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No Coding Jobs for inexperienced Coders

  1. #151
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    Medical Coding Books
    jjhamer1, thank you for your post. I've been reading this thread and your response made me feel a little more optimistic. I am halfway through my coursework now and I do believe that now is the time to get my face out there, make connections, etc. I landed my first full time job the exact same way you obtained your coding job. I literally made a pest of myself, he HAD to give me the job just to shut me up!! I was there 16 years. So, in short, your post made me optimistic after reading so many posts that were making me fearful. I am not going to give in to fear, I am going to make my dream come true and I will find a job. I am going to make it happen. Thank you for your post!

  2. #152
    Baltimore Charm City
    Cool Good news about ICD10.
    ICD-10: New Codes, New Opportunities
    The adoption of ICD-10 is a gigantic leap into the unknown for medical coders and healthcare organizations on either side of the payment process. The comfortable, time-tested relationship with ICD-9 codes will be shelved for the new, vastly unfamiliar codes that comprise ICD-10.

    Not surprisingly, the mere thought of diagnosis codes jumping from the thousands to more than 100,000 in October 2011 is already causing administrators and coders alike to reach for the aspirin. Keeping up with the codes will be a tremendous task for coders and healthcare organizations that have spent more than 30 years using the ICD-9 system.

    But the conversion to ICD-10 – directed by the Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services – is about more than replacing one set of codes with another. It represents an unprecedented opportunity to improve the quality of information, which will – over the long run – benefit every constituent of our healthcare system.

    ICD-10 gives the healthcare industry the chance to improve the way it handles documentation and coding operations through technological capabilities and human expertise and, at the same time, to elevate the power of biosurveillance and pharmacovigilance.

    Considering, however, that even small changes to the current ICD-9 system can net 80 percent to 90 percent denial rates initially, the overwhelming scope of the disruption stemming from ICD-10 cannot be understated.

    Given the diversity in size, specialty, and payer mix within the healthcare industry, the complications of the change are nearly impossible to properly measure. But so, too, are the new codes' possibilities in terms of technology adoption, research, and discovery.

    A Computer-Assisted Lifeline

    The enormous increase in the number of codes available will likely cause many healthcare organizations to seek technological solutions to help deal with code selection. While the use of computer-assisted coding (CAC) is not new, the adoption of ICD-10 may cause adoption rates to increase considerably.

    In fact, a recent survey of medical practices shows that two-thirds expect to purchase software to manage the change. CAC will offer organizations a lifeline during a chaotic time – automated code selection from a sea of unknown new codes. At its core, sophisticated CAC helps organizations harness incredible amounts of information and streamline the coding process.

    Through natural language processing (NLP)-driven software, CAC applications “read” physicians' dictated reports and, to varying degrees, extract clinical language to assign appropriate and accurate codes for patient encounters.

    The technology already reduces the demands on human coders by removing their involvement in simple and repetitive coding tasks, letting the technology tackle those tasks instead. This frees human coders to focus on the more complicated and challenging aspects of coding.

    CAC will do the same thing – and more – with ICD-10. Rather than leaving human coders to dig through ICD-10 coding manuals, the technology will mine medical reports, assign relevant codes, and present them to human coders to review and approve. Through this process, coders will be able to learn along the way and expand their familiarity with ICD-10.

    This alone will be a tremendous benefit for organizations that fear the effects that cost, training, and time investments in ICD-10 will have on their staff. Healthcare organizations should heed warnings of a Band-Aid® approach with CAC, as all systems are not created equally.

    Term-matching or pure rules-only systems employ an “if, then” approach: If such software detects the phrase “diabetes,” it will code for diabetes, but it may not catch contexts that could change the diagnosis (such as “negative for diabetes”), nor information elsewhere in the record that supports a more refined diagnosis (i.e., reference to malnutrition).

    More advanced systems use NLP to evaluate the entirety of a medical report, scanning for all possible diagnosis information. This is especially relevant for ICD-10, where the volume of codes will increase to about 155,000 from ICD-9's 17,000, in order to tackle diagnosis coding at a more granular level.

    Organizations should also be aware that some systems are configured to send reports directly to billing after simply matching codes to a list that a claim scrubber would approve, without more sophisticated validation of the codes given the evidence in the dictation.

    This lack of proper review introduces significant compliance risks, especially in light of an entirely new code set – trying to predict what a scrubber would approve with ICD-10 is an unknown gamble.

    CAC applications should verify accuracy based on national coding guidelines, coding results from a myriad of organizations, input from certified coders, and statistical analysis, in addition to advanced coding and statistical technologies.

    The technology should also be able to offer continual reporting and aggregate analysis of the changes that review coders make to its output, to highlight possible areas for technology refinement and coder education – a vital element as human coders begin to learn the new ICD-10 code sets.

