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Frustrated new CPC-A asking for advice

  1. #11
    Default
    Medical Coding Books
    Quote Originally Posted by wassock View Post
    I fully empathise and understand your frustration. A lot will depend on where you are located though. We advertised for a certified coder (a company requirement is that all new-hires are certified). It is a full time position with benefits and we got one applicant. I guess low wages in Florida may be part of the reason.
    Oh, but we get paid in sunshine.

  2. #12
    Location
    Stuart, Florida
    Posts
    331
    Default
    Yeah, I see some of the certified coder wages in other states and I'm like DAMN. I get paid like a little over half as much, lol. I have got to say, though, I LOVE my job. I am really happy and comfortable working where I work. One good thing that I can say is, although we may not get the high wages down here, we do get some nice bonuses and benefits (at least that's how it is at the company that I work for). I make a comfortable living. I'm able to pay all my bills and still have money for play. Plus, we don't have to worry about shoveling the snow out of our driveways so that we can drive to work on the icey roads!

    Anyway, I agree that location can definitely be a factor if you live in an undeveloped area. Down here, in South Florida, there are doctors' offices EVERYWHERE. I find it really hard to believe that people have difficulty finding work down here, IF THEY ARE CERTIFIED.

    One thing that I wanted to add to this thread, which I have said in previous threads, is that a lot of you rely way too much on the internet for your job searching. You guys need to get out there and walk into these different offices/clinics/hospitals etc. Do it the old fashioned way. Dress up professionally, put on your big boy/girl pants, watch your speech, try to sound educated and don't use a bunch of slang, have professional looking resumes in hand and hit the pavement! Putting a face to the resume REALLY helps. Believe me, I see it all the time. You never know what's behind the computer screen. Coming in and speaking to the administrator gives you the opportunity to make a good first impression. You need to open up opportunities to stand out of the crowd for yourselves!

    To those of you determined to succeed, good luck. Keep going and you WILL get there!
    Vanessa Mier, CPC

  3. Default "... a lot of you rely way too much on the internet for your job searching"
    I'm a "newbie"... coding-wise (I'm middle-aged, laid-off, career-switcher) and I am in the same situation others have described...and I AGREE with you...up to a point.

    I did my homework before jumping in and noticed the "Catch-22" certification/experience thing back in 2009.

    This is how it goes now...(at least in the NYC area).

    The trouble/frustrating thing is that no matter what you do, you [U]will be referred to the Internet...even when you're standing in the HR DEPT talking to a live person! You see, nowadays, the HR dept is for people who already work there! Hiring? See our Corporate Office...(situated way away from the hospital). In NYC, almost all of the hospitals are under the "umbrella" of 3 or 4 corporate entities...apply at one, and you've applied at all their affiliated hospitals...however, (catch-22!!) entry level is first offered to "insiders", after that, now you have a chance.

    One huge hospital wouldn't let me set foot (literally) on the campus.. ("Are you a nurse?" "No" "Our website is...").

    Another University teaching hospital says on its employment page:
    Walk-ins, M-F...blah, blah...and when you get there (doing all the correct things, and being quite presentable) they ask you why you are here (and you tell them) and they give you a flier for the website. Seeing the stunned look, they say "Oh, I'll take a resume if you have it".

    That's when you know you've hit purgatory.

    That's why it sounds like "whining" (yes, some posters are whining and believe the internet is everything) but that's what we face and I know the "pull yourself up by the bootstraps" thing...all I saying is, what worked for you, then, pre-2009, is a whole new animal now.

  4. #14
    Default
    Quote Originally Posted by tnypow View Post

    One huge hospital wouldn't let me set foot (literally) on the campus.. ("Are you a nurse?" "No" "Our website is...").

    Another University teaching hospital says on its employment page:
    Walk-ins, M-F...blah, blah...and when you get there (doing all the correct things, and being quite presentable) they ask you why you are here (and you tell them) and they give you a flier for the website. Seeing the stunned look, they say "Oh, I'll take a resume if you have it".

