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Letter to the President of AAPC

  1. #1
    Upper Saddle River, NJ
    Default Letter to the President of AAPC
    Medical Coding Books
    Dear Mr. Pew:

    I am a legal secretary who has been in search of a new career. For the past 28 months, I have completed AHIMA's Coding Basics Program, passed the CCA, CPC and CPC-H and presently preparing for the CCS-P. I also sit on the AHIMA Advisory Board for the Coding Basics Program.

    I am horrified at all of the negative postings (just a few are attached below) from the AAPC website and other sites describing how newly-credentialed coders CAN'T get even an INTERNSHIP not to mention a paying JOB. I am writing to you to ask you how AAPC intends to rectify this situation.

    Have you ever contacted any of the facilities that are in the AAPC Externship Program ? Why are there only a handful of participating facilities in major metropolitan areas? When one contacts them, the standard response is "we are not in the externship program anymore".

    Does AAPC realize that IF they strengthened their Externship Program and Job Placement Service that their revenues would skyrocket ? I was interested in taking the AAPC CPC-H course for $1295 back in March. I decided against it and trained myself for the exam and passed. AAPC is offering a great product right now - 1/2 year of Webinars for $395 - as much as I would like to purchase it - I REFUSE TO SPEND ANYMORE MONEY on Coding until AAPC provides a resolution to this situation.

    I feel that AAPC owes an explanation to all of its members as to how they are going to help those of us who have spent thousands of dollars and countless hours in preparing for a career in medical coding.

    Respectfully Submitted,

    Attached Files Attached Files

  2. #2
    Dover Seacoast New Hampshire
    ehines....I applaud your initiative in writing this letter, and I sincerely do sympathize in regards to all CPC-As who are unable to find work or even an externship. The problem is multifaceted, however the AAPC did market the idea of Project Extern....with the hope that facilities and practices would take advantage of 'free' employees. Unfortunately, this did not happen, and let me tell you why. I did consider becoming a Project Externship site. I work for a 150+ bed community hospital, with an affiliated physican practice, but the human resources logistics involved in having non-employed volunteers present to work in the very sensitive medical information area was more than I was willing to undertake. Not only that, but with the advent of electronic medical records, I have very few entry-level positions or work available. That was my choice, and my facility's choice--not the AAPC's fault. Although heartfelt, your letter is misguided. To my knowledge, the AAPC is not obligated to find any of its members any job, opportunity or externship. Does the AMA place physicians in jobs? The American Nurses Association? How about the State they place attorneys in legal practices? I'm curious, because I don't believe any association is going to recommend just any unknown member for a job or any other professional opportunity as a courtesy. Finding a job is YOUR job. And typically externships are part of a college education. If your college or career school could not find you an externship, that's not the AAPC's fault. That's your fault, for not questioning your school about placement rates. I'm tired of the finger pointing that's going on, and very discouraged at the level of unprofessionalism shown by some of these angry posts. Play the blame game somewhere else, please, but leave this board for those of us who are hoping to learn, network and brainstorm.

    Did you check with AHIMA to see if they find opportunities for coders? I'm not aware that they do. I certainly hope this isn't an AHIMA attack on AAPC. Both credentials have merit; it would be unprofessional of any of us to discredit the other.

    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. #3
    Mobile, Alabama
    I totally agree with Pam Brooks. I worked in the medical field starting as a file clerk and have worked my way up to Business Manager in the past ten years. I went to college at night while working full time to obtain my degree in HIT. After graduating, I decided to go further and obtained my CPC. My college nor AAPC put me in my position today. I earned it.

    It is nothing against new students who are interested in obtaining their CPC with no medical experience. However; facts will show that an employer will hire someone with prior experience over someone who just obtained the certification and no experience.

