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Thread: Chance to begin as CPC-A

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007

    Angry Chance to begin as CPC-A

    AAPC: Back to School
    Looking for office to give me a chance to begin new career in medical coding. Live in Minneapolis/St. Paul area, Minnesota If anyone has tips on how to go about getting started please let me know.


  2. #2


    I would start by not displaying you are mad. I don't know any business that would even consider anyone with a slight attitude. Sometimes you have to give to get. Try starting with an intership.

    Good Luck

  3. #3


    Jennifer sounds calm and collected to me, and I read only frustration/dismay, and not anger, into her red Emoticon. . .Jennifer: Since you are at the very beginning of the career (I'm not far beyond that, myself), would you consider veering slightly away from your original training in order to get a grounding in hospital/facility coding? I am attempting to do that myself, now, based on my current experience, but before I explain, I should mention that getting into hospital coding from the ground up is as difficult as is finding that first physician service coding job, but as I see it, the struggle in that direction bears superior long-term fruit.

    My first job as a CPC-A was labeled a coding job, but ended up being too heavy on mere charge entry. There were many areas, at my office, in which coding needed to be upgraded, and I attempted endlessly to innovate improvements, but the environment was unreceptive, and I was told in no uncertain terms to charge, charge, charge away, and keep up a very high volume of claims. Ethically, I could not continue in this way, and when I looked around me, I saw that too many physicians' offices are oriented this way: Confusion of coding with billing, and a disturbing lack of power, on the part of coders, to uphold correct and ethical coding standards.

    I became intrigued with the parallel world of hospital/facility coding, as a result, and research showed that that universe is IMMENSELY focused on quality control and ethics, and also packed with layers of auditing. Also, hospital coding is generally separated from billing altogether, such that coders are immersed in medicine fully, with the exception of remaining aware of the DRG implications of one's codes. . .

    To become a facility coder requires a whole separate training that CPCs don't really have, but as people who have already mastered the very arcane CPT, we can DEFINITELY master the principles of UHDDS-based coding, and can DEFINITELY navigate ICD-9, which is MUCH better written and annotated than the CPT.

    Most facility coders are not graduates of HIM college programs, even though such programs aim to train in this arena. Most facility coders were selected from other hospital positions to train into hospital coding. Most importantly, once one gets the training, and works for a few years, work opportunities in facility coding are amazingly rich. Much more demand, from what I see, than there is for physician service coders. . .

    Can you try to land a job in a hospital's HIM department doing records assembly, perhaps? That might position you to be selected later for coding training on the job. After that, the sky will be the limit. ALong the way, you'll want to take the CCS exam, but I'm told that a few years of steady HIM coding makes that exam quite do-able.

    I would love to see more CPC-As like us try this different direction. Since the offices who do what we were trained to do don't want us (and that is certainly the norm: It remains nearly impossible for a CPC-A to get a physician service coding job), why not try a different milieu, where advancement is actually possible?

  4. #4

    Smile Thanks so much from another CPC-A

    Thank you so much for your informative response. I have been looking for a way into an entry level hospital coding position for several months, without success.

    I will definitely follow your suggestion by applying for a level below coding. I agree that it would be definitely worth it!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007

    Talking Great post!

    Hrojzen, great post. Supportive, informative, and based on reality out there! Thank you for sharing.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007


    Keep looking! It is hard and it is frustrating to break into this field. I will share how I did it. I accepted a part time registration position with my local facility. I was able to move into a physician billing position full time, and then into hospital outpatient coding. It takes perserverence and a good attitude, which I am sure you have. You may need to take a setp backwards before you can leap forward. Hang in there and best of luck to you.

  7. #7


    It took me a year to find a coding job. I'm a CPC-A as well and I was very fortunate to get the job that I am in now. Just keep looking. In my area(Washington State) I've noticed a lot of coding temp jobs which means you earn experience even if it may be only a month or so here or there. Don't give up!!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Dover Seacoast New Hampshire


    Bravo, hrojzen. You found an opportunity, thought outside the box, and have found success. Thanks for the great post.
    Pam Brooks, MHA, CPC, PCS, COC
    Coding Manager
    Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
    Dover, NH 03820

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

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