    That's when you know you've hit purgatory.
    Your post reminded me of the April 2011 Reader's Digest Article: Get Hired, Not Fired! 50 Secrets Your HR Person Won't Tell You
    Last edited by Mojo; 03-23-2011 at 05:51 PM.

  5. #15
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,101
    Default
    I am going out on a limb here. The last time that I offered what was evidence-based advice for job seekers on this forum, I was dismissed because my current and recent roles have all been coding.

    Hospitals are one of the more traditional work environments for coders. That does not mean they are the only source of employment, not that they are biggest employers of coders. The same applies for physician practices. It's obvious, all of your classmates are also looking for jobs there. Look at non-traditional jobs, markets and avenues.

    Consider dental offices. Although dental coding is a specialty all its own, those folks want to make money and follow payer rules. I imagine they'd find a coder's knowledge beneficial.

    Check out DME suppliers and providers. DME can be some of the most specific coding and billing work available, so the challenge is there for seekers.

    Pharmaceutical care companies. Drugs are big business in the US health care system and reimbursement is key to keeping it that way. Even though a job of this sort may not be traditional "coding", the billing, pre-auth and related administrative functions align nicely with reimbursement experience (which translates into billing or coding experience).

    Health IT/management systems companies are also a great opportunity. Some of these companies offer varied positions, salaries and products, most of which map back to a coding or billing or patient accounting function in some way.

    Home health care; I have a colleauge who "grew up" in home health. This is another challenging role. Although many agencies employ a multitude of nurses, they also have billers, coders, HIM specialists and reimbursement professionals to deal with purely administrative functions that keep the doors open and patients being served.

    Assisted living and/or skilled nursing facilities. I have never figured out why this is such an underserved area for coding and HIM staff. There just simply aren't a lot of visible folks on the long-term care side of the house, although they're most likely desperately needed.

    Medical staffing organizations can open doors. Although typically you are going to see better response to very well experienced and very well credentialed coders, the openings outside coding may not be as highly competitive and can certainly lead to better assignments or job offers.

    Rehabilitation services are typically stand-alone ambulatory care where patients come to receive physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech pathology services and related services. They also utilize administrative staff to carry out a variety of functions. Remember, the key is probably not to expect to become a coder overnight so much as it is to find opportunities that lead you in that direction.

    Physician offices and hospitals frequently use laboratory services. The specimens are sent out, tests completed and results communicated back to the providers. These labs have to get paid someway, which indicates they likely have a billing department or service with whom they contract. Great place to consider that's off the beaten path a bit.

    Insurance companies and their partners utilize professional coders in a vast array of positions. Certified coders are well qualified to work through out that segment of the industry, but I rarely hear coders intentionally seeking those experiences. Having spent time on the payer side, I believe it is extremely valuable and opens multiple opportunities for growth.

    Although personally I believe dialysis is some of the more complicated outpatient coding, there are normally plenty of centers providing this type of care in most moderate-sized cities. Again, they likely have a billing unit or business office that needs hard workers.

    Ambulance services generally have some administrative personell and a certified coder should look desirable to these organizations.

    Worker's comp, auto, life, cancer and disability insurance carriers. Again, they are non-traditional, but have an established need for folks with an ability to decipher patient records, look over bills and make payment recommendations.

    Hospice can provide a rewarding career. Most communities have at least one type of hospice care. This is an opportunity that many nurses seek out, so why shouldn't coders follow?

    Don't forget about blood bank services, American Red Cross and similar entities. They have behind-the-scene clerical staff that handle billing, scheduling, reimbursement and other business matters.

    Health departments are another option. Generally with health departments, any coding for services would mimic that found in most primary care environments. However, they may be additional, non-traditional roles that a coder can perform, related to disease tracking, research assisting and many more.

    These are a few of the "out of the box" settings that might help some of you to find your way. I wish you each the best of luck. While I admit that my career budded before the current job market, I would willingly consider some of these avenues as a replacement for the position I have now.
    Last edited by kevbshields; 03-23-2011 at 06:36 PM.