  4. #4
    Charleston, South Carolina
    Very well said Pam!! If you are considering a career in coding, do your homework!! Your research, or lack of, is on you, NOT the AAPC!! Besides that, when would the AAPC have time to contact every facility in the country to see if they would participate in the extern program? Maybe you could do some research and meet with the facility you are looking at to show them why having an extern would be a win-win situation for them. Take the initiative!!
    Last edited by mmorningstarcpc; 08-01-2011 at 12:31 PM.
    Machelle Morningstar, CPC, COC, CEMC, COSC
    AHIMA Approved ICD-10-CM/PCS Trainer

  5. #5
    Hi ehines,
    Correct me if I am wrong, but it seems your frustrations are directed towards the credential. You are correct, the AHIMA does not assign the A, for apprentice like the AAPC, which is a concern for many professionals and potential coders that I come in contact with; however, that is AAPC's requirements. I always advise those who ask me to obtain the CCS-P from the AHIMA in place of the AAPC's CPC-A, but the experience will still need to be obtained. The AHIMA recommends at least three years experience prior to testing for the CCS-P, but it is not a requirement, which works out better for some. I completely understand where you are coming from-- you took the exact same test as a CPC, but received a lesser credential. The best advice I could give is to continue to be tenacious--with a good attitude, of course and express your concerns to the AAPC as you have taken the initiative to do. Do not allow anyone on this forum or in the real world to discourage you with negative comments--the AAPC can defend itself they don't the members to do so.

    Enjoy your career and all the best on the CCS-P,

    Shandell Williams
    Last edited by shandellw; 08-01-2011 at 12:56 PM.

  6. #6
    I agree that it is not the AAPC's fault that some newly credentialed coders are experiencing difficulty finding a job. I have 20 years in the coding/billing field but after relocating, I have been struggling for a year in an attempt to secure ANY job in the medical field (and I am certified). It's a jungle out there but I refuse to blame the AAPC. I am on their website daily searching for leads and grateful for this great resource.

    Most of us that have been in this field as long as I have started at the bottom and worked up. ALSO, those of you looking for employment need to post your search under the correct forum AND double check your grammar and spelling.

  7. #7
    Columbia, MO
    I agree with Pam all the way! Why is it necessary to badmouth the AAPC or for that matter pit the AHIMA against the AAPC to see whose dog is bigger. It is extremely unprofessional. The members defend the AAPC because we are members, and we believe in what we do and have the highest respect for the organization and each other.
    As far as finding a job. Many times it appears that newly certified coders set their sights too high and want a coders job right away. This is not realistic if you have no experience in the medical field. I tell everyone interested in coding to get a job at a hospital, and that is any job, be a unit clerk or a secretary or aide. You need to be in the industry because every position offers you a unique perspective into the industry. The best hospital administrator I worked for started his carreer as a house orderly. I started as a unit secretary.
    But I agree with Pam it is not the AAPCs fault that you cannot get a job. You may need to settle for something less that the ideal to get your foot in the door.
    Personally I have never regretted my membership with the AAPC and grow to respect the association more every day.

    Debra A. Mitchell, MSPH, CPC-H

  8. #8
    Dear Morningstar,
    "If you are considering a career in coding, do your homework!! Your research, or lack of, is on you, NOT the AAPC!!" Everybody knows how difficult it is to obtain certification. Let's welcome EHines who passed multiple certifications coming from a non-medical background.

    May we all work together on these boards to help each other find coding experience/ jobs.

  9. #9
    "but the human resources logistics involved in having non-employed volunteers present to work in the very sensitive medical information area was more than I was willing to undertake"
    Many students, volunteers, and business associates work in medical establishments throughout the United States and sign Confidentiality Forms. HR may have tried to make it difficult if your organization is a union shop. Work cannot be taken away from a union employee and given to a volunteer or a consultant.

  10. #10
    EHines was simply giving a voice to the "elephant in the room" - all the people that have been crying on these boards. There is no mention that EHines cannot find a job or of pitting AHIMA and AAPC against each other.

    Let's work together to come up with a resolution.

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