    Operational and Medical Insight

    Beyond the opportunity for broader adoption of coding technology, the additional promise of ICD-10 in the United States is coming into focus. The current ICD-9 system was developed more than 30 years ago and simply cannot support today's healthcare, much less that of the future.

    The codes are already stretched to cover current diagnoses, because today's practice of medicine has grown to involve concepts unthinkable in the 1970s. Medicine, technology, and diagnoses have advanced incredibly in the last three decades, while coding remains mired in outdated systems, and essential healthcare information too often remains locked away in unanalyzed clinical dictations.

    With ICD-10's new organization of codes, medical coding can catch up to today's healthcare because ICD-10's granularity offers the industry a real chance to revolutionize the way it gathers and processes information. Driven by vast amounts of data, rules, and analysis, ICD-10 dives deeper into the building blocks of diagnosis than ever before.

    At the same time, NLP technology excels at extracting such structure from unrestricted medical language. By pairing deeper standards of description with NLP technology's ability to automatically map language to structured information, healthcare organizations can discover patterns, identify outliers, and create flexible and powerful new windows into their operations.

    NLP's capacity to map from language to structure has already proven its value in other domains. Automatic information extraction serves as the foundation for surveillance, interactive search, and knowledge discovery applications in business intelligence, homeland security, and biomedical research. What healthcare could do with the same kinds of insight is boundless.

    ICD-10 gives the data to support – among other things – biosurveillance, pay-for-performance initiatives, safety improvements, quality measurements, and more accurate reimbursement rates. In short, the new code set offers a better way to organize data, and ultimately provides higher-quality information to gauge the safety, efficiency, and quality of care.

    By embracing ICD-10, the American healthcare industry will adopt a richer, more systematic, and more extensible approach to clinical documentation. Doing so will reveal unprecedented opportunities to link documentation and diagnoses to new knowledge and deeper medical understanding.

    — Andy Kapit, MBA, is CEO of CodeRyte Inc. (, based in Bethesda, Md. Questions and comments can be directed to

  3. Default
    I'm so glad this thread got started. I wish it had been here before I spent (sometimes I feel like wasted) three months of my life to become a CPC. Those thinking of getting into coding should first be required to read this entire thread.

    I gave up looking after the rude awakening I got when I started looking for a coding job. It makes a lot of sense when you think about it, imagine the profits that are being made off of inexperienced and unemployed CPC coders.

    That's my little rant and it is common among all entry level job fields but coding is especially difficult to crack into and it's a shame that's not more commonly discussed.

    My situation is that, I was fortunate enough to get hired as an anesthesia tech and have been working for Health One for a year now and have developed an excellent reputation for myself. My certification expires on March 30, 2011 and I have NO CEU's, I have not decided if I want to spend any more money on the coding world yet. I've not even re-newed my membership fees to the AAPC.

    If I were to get my rear in gear and get my CEU's here:

    and push forward with getting a coding job, how would my luck change considering my status with a large company and good reviews as an employee?
    Last edited by RyanW; 06-16-2010 at 03:42 PM.

  4. Default
    I am currently enrolled in medical coding course through local college, will be finishing in August and scheduled to sit for exam in September, but all these statements on not having experience really bothers me. How can you get experience if they do not allow you a starting point. Was a little discouraged at last class, instructor stated also that area hospitals would probably not hire inexperienced coders. So how do we all overcome these obstacles. I am 54 years old, lost my job 2 years ago and have not been able to find anything do to the economic decline. I have bookkeeping and office management experience which I believe would be an asset to the extended experience of a coding position. Not sure what to do proactively to get the skills I need to become successful in this profession.

    Cheryl Aiken
    Lebanon, NH

  5. Default
    At least your instructor is honest...mine lied through her teeth

    I was also unemployed while studying, that's why I was able to pass on my first try. The only advice I can give is to get employed in health care or insurance and be positive and persistent. My spirits are easily broken and that's why I still don't have a coding job.

  6. #156
    Default Breaking In
    I wanted to respond to Cheryl Aiken's post about switching careers. It seems like that was what you did. I had done the same thing. Briefly put, I started my transition more than 5 years ago because I was tired of the Engineering field but trapped because I made excellent money. I knew by switching careers, I would have to downsize economically and other ways to make a change possible. It was HARD. Once I realized I wanted to code or perform coding related duties, I spent some $$ with an oline school and took Medical Billing and Coding Courses. All the courses were outstanding except the Coding. The book sucked, the curriculum sucked and god bless her, the online instructor tried her best. But I was green as a golf course when it came to coding, but I knew this was my thing from the first time I opened a book on it and saw the numbers. I winded up purchasing the Study Guide and online practice tests from AAPC and passed the CPC exam on my own. If I would have only relied on the crappy course I took (I didn't know any better) I would have walked away long ago. Well, now I am a coder and one way I survived the transition was by develping a strategic plan. It was simple. I transitioned myself by burning the candle at both ends working my main job while I went thru school and educated myself. I first got credentialed as a CMBS and found odd and part time work billing. I hated that stuff, but I did it. The pay well, I almost threw in the towel but I just thought of where I will be once i got through the hard part of transitioning. This took over 4 yrs. Now I am in coding, doing remote, and have another job lined up for straight 40 hrs in auditing. I knew I wanted to code or work with codes because my enthusiasm for it was on fire and still is. These two jobs will pay me enough and almost put me back where I was financially. The road is tough! What i found out thru this is keep yourself practicing to code, make a job out of finding a job, accept each interview as an experience to landing the right job for you when it comes. I went on many an interview, and honestly, some I was really interested in and flubbed the interview or process or there were some that clearly were not a fit for me and my style. My next goal is degree in HIM field.

