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Demand for medical coders?

  1. Question Demand for medical coders?
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    The following paragraph appears on the letter I received with my CPC certification:
    "The demand for medical coders is increasing nationally by approximately 10,000
    employees each year and is projected to increase 36 percent or more through the
    year 2010. Nationally, 18 percent of all medical coding positions go unfilled, according
    to the U.S. Department of Labor."
    Does anyone else find this statement a little hard to swallow? There seems to be enough of us on this forum trying to find work, that we should be able to make a serious dent in that 10,000 employee need and completely erase the 18 percent shortage of coders! I can attest that there are zero unfilled positions in central Virginia. I would be happy to start out as a receptionist, keyer,or whatever, but I cannot even get my foot that far in any doors around here. Would you believe I have been advised that, had I stayed in school and received a diploma as a coder, that my school would have guaranteed me a coding job within 90 days of graduation? It seems to be all in knowing how to "network." If that's true, why do I need to be certified, pay annual dues or accumulate CEUs? Any ideas on how to "network"?

  2. Default Lots of coders and lots of jobs seems perfect
    I, too am amazed at the number of jobs posted. What school guarantees a coding job?
    I'm just finishing schooling and my 'alma mater' offers assistance, but no guarantees. I would gladly transfer to one that can!!!!.

  3. #3
    Louisville, KY
    Although I understand your frustration with the job market, please look to the future.

    As RACs and similar programs increase the scrutiny on medical claims for payment, I suspect coders will be more readily pursued--certified ones to be specific. Although I live and work in an urban environment, I'm sometimes amazed at the number of providers in the area who do not employ certified coding professionals; instead, they rely on CMAs, clerical staff, etc to support their coding. How these providers have managed to continue this practice is beyond me--as almost any place I have worked has promoted certification in its coding staff. The current atmosphere in healthcare will not permit these providers and their practices to maintain second-rate coding and billing much longer. Those practices without certified coders will have limited options: outsourcing billing and coding functions, continue to accrue financial penalties, combine their practices with competitors, attempt to certify existing staff or seek and hire already certified coders.

    As with any career or trade, coding may require novices to leave their geographic area and move outside that immediate area. This is unfortunate, but I see that in a variety of healthcare occupations. You're right to pursue a "foot in the door approach". In the meantime, expand your skills and education; try to find a way of making your skills desirable to employers. I'd advise you to look into what coding vacancies require and then pursue gaining those qualifications yourself. Attend local chapter meetings and discuss your situation with Officers there; network and keep a positive attitude.

    Be sure that your quest for employment stays positive--this demonstrates how you will work under pressure and in dynamic situations. If you can, volunteer your time with helping others or on committees at your local chapter level.

    Good luck to you and know that the expectations payers are putting on providers, hospitals and other health care organizations can be of benefit to your career. Mold yourself into a marketable coder.

  4. #4
    I am currently going through a mid-life career change and am about to start my final quarter at the local community college. I have previously owned my own businesses and worked in sales and sales management. Let's just say I would not have decided to study to become a medical coder without reasonable expectations of being able to get a job.

    It's all about the networking.

    Most positions are not filled because of someone seeing an ad in the paper or a posting on Monster. They are usually filled internally or because someone has been recommended.

    Most people don't know how to network properly. It's not about who you know, but who your friends know. With your background as an RN, you are probably more connected than you realize. One of the best websites for leveraging your personal network with your network's network is LinkedIn.

    For what it's worth, I did a search on LinkedIn for coding positions in your area and a position was posted 5 days ago for a certified coder at Riverside in Newport News.

  5. #5
    Stuart Sailfish Chapter
    Kevin, I wanted to thank you for your post. I know how hard it can be, persistence and the willing to give it your all with positivity is crucial. I started out filing medical records for a local physicians office 10 years ago, the passion to learn and the drive to keep learning landed me in the "hot seat" sitting for my CPC exam in 2004.

    I couldnt have been prouder of myself. I believe if you are "true blue" than you accomplish anything you set your mind too. Including landing that perfect position.

    Good luck to all of you and keep Reaching for the Top!
    Candice Fenildo, CPC, CPMA, CPC-I, CPB, CENTC, CRHC, AAPC Fellow
    Director of Operations
    Ear, Nose and Throat Associates of South Florida, PA

    "Nothing is stronger than the heart of a volunteer"

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