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Employment Testing

  1. #1
    Default Employment Testing
    Medical Coding Books
    Good Evening. I have a question that I personally I have not seen posted. Yet, I feel the need
    to ask this question.
    Why is it becoming the standard for employers to test coders and auditors prior to being hired?
    If we are already certified, have the qualified years of experience asked for the position. Further more,
    if you hold sub-specialty credentials, why are we still asked to be tested?
    Why should we continue to get certified? Pay for our CEU's that get continuously more expensive by the year?
    Yet, we are being tested by our own peers? Some who have less credentials and years of experience.
    I understand that there should be a level of experience. But, I am not sure why we are credentialed if it is not
    enough to be hired.

  2. #2
    Thumbs up agree
    amen. I would like to know thoughts of employers.

  3. #3
    Location
    30204 Lewes
    Posts
    11
    Default
    I test applicants because of being burned in the past by people who stated they were experienced coders and billers on their resumes, and after being hired, proved to be very poor coders/billers. However, if they had credentials , I would only need to verify that was a current credential & I would not test that applicant.

  4. #4
    Location
    Columbia, MO
    Posts
    12,531
    Default
    I have tested certified coders and they could not pass a simple coding test. They complained that it was not multiple choice. I have found it is a very good thing to test applicants regardless of certified or non certified status. Sometimes certified codes coders lern just enought to pass the test, then they may work in a setting where they only perfrom data entry from a superbill. When I hired a coder I wanted someone that could extract the codes from the documentation and correctly apply modifiers. I think pre employment testing is essential.

    Debra A. Mitchell, MSPH, CPC-H

  5. #5
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,101
    Default
    I hate talking out of both sides of my mouth, so let me apologize. Perhaps I should begin by saying, I understand the justification for testing, but do not support its present form.

    To add to what others have seen, there are certified coders who have pigeon-holed themselves into a specific setting, for example Urology. That was their only job duty and probably the focus of their continuing education efforts. Other skills, outside that specialty, may have been neglected and resultantly, the coder is no longer proficient in those other areas. This is a simple example. Another I can think of is a coder who got certified, but has no practical experience and applies for a high-level coding job--the exam may be completely out of reach because this type of coder has not developed the professional skill set to be employed in that setting.

    Another problem I see is that coders certified in one area believe their credentials to be universal. This is where you'll see CPC-Hs applying for physician office jobs. When the credential does not match the setting, coders are asking to be tested or screened. There are very few certifications that allow you to work in any setting (I can think of two). Regardless, I do not believe credentials are indicators of a coder's capability--let me be clear. Professional diversity is badly needed in HIM hospital departments, especially in outpatient coding (but that is another story for another post).

    With all that being said, the industry has gone crazy with "screening tests". These tools will be outdated; the answers are sometimes viewed as absolute, when we all know coding can at times be highly subjective. Employers will allow recruiters and people without any sense of coding administer these tests and then never follow-up with the test taker. In my opinion, employers should want to attract coders to their organization, not run them off and create a sense of exclusivity. However, I am obviously not hiring at these places.

    If I were to create some sort of screening test for potential workers, it would help to cull out those who are not qualified for that type of coding; but I would be more impressed by a coder who challenged the test than ones who guessed their way through or even got a very high or perfect score. It's a shame that we've created both of these HR issues. It's also up to us (professional coders) to fix them.

  6. Default to be certified or not?
    I am educated in medical coding, my aspiration was to find work I could do at home, but I am finding out that the ads for work at home doing medical coding are very misleading, if not outright dishonest! I have no practical experience, except the short internship I did as part of my classes. I have taken the certification exam 3 times, going to take it again in Nov. But I have decided is I don't pass this time, I am just going to seek employment in a medical office. But what positions should I pursue that could work into getting medical coding experience. I have a good mind for this career, it has been much more of a challenge to break into than I had ever imagined. is there any On the Job Training available? I am qualified for subsidy through the state of MO for that. In my estimation of the shortage of coders, (or is that a fallacy too?) why is it so difficult to find an entry level position? Or do entry level positions even exist in Coding? I understand the reason for accuracy and speed, but it seems to be a catch 22, no experience no job, no job = no experience. How do I get experience?
    I entered this journey to upgrade from general clerical work, and the more I learned the more I enjoyed it. I love Biology and English in school and this seemed to be an excellent match for the two.
    Does anyone have any tips on where I should go from here?