  6. Default
    I just read it (What HR People Won't Tell You About Your Resume)...now that's practical advice a person can use nowdays.

    "10. “Résumés don’t need color to stand out. When I see a little color, I smirk. And when I see a ton of color, I cringe. And walking in and dropping off your resume is no longer seen as a good thing. It’s actually a little creepy.” –Rich DeMatteo"

    See?
    Last edited by tnypow; 03-24-2011 at 08:40 AM.

  7. #17
    Location
    Stuart, Florida
    Posts
    331
    Default
    Quote Originally Posted by tnypow View Post
    I just read it (What HR People Won't Tell You About Your Resume)...now that's practical advice a person can use nowdays.

    "10. “Résumés don't need color to stand out. When I see a little color, I smirk. And when I see a ton of color, I cringe. And walking in and dropping off your resume is no longer seen as a good thing. It's actually a little creepy.” –Rich DeMatteo"

    See?
    Don't take this article to heart. Think about the points made but don't take those points too seriously. The article is compiled by taking the PERSONAL OPINION of one HR person on a certain topic. It's not the general rule, just the rule if you're trying to get hired by Rich DeMatteo. In fact, #10 is directly contradicted by #3 which states "3. “If you're trying to get a job at a specific company, often the best thing to do is to avoid HR entirely. Find someone at the company you know, or go straight to the hiring manager.” –Shauna Moerke, an HR administrator in Alabama who blogs at hrminion.com"

    There are exceptions to every rule, plain and simple. Sure, there are hiring managers out there that do not like having a face to face interaction when someone is dropping off a resume but, as a general rule, most DO like the face to face so they know right away whether they should be wasting their time or not. You want to be the one to make that awesome first impression because you will be the resume that is set on top and looked at first. Otherwise, you will just be another piece of paper in the stack, or another email in the inbox, headed for the "recycle bin".

    When the administrator for my office receives a resume from a certified coder that makes a good first impression on her, she comes to me (since I'm the in-house coder here) right away with the resume so that I can pass it along to the head of my department (MRA) just in case we have another office that needs a coder placed. Otherwise, it usually finds it's way to the shredder bin.
    Vanessa Mier, CPC

  8. #18
    Location
    Stuart, Florida
    Posts
    331
    Default
    Quote Originally Posted by kevbshields View Post
    I am going out on a limb here. The last time that I offered what was evidence-based advice for job seekers on this forum, I was dismissed because my current and recent roles have all been coding.

    Hospitals are one of the more traditional work environments for coders. That does not mean they are the only source of employment, not that they are biggest employers of coders. The same applies for physician practices. It's obvious, all of your classmates are also looking for jobs there. Look at non-traditional jobs, markets and avenues.

    Consider dental offices. Although dental coding is a specialty all its own, those folks want to make money and follow payer rules. I imagine they'd find a coder's knowledge beneficial.

    Check out DME suppliers and providers. DME can be some of the most specific coding and billing work available, so the challenge is there for seekers.

    Pharmaceutical care companies. Drugs are big business in the US health care system and reimbursement is key to keeping it that way. Even though a job of this sort may not be traditional "coding", the billing, pre-auth and related administrative functions align nicely with reimbursement experience (which translates into billing or coding experience).

    Health IT/management systems companies are also a great opportunity. Some of these companies offer varied positions, salaries and products, most of which map back to a coding or billing or patient accounting function in some way.

    Home health care; I have a colleauge who "grew up" in home health. This is another challenging role. Although many agencies employ a multitude of nurses, they also have billers, coders, HIM specialists and reimbursement professionals to deal with purely administrative functions that keep the doors open and patients being served.

    Assisted living and/or skilled nursing facilities. I have never figured out why this is such an underserved area for coding and HIM staff. There just simply aren't a lot of visible folks on the long-term care side of the house, although they're most likely desperately needed.

    Medical staffing organizations can open doors. Although typically you are going to see better response to very well experienced and very well credentialed coders, the openings outside coding may not be as highly competitive and can certainly lead to better assignments or job offers.

