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No Coding Jobs for inexperienced Coders

  1. #161
    Medical Coding Books
    You were lucky that AAPC knew where your state was for an externship. Until 2 weeks ago, they didnt know Delaware was a state, let alone have externships available in that area. They told me to go out and find someone that would do externships because they didnt have time. I did that. They registered with AAPC but I still have not heard anything about the externship. Then I found out the company advertises for coder/billers and then tries to sell them education so they can get hired! I am ready to go to McDonalds and flip burgers. This is just a racket as far as I am concerned

  2. #162
    I am finding that the temp agencies are also asking for 3 years from their clients.

  3. #163
    Dover Seacoast New Hampshire
    As someone who has been in this business for 20+ years, and who is in the position to hire entry level coders, I really want to respond to this thread.

    First, I agree that it's frustrating to have spent time, money and effort, only to learn that the healthcare field is not waiting for you with open arms. But I want to ask each and every one of you who are not currently able to find work to look at this situation from my perspective, and then ask yourselves who is really responsible for all of this? Let me be as blunt and as polite as I possibly can. If I offend you, I apologize in advance.

    One post I read lamented that they had spent "3 whole months" learning this work, and felt ripped off because nobody would hire them. If anyone thinks that they can learn coding in three months, and expect any physician, facility, or billing agency to hire you with that "expansive" length of education, then you were sadly misinformed, or did not take the time to do the research, which is, by the way, a necessary skill required of all coders. The biggest trend I am seeing in this thread is that many of you didn't do your research. Before plunking down your money for your coding classes, did you call any hosptials, physicians or billing companies to see what they required for education and experience? Or did you rely on the advertisements and promises of the coding schools alone to convince you that this is a wide-open field? Had you called me (a coding supervisor for a hospital-owned multispecialty practice with 90+ physicians) I would have told you that I do not hire new graduates for staff coding positions, and that the EMR has eliminated the need for entry level coding assistants.

    I did recently have one entry-level position open up. I threw out several resumes for spelling and grammar errors. (hello....attention to detail??!!) Some applicants had schedule requirements that I couldn't meet, like they couldn't work on Tuesdays because they had to babysit the grandkid. One showed up in clothing that voilated our dress code. In the end, only four certified coders were in the running. I was shocked that only one could tell me the difference between CPT and ICD-9. You can see how this might be discouraging to an employer, because it tells me that not everyone is getting the best training, and not everyone wants to do all that they can to secure employment.

    According to the Coding Edge between April and July of this year, there were nearly 2100 new CPC-A's credentialled. I do not blame the AAPC, as many of you have. The AAPC is a for-profit company, dedicated to promoting and educating excellent coders, and they do a fantastic job. But why shouldn't they take take your money if you offer it up? They are not responsible for the job market, your resume content, your interveiw behavior, your lack of education or experience, your geographic region, or that you took a chance on this career and can't get a job. That is your responsibility. Threatening litigation on this website is career suicide; there isn't a coding manager on earth that would hire you now.

    Here's what I look for: Is your resume spotless? Are you? Look in the mirror, appearance does count, sorry. You'll be speaking with physicians and will wear a badge that identifies you as an employee, and we want you to be neatly and professionally presented. Skip the cigarette before the interview, I can smell it. Explain to me what it is about you that makes you someone that I want to hire. I can teach you to code, but I can't teach you to be motivated, organized, personable or smart. Figure out what kind of coder I need (surgery, E&M, rad, lab) and then brush up on those areas, because I'm going to test you. Ask me questions, don't just sit there!

    I once had an interview for a job that I really wanted, and did not get the job. I couldn't understand why...I thought the interview went extremely well. Later, I asked for feedback as to why I wasn't selected, and it was the most valuable career advice I have ever received. I made mistakes (unknowingly at the time) that were pointed out to me, and although it was difficult to hear, I never made those mistakes again. So if you don't get the job, find out why, because even though you don't want to hear might be about you, and it might be something you can do differently next time with more favorable results.

    I apologize for the length of this post, but I hope that I was able to give a different perspective. The best advice I can give is to stay focused, accept any position within the healthcare field, avoid the bad attitudes, and keep trying.
    Last edited by Pam Brooks; 07-09-2010 at 10:45 AM.
    Pam Brooks, MHA, COC, PCS, CPC, AAPC Fellow
    Coding Manager
    Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
    Dover, NH 03820

    If you can dream it, you can do it. Walt Disney

  4. Default
    I think Gail you should attempt the auditing positions that require the nursing degree with coding degree. I think you are very fortunate to have both. Use that to your advantage! Good luck! Gail Davis, CPC

  5. #165
    Default Thank you Pam!
    Miss Pam,
    If I may, I'd like to thank you for your perspective and input on this matter.
    It's very discouraging to read this post and participate in the pity-party. I myself am a student and took my exam yesterday; I hope to hear good news about the results later this week. As much as I can empathize with some of the sentiments expressed earlier by inexperienced members, the attitude and the sense of entitlement on the part of some is shocking.