  7. #7
    Default
    Thank you all for your responses.
    Kevin, you are absolutely correct in what you are saying. I cannot agree more with everything that you have said.
    I can understand that there are companies that have been burned by coders that are certified and do not measure up to what they say they can
    do when they are hired. Shame on those individuals that have done that to this industry. But in what other field do individuals that are certified or licensed
    have to take a test prior to being hired? Once you are licensed RN you do not have to take a pre-test to work. MA, Police officer, etc. This is a silly practice that
    we have allowed to happen.
    My advice to employers, look at the years of experience on our resumes. Look at our credentials. If I was able to pass my CPC and all of the other subspecialty
    exams behind my name. Then I am qualified. Testing me, and everyone else; is degrading each test that we all have taken.
    What is very sad, is this industry has a large amount of work being taken over seas? This industry needs leadership to stay strong. To work together. The future of HIM
    is going in multiple different directions. So many people I know are leaving this industry in order to find something more stable.

  8. #8
    Default To Dirwin
    Outside of all of this crazy stuff!
    When I didn't work from home. I worked for a large multi-speciality group. I had students from the local college come in all of the time to finish there hours. (It was a the Medical coder/biller program)
    Are you doing this type of schooling?
    My advice and opinion is this:
    What type of coding do you want to do? Office or hospital
    They are very different types of coding. Once you know what you would like to do. Then concenetrate on being in an office type setting for a year. If you can find an office that does surgical, office and ancillary then you are good to go. Sit with their coder for this time frame. THEN, test yourself. After they have been coded. Take a stack. Try to code them. This is the best way to start to learn. Take out the ones that are not correct. Look it up in your CPT book and ICD-9 book. Get a good medical dictonary. Learn from your mistakes. Get a good notebook. Write down if you make a repeat mistake and flag it next to that code. I promise you won't do it again. It is just like a CPT reminder.
    2.)If you have local meetings in your town. Try to attend a couple. You can get a local idea of what companies may let you come shadow people. This is another way of getting a second look at another specialty.
    I was very very lucky and had a lot of specialties from the start.
    If you LOVE what you are doing now. Then don't give up. Just go in prepared. With a lot of knowledge. Although one thinks that speed in the exam is key. You will find that it is knowledge of the book, anatomy and experience that gets you through.
    There are so many practice exams that you can take online. Start to take those.
    If you have an office that will let you shadow them in office procedures. That will also help you understand procedures as well.
    Personally I do auditing, which is my passion. But, I do it because I want to help physicians be able to practice medicine. Help patients like they should be able to. Not worry about counting points. You just have to find what you really want to do.

  9. Post
    Quote Originally Posted by talamorej1977 View Post
    Thank you all for your responses.
    Kevin, you are absolutely correct in what you are saying. I cannot agree more with everything that you have said.
    I can understand that there are companies that have been burned by coders that are certified and do not measure up to what they say they can
    do when they are hired. Shame on those individuals that have done that to this industry. But in what other field do individuals that are certified or licensed
    have to take a test prior to being hired? Once you are licensed RN you do not have to take a pre-test to work. MA, Police officer, etc. This is a silly practice that
    we have allowed to happen.
    My advice to employers, look at the years of experience on our resumes. Look at our credentials. If I was able to pass my CPC and all of the other subspecialty
    exams behind my name. Then I am qualified. Testing me, and everyone else; is degrading each test that we all have taken.
    What is very sad, is this industry has a large amount of work being taken over seas? This industry needs leadership to stay strong. To work together. The future of HIM
    is going in multiple different directions. So many people I know are leaving this industry in order to find something more stable.
    I agree, it is getting really crazy with all the testing that is needed to get a job. I agree if you have your credentials and the years experience it is degrading to have to test to get a position. I am seriously thinking about starting my own coding business just for that reason. I like the business, but it seems companies are making unreasonable demands on seasoned coders. I also don't appreciate the test that AAPC is going to make available to companies so we have to take one more test. This certification thing seems like a whip out.

  10. #10
    Default
    I agree. I had NO idea that the AAPC was going to launch a test for us to take for employers. I posted this based on other issues.
    However, when I saw the email today that they were going to set up a site for us to test for employers. Well, what does it say for
    the AAPC when they are testing us for employers?
    I am REALLY not happy about this.

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