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Need guidance/advice

  1. Question Need guidance/advice
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    Currently wrapping up my billing and coding program, have not taken certification, but plan to after school is done. Should be done by October 2010.

    Immediate Goal:
    To secure employment as a biller and coder-I have 15 years experience in the insurance industry. Its like a maze trying to wade through the various opportunities but I need to get my foot in the door.

    Long Term Goals:
    Remote Coder/Run My Own Business/Teach

    Any helpful advice would be appreciated

  2. #2
    Location
    Dover Seacoast New Hampshire
    Posts
    1,971
    Default
    I wish you good luck on your exam. I think you definitely have an advantage over most other new coders.

    Use your insurance experience to it's fullest extent. Most payers hire coders, and I would take advantage of this in order to get some hands-on coding experience. It might be easier to start out by "going back", so to speak. Insurance experience will be extremely helpful for your long-term goals, particularly if you wish to work independently.

    Once you have a year or two of coding experience, you'll be in a better place to secure employment within a health care facility, but as you send out your resumes in October, I'd still apply at medical facilities and mention your insurance experience. In other words, don't limit yourself. There's no 'right' way to get into coding, and many of us didn't necessarily take a direct approach.

    If you wish to work independently, and/or have your own business, you'll need several years of experience in multiple specialties. I think one of the misconceptions of new coders is that that once you've taken the community college courses and passed your CPC, you are now qualified to code anywhere and for anyone. You could work towards that goal by positioning yourself in a multi-specialty practice or a hospital-owned physician group, and plan to spend some time learning all you can.

    If you do decide to teach, consult or code remotely someday, it might be helpful to get an undergraduate degree (or at least some courses) in education or business, with a focus on teaching adults. In order to be a successful teacher, you must know your subject matter inside and out, so it will be important to have a solid understanding of, and then always stay up on the many changes in CPT, ICD-9 (and 10), CMS and with the commercial payers both locally and nationwide.

    Another misconception about coding is that a degree is not required. I can tell you that my facility has raised the bar significantly over the past few years, and it won't be long before a degree is a pre-requisite. My job requires a BS or BA, and there are days when I wish I had a law degree! All of my coding staff is strongly encouraged to have (or be working on) an Associate's degree. If you run your own business, a business degree is highly recommended.

    I hope this is helpful. Best of luck to you.
    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

  3. Default
    Thanks for the reply
    I already have a BA but it was obtained a while back
    Any other tips you, or anyone has for me would be greatly appreciated
    Again thanks for the reply.....

  4. #4
    Default Well stated!
    Quote Originally Posted by Pam Brooks View Post
    I wish you good luck on your exam. I think you definitely have an advantage over most other new coders.

    Use your insurance experience to it's fullest extent. Most payers hire coders, and I would take advantage of this in order to get some hands-on coding experience. It might be easier to start out by "going back", so to speak. Insurance experience will be extremely helpful for your long-term goals, particularly if you wish to work independently.

    Once you have a year or two of coding experience, you'll be in a better place to secure employment within a health care facility, but as you send out your resumes in October, I'd still apply at medical facilities and mention your insurance experience. In other words, don't limit yourself. There's no 'right' way to get into coding, and many of us didn't necessarily take a direct approach.

    If you wish to work independently, and/or have your own business, you'll need several years of experience in multiple specialties. I think one of the misconceptions of new coders is that that once you've taken the community college courses and passed your CPC, you are now qualified to code anywhere and for anyone. You could work towards that goal by positioning yourself in a multi-specialty practice or a hospital-owned physician group, and plan to spend some time learning all you can.

    If you do decide to teach, consult or code remotely someday, it might be helpful to get an undergraduate degree (or at least some courses) in education or business, with a focus on teaching adults. In order to be a successful teacher, you must know your subject matter inside and out, so it will be important to have a solid understanding of, and then always stay up on the many changes in CPT, ICD-9 (and 10), CMS and with the commercial payers both locally and nationwide.

    Another misconception about coding is that a degree is not required. I can tell you that my facility has raised the bar significantly over the past few years, and it won't be long before a degree is a pre-requisite. My job requires a BS or BA, and there are days when I wish I had a law degree! All of my coding staff is strongly encouraged to have (or be working on) an Associate's degree. If you run your own business, a business degree is highly recommended.

    I hope this is helpful. Best of luck to you.
    I enjoy reading your advice to other coders Pam. I agree with what you've said. I've always been on the billing side of things myself prior to becoming certified in 2005. I enjoyed the e/m part of coding. I just got to the point about a month ago when I finally decided I'm a bit burnt out of the doctors office side.... I am venturing out on Monday to start a new job doing e/m coding & compliance.

    I am looking forward to the new challenges this will bring me I know I am also going to have to code some procedures from time to time and thats where I am lacking a bit in my coding skills since I was always in an IM or FP office for the past 15 years....
    Roxanne Thames CPC, CPC-I, CEMC
    rthamescpci@gmail.com


    "Remember the greatest gift is not found in the store but in the heart of true friends"

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