemented our new software that included an EMR, the practice managers and IT people smugly announced that now they'd be able to get rid of the 'overpaid' coders.
Now we're 90+ providers, and 13 coders. Do the math....they doubled, we tripled. Our coders used to append an ICD-9 and do a brief audit of E&M, and post charges.
Now we code surgeries (EMRs can't do that), audit, provide education, get involved with compliance, help with denial management, assist IT with the documentation guidelines in the EMR, and still have time to code for some of the ancillary services that aren't yet on our EMR. Oh, yes, and we're the I-10 experts. Overall.....they're pretty happy that they kept us!
My point is that coders will still be needed, but our skills need to be updated. My advice is to not lay around waiting for the changes, but to educate yourself in chart auditing, finance, payer guidelines, CERT, RAC and OIG details, become very computer literate, get over your fear of public speaking so you can teach and train your providers and present your expertise to administration. EMR has raised the bar, and if you want to compete or even stay employed, you won't be able to to that if you expect to remain a back-office data entry coder.
I also recommend that you considere obtaining a degree, particularly if you are connected with a major medical center or your providers are considering joining a physician corporation. You'll need least an Associates, preferably a Bachelors and managers should have a graduate degree or at least some graduate credits.
I get calls and emails about jobs pretty much daily, so there is work out there if you have the right skills.
Pam Brooks, MHA, CPC, PCS, COC
Dover, NH 03820
If you can dream it, you can do it. Walt Disney