    There is a job for every person out there who wants it. Don't be discouraged andfeel like, "a test everywhere ya go?" It's true. Everyone including doctors, nurses technicians most likely HAVE to take a test and background check to get employed. Not just coders. Study up on the trends of hiring as well. They have changed many times in the last ten years and one needs to keep up wih the younger ones because they are the future.

    I sincerely hope and pray you find was to build yourself and get the job you want and need. May God Bless and you keep moving forward.
    Last edited by KellyLR; 06-20-2010 at 09:35 PM. Reason: grammar

  7. Default No jobs for inexperienced coders
    Just adding my bit, indeed it;s an uphill task, no one wants to give us newbies a chance,how can we get experience, if persons in the field are unwilling to give us a chance. I graduated from college just over a year ago, and passed the CPC in September 2009, I know its not as long as some persons, and they are still out there looking for a hire, but, we have to keep the faith and keep on keeping on

    HELP US!

    (We may need to set up a Chapter of Inexperienced Coders, and have a Conference some time soon!)

  8. #158
    Thumbs up
    Quote Originally Posted by marty3073 View Post


    I also like this verse: Romans 8:28! I haven't been certified yet.. but hope that by the time I do become certified that there will be a job waiting for me. But not just me, especially those of you who have been certified and have had a hard time getting a coding job. I kind of wish there was a "Coder's Assistant" type job that I could work.. That would help me get more experience while I am studying and reviewing for my cpc exam (Sept). That would help me practice and possibly help me pass my exam... but all I can do is "practice" my coding skills. I've been trying to get a job at a medical billing office for a general medical office assistant (clerical) hoping to work closely with a coder. But, in the meantime, I'll still study, review, and practice my coding skills.

  9. #159
    Thumbs up
    Quote Originally Posted by jjhamer1 View Post
    I am also a "newbie"...but, persistence is the key to success.
    I had applied online to the position I now the time, I was still in school, uncertified, but eager to learn as much as possible. When I applied, the ad read: Certified coder 3-5 years experience...I applied anyway...wanted to see if anyone was actually looking at these online resumes!! I recieved no response!!
    Three months later, I was performing my externship, and during that time, I went back online, only to find the same position was still open...only now they wanted a certified coder with 3 months experience. I was all over it. I had planned to take my certification test in mid-December. Anyway, I found out who was in charge of hiring for the position. I literally made a pest of myself, and finally got in front of the supervisor. I assured her she would not find a more dedicated individual who would put forth 110% of effort all the time. All I needed was a chance to show what I could do.
    Found out I passed the certification test on Christmas Day, and started my new job Dec. 28th.
    I have been here for three months now, and apparently doing well, as I have been given many more responsibilites besides just the clinic coder (eleven clinics). I am auditing the docs, coding anesthesia for the hospital, and charge entry. I am always willing to meet the challenge when I am asked to do more...the more I learn, the better the job security.
    And did I mention, I am a grandfather...age 53. If I can do it, anybody can!!
    Don't take "no" for an answer!!
    Good Luck!!
    Thanks for that uplifting, hopeful message... I have a question, though, you were able to get an externship opportunity before you were certified? I wish there were more of those. I live in the Tyler, TX area (surrounding area) and am hoping for an opportunity to help me "practice" my coding skills to strengthen my knowledge which I believe would help me pass my coding exam in addition to my studying and reviewing for my certification exam. I have a question, though, did you pass your coding exam the first time?

  10. #160
    I agree with you that AAPC misrepresents the job market in their advertising. They take our money for the dues, classes, testing, seminars and don't give CPC-A's one thing in return but a kick in the butt. As an organization that is to promote the Certification of Professional Coders I think they have failed us (CPC-A) miserably. Then they have the nerve to tell me to go out in my community to find companies that will take coders to do externships for their program. I am in the process of finding out how and to whom to file my complaint. If I can take legal action for false representation, I am going to do that. All together, I have spent more than 12,000.00 for an education, books, seminars, memberships, dues, etc. and not a JOB to be found that doesnt say " AT LEAST 2 YEARS EXPERIENCE REQUIRED ".

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