    Rehabilitation services are typically stand-alone ambulatory care where patients come to receive physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech pathology services and related services. They also utilize administrative staff to carry out a variety of functions. Remember, the key is probably not to expect to become a coder overnight so much as it is to find opportunities that lead you in that direction.

    Physician offices and hospitals frequently use laboratory services. The specimens are sent out, tests completed and results communicated back to the providers. These labs have to get paid someway, which indicates they likely have a billing department or service with whom they contract. Great place to consider that's off the beaten path a bit.

    Insurance companies and their partners utilize professional coders in a vast array of positions. Certified coders are well qualified to work through out that segment of the industry, but I rarely hear coders intentionally seeking those experiences. Having spent time on the payer side, I believe it is extremely valuable and opens multiple opportunities for growth.

    Although personally I believe dialysis is some of the more complicated outpatient coding, there are normally plenty of centers providing this type of care in most moderate-sized cities. Again, they likely have a billing unit or business office that needs hard workers.

    Ambulance services generally have some administrative personell and a certified coder should look desirable to these organizations.

    Worker's comp, auto, life, cancer and disability insurance carriers. Again, they are non-traditional, but have an established need for folks with an ability to decipher patient records, look over bills and make payment recommendations.

    Hospice can provide a rewarding career. Most communities have at least one type of hospice care. This is an opportunity that many nurses seek out, so why shouldn't coders follow?

    Don't forget about blood bank services, American Red Cross and similar entities. They have behind-the-scene clerical staff that handle billing, scheduling, reimbursement and other business matters.

    Health departments are another option. Generally with health departments, any coding for services would mimic that found in most primary care environments. However, they may be additional, non-traditional roles that a coder can perform, related to disease tracking, research assisting and many more.

    These are a few of the "out of the box" settings that might help some of you to find your way. I wish you each the best of luck. While I admit that my career budded before the current job market, I would willingly consider some of these avenues as a replacement for the position I have now.
    Kevin,


    GREAT POST! So many people think so straight forward that they forget that there are more than two avenues to take their credentials. I think about it this way, you don't step out of law school and start your own firm. I mean, technically, I suppose it COULD be possible. VERY UNLIKELY, but nothing is impossible. We all have long term goals. Your long term goal may be working as a hospital coder but, with all good things, some dedication and hard work must be put into reaching your goals. That is why a lot of us that are already in the field talk all that "hype" about getting your foot in the door and networking. Chances are, you're not going to start out on top, but that doesn't mean you won't get there. You have to start whereever you can get your foot in the door and work your way up.
    Vanessa Mier, CPC

  9. #19
    Thumbs up Great post Kevin!
    Thank you for your contriubtion to this thread Kevin. Sage advice as always.
    You are such a great resource and it is my sincere hope that many of the newly certified members will take heed.

  10. Default It is glamorized to be something simple you can do
    Quote Originally Posted by mdunn View Post
    This all goes along with one of my previous posts about the coding market being flooded wtih new inexperience coders due to the education and testing being a little too easy. It is glamorized to be something simple you can do and get a high paying job. Boot camps and 6 week online courses are offered to people who have never seen a code and then they are given a multiple choice exam. The AAPC needs to take a closer look at the requirements for cpc certification. Keep an eye on the education offered and make the test more difficult. If people can go to a week bootcamp with no experience and obtain a certification, gee whiz, talk about difficult to get a job. The market is getting flooded with to many coders and pretty soon those of us with years of experience won't even be able to find jobs.
    I agree about the boot camps, but then again, there were people in my classes [a 2yr coding program] who would have found high school biology highly challenging, therefore, I think the CPC tests strike the proper easy/hard/are you paying attention balance.

    The "diploma mill" mentality is definitely contributing to a lot of the frustrations/attitudes I mentioned earlier. Mind you I'm not giving up folks, this is a good place to find out/get out that "Is everybody getting this? or Is it me" thing we all have when doing something new. That's why we share.

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