    I hope this won't sound harsh.

    It makes you wonder what kind of time and effort they devoted to researching the field before they decided to attempt certification. Potential employers can sense negativity; it's like a poison that would creep into the entire organization. It's not hard to see why some are experiencing difficulty gaining employment. I read over the resume postings on the forum just to see what kind of credentials and experience other members have. Many of those submitted by the CPC-A's have atrocious errors. It shows, as you mentioned, a lack of attention to detail at best and at worst, just plain laziness. Why on earth wouldn't you use spellcheck and have a family member or friend proofread your resume?

    Your experience and advice is sound and very much appreciated. It's great that you provided so many particulars about the job search and these will be remembered as I begin to see what opportunities await me.

    Thank you again.

  6. #166
    Charleston, South Carolina

    EXCELLENT, EXCELLENT post! Kudos to you for saying it best!

    Machelle Morningstar, CPC, COC, CEMC, COSC
    AHIMA Approved ICD-10-CM/PCS Trainer

  7. #167
    Default Amen! Pam
    Let me thank you too, Pam for your insight. I have been with the AAPC since I passed the exam in 2004. They have been nothing but helpful to me.

    As for breaking into the coding field, you may have to find another route to it. I started working at an answering service in 1990 and used any scrap of knowledge that I could get from the doctors who used our service to land a job at the local hospital as a unit secretary. At that point, I didn't even know coding existed. After working in the hospital setting for several years, I accepted a position as a receptionist in an internal medicine office. From there, I went to work for an ENT doing insurance and billing which led to my first coding opportunity.

    That opportunity came because I had built credibility in the medical community, not because I took a few classes and passed an exam! My physician paid for me to go to school and take that exam AFTER he trusted me.

    I'm with you Pam, I wouldn't offer a job to anyone with the poor attitudes and the whining I am seeing in this thread. Time would have been much better spent asking seasoned coders for advice!

    Michele R. Hayes, CPC, CPMA, CEMC, CGIC

  8. #168
    Dover Seacoast New Hampshire
    Perhaps the whining will stop, and the board can be used for the purpose it was originally offer guidance and support to professional coders.

    Thanks for the kudos. I just felt that it had to be said. I'm off my soapbox now.
    Pam Brooks, MHA, COC, PCS, CPC, AAPC Fellow
    Coding Manager
    Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
    Dover, NH 03820

    If you can dream it, you can do it. Walt Disney

  9. #169
    Wilmington, NC
    I am taking my exam on 7/17. I was resently hired in a dental office working with insurance. It's not medical coding, but works along the same line. Even though it is difficult to "break in" to medical coding, I agree that a person needs to take any opportunity that is offered and to establish knowledge and credibility within the medical community. I have been in the medical field since 1996 and have built a name for myself. Each job that I have held has helped me build my career to where I am today. The dentist that I will be working for is my regular dentist. He knows me, my work ethic and knows some of the providers that I have worked with, which has helped my reputation.

  10. #170
    Hartford, CT
    I would like to add a few words to Pam's post. I have also been in this field for a very long time (30 years). I recently started teaching the billing portion of a Coding and Billing class offered by a local Community college. While I try not to discourage any of my students, I was very surprised to find that many of them thought they could take their Certificate of Completion (it's not a dregree program) and get coding jobs. Many did not even want to sit for the CPC exam.

    I agree with Pam completely, many of the new coders have not done their research. Many of my students are taking this class because they've seen ads that say coders will earn $35-40,000/year. They also hear that you can do coding from home. With the large amount of coding courses available, the market has been inundated with new, inexperienced coders. The problem with this is that with all the government regulations and policy changes doctors and hospitals don't have time to train new people, they need someone who has at least a basic understanding of how the system works; and three months in a training course is not going to give you this.

    One of the other things Pam mentioned was the amount of errors in resumes and people coming to interviews in inappropriate clothing. I have a very large physician network and this is a common complaint when they are looking to hire. People, LOOKS DO MATTER! Hide the tattoos, remove the piercings and dress like a professional (no ripped jeans or belly shirts). Have someone proofread your resume and correct mistakes (grammatical and spelling) and remember this is not a text message to your BFF. If some of the posts I've read lately are any indication of coders education, we need to add an English course to the requirements.

    Another issue I've heard from physicians and Medical Records Directors, new coders do not know how to abstract information from a chart or note. Nearly anyone can pass a multiple choice test, but real medical records are not multiple choice. As Pam said, do your research.

    I've been doing this long to enough to know that times will continue to change. Years ago doctors could hire anyone off the street and train them. They no longer have that option, They need people who are sticklers for detail, aware of current laws and regulations, able to keep up with changes in the law and able to keep them informed. Three months in a coding class is not going to give them what they need.

    Doreen, CPC
    Last edited by dclark7; 07-13-2010 at 11:27 AM. Reason: spelling error

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