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I have a question....

  1. Default I have a question....
    Medical Coding Books
    I am a sonographer with 12 years in the field. Before I went to ultrasound school I was a CNA and before that I worked as a receptionist in a Dr.'s office. I just recently passed my CPC exam and applied for a job in a medical records department and was told that I didn't meet the criteria. I have to say that I was surprised not to even get an interview because anyone working in the medical field should realize I have a very extensive knowledge of anatomy, terminology, and every section of a patient chart imaginable. I know I don't have the coding experience but I have been made familiar with the importance of correct coding during my ultrasound career, but with all my other experience am I still considered entry level?

    Thank You to anyone who answers

  2. #2
    Columbia, MO
    If this was a hospital medical records department it may be that they want the CCS or CPC-H certification, you might see if this is the case. Most faclities I have worked in have this rule.

    Debra A. Mitchell, MSPH, CPC-H

  3. Default
    It was a large clinic here in central Florida, not a hospital and didn't require those certifications. I was pretty stumped, lol. Thank you very much for replying!

  4. #4
    They usually want some actual coding experience, because it's usually much more difficult than the CPC exam preparation material would have you believe. True, you're at a great advantage given your extensive knowledge of diseases, procedures, and anatomy and physiology; all of which contribute to your ability to decipher records much more easily than healthcare-newbies who have to research unfamiliar terms to get an idea of what they're reading (like me ). You're also familiar with acronyms, and you may have even had years of practice decoding chicken-scratch handwriting.

    All things considered, coding medical records and practicing medicine are two different animals - in practicing medicine, you evaluate the information, develop a hypothesis based on your knowledge, and then develop and carry out a plan of treatment. Coders, on the other hand, break down records using a (sometimes convoluted) set of seemingly arbitrary rules, to reduce the doctor's work to a few numbers, which must be accurately selected from several similar options. One makes complicated medical decisions, while the other pinpoints the technically "perfect" description of those decisions, by applying stringent guidelines to vague code descriptions. I'm in no way trying to detract from the difficulty of being a doctor - my point is just that coding is more difficult than it appears on its surface; if a doctor screws up royally, someone could potentially die, and if a coder screws up royally, it could potentially kill a practice. For that reason, both have to have some real-world practice. There's just no residency period for coding.

    If you keep hitting dead-ends with getting a coding job, try asking for just an internship, or see if you can get into the claim appeals department. It's kind of a back-door way to get some coding experience, and also gets you familiar with payer policies, which will really give you an advantage on your resume when you re-apply for a coding position later on. You'll make an excellent coder; don't give up on getting a chance to prove it.

  5. #5
    Sarasota FL
    Default I have a question...
    Was it actually a coding job in the medical records department or was it more of a health information job? If it was the latter then they may have wanted you to have some sort of HI certification. I too have a medical background and applied for a coding job without having any coding experience. All I had was completion of a (poor) online coding course, after which I self-taught and gained my CCA certification. I got the job, I think because of my 25 years background experience plus my enthusiasm and convincing them I could do the job. I've been there 2 years now and love it, due in no small part to the wonderful work colleagues I have. Any of us can ask the most stupid question and get a helpful reply without feeling totally silly.
    The job I have is also in Florida, but bizarrely, when we advertised another job 18 months ago we got little response and took on a non-certified coder in the end. I know so many certified coders are desperately seeking that one job that will get them started but for some reason, certain areas of Florida just don't seem to have the right people applying. It could be due to the relatively low pay-rate which companies offer. I went in on a really low rate which has increased by 50% in the 2 years I've worked. I know I could earn more elsewhere but I love my job.
    Don't get too disheartened. Register with Monster, and any other online job agencies (specifying your preferred location) ......that's how I got my job, and keep fine-tuning your resume(don't make it long-winded though, employers will get bored reading it and consign it to the trash). Put together a concise but interesting cover letter.
    Good luck. With your background something will come along.

  6. Default
    Thank You both so very much! I've started reconstructing my resume and will be keeping all of your advice in mind while doing so. I will certainly go to those websites and post my resume and make a list of clinics and hospitals within reasonable driving distance and go there to hopefully be able to drop one off face to face. Thank you again!

  7. #7
    No problem - and I'm serious about the claim appeals/follow up department - that's how I got started and I loved it. Instead of coding exclusively, you code to build a defense against insurance denials, and that really puts your knowledge and persuasive skills to the test (I enjoy the debate - especially when I win! ). It's where I became interested in becoming an auditor as well. Once you're on the back end (especially for a group practice), you start to really see the patterns of denials that indicate areas in the records and coding processes that need improvement, and you can be instrumental in fixing the problems.

    As wassock mentioned, don't let the starting pay rate scare you off from some positions. This is the one field where skill and hard work directly translate into higher pay, and fast. I'm now making almost double what I started out making 3 years ago - my pay had increased by almost 50% before I ever got my CPMA and recent promotion. It's just not cost effective for employers in some markets to have a high starting pay rate for coding and billing staff, due to turnover caused by people not being prepared for what the job entails. Once you show that you can make them some serious money (or keep them from losing it), your compensation should follow suit. Good luck! And also, try I hear that it's a great networking resource.

  8. Default
    I sure will and auditing interests me also. I'm making notes on the different verbage used also when applying for a job. Seems like every place has a different name for the position. I'll check Linkedin out too

  9. #9
    Spring Hill
    consider a professional resume writer i did and had interview four days. they include different formats of resume cover letter job hints and job posting.

  10. Default
    Thank You Aimie!!

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