So California and Project Xtern
I read this entire thread and felt compelled to answer. I work for a large IPA/Medical management company in the low desert and we are a Project Xtern site. Some of you may have called or emailed me. I post using my real name and don't hide behind a cutsey avatar. I realize that some of you use your real names as well, which I really appreaciate as an employer. I will address what I mean by that in a second.
Part of the problem with using externs is the state law in California. It does not allow a company to have extern do the same functions as an employee without being paid at least minimum wage. In the past, externs were a "win/win" for a company-the company gets caught up on some coding for free and the extern gets some much needed experience. Now I have to have budgetary allowance to have an Extern come and help us stay on schedule, which can be impossible when you have to convince a bean-counter to spend the money.
I also speak at our local technical college and probably will not be asked back. Why? Because I don't believe in telling someone that the certificate of completion that the college gives for a "billing and coding" course will get them a high paying job. Because the reality is that it won't. Yes, you may have paid 30K for that piece of paper, spent 2 years of your life in class and received good grades, however, the material they are teaching is just not enough of "real life" to be able to perform the job duties that are required.
Most of us "old timers" began from the ground up-I have been the chart room filing clerk, appointment scheduler, receptionist, check-out clerk, etc as well as the biller, billing coordinator, project manager, department supervisor and department manager. You have to be willing to take any job in an office and eventually, you will be there to get the coder job when one becomes available.
Now, back to my soapbox and what I meant by "cutsey avatars" or user names. As a hiring manager, anyone that I consider for one of my positions is already in the interview process when I look over their resume, speak to them on the phone or respond to an email. My advice is save your creative usenames for Facebook or Twitter and get one that means business and that you are to be taken seriously.
I am always happy to help anyone with any questions they may have. Please feel free to PM me.
Litriana (Lee) Shimano, CPC, CCP, PCS