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Thread: Whinning new coders? I was shocked.

  1. #61
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Charlotte, NC


    AAPC: Back to School

    I don't think it's about feeling superior as coders. I think it's about people wanting us to get them jobs or get out of their way so they can have our jobs or waving the magic wands and making everything ok for them.

    I've worked in the medical office field for over 10 years now. I ran a medical office in an outpatient setting and now I simply code and bill for a fairly large private practice. If you look up my posts and the responses to them I think you'll find I am far from superior (both in replies and answers I've given) and many other "senior" coders are also. We all ask questions and look for answers and guidance on certain subjects.

    But the senior coders here are not the ones coming on and calling everyone to task for not having positions or jobs and are not pointing fingers at the AAPC for not having in/ex-ternships.

    We are asked the same questions and give the same advice repeatedly and that's ok. But now that advice is not acceptable anymore. They want us to do more. They want us to get them jobs.

    I know I'm not looking down at anyone for having less experience than I do. Like you said, everyone starts somewhere. I'm looking around (not down) at those that can't or won't accept reality and take responsibility for themselves and they're choices.

  2. #62
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Tacoma, WA


    Quote Originally Posted by Cyndi113 View Post

    Also contact Multicare (it is in Tacoma, however). I know that they were allowing externs and helping them with coding. However, this was 3 years ago and may have changed but it won't hurt to try it. I'll try and check with some friends who are still working there.
    I did my externship with Multicare in December, 2010. For the past couple of years it seems as though they have had a few openings for Coder I's.

    As of today there is 1 part time opening for a Coder I. Under minimum requirements it says, "New grads welcome." There was also a full time opening that they must have just filled since the last time I looked.
    L. Mark Kozu, COC, CPC, CCC

  3. #63


    Quote Originally Posted by Butler View Post
    I am the person who had started this particular thread and the word "whining" was taken as a direct quote from another thread that I had read on the AAPC web site. I have been able to find some of the posts I had read. I had started this thread because I was shocked at the direct quote and was looking for encouragement. I just wanted everyone to know. Below are three of the posts:

    __________________________________________________ ________________________________________________
    #168 * * *
    07-13-2010, 04:33 AM
    Pam Brooks
    Expert*Join Date: Apr 2007
    Location: Dover Seacoast New Hampshire
    Posts: 404

    Perhaps the whining will stop, and the board can be used for the purpose it was originally intended...to offer guidance and support to professional coders.

    Thanks for the kudos. I just felt that it had to be said. I'm off my soapbox now.
    Pam Brooks, PCS, CPC
    Physician Services Coding Supervisor
    Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
    Dover, NH 03820


    Pam Brooks
    Expert*Join Date: Apr 2007
    Location: Dover Seacoast New Hampshire
    Posts: 404

    As someone who has been in this business for 20+ years, and who is in the position to hire entry level coders, I really want to respond to this thread.

    First, I agree that it's frustrating to have spent time, money and effort, only to learn that the healthcare field is not waiting for you with open arms. But I want to ask each and every one of you who are not currently able to find work to look at this situation from my perspective, and then ask yourselves who is really responsible for all of this? Let me be as blunt and as polite as I possibly can. If I offend you, I apologize in advance.

    One post I read lamented that they had spent "3 whole months" learning this work, and felt ripped off because nobody would hire them. If anyone thinks that they can learn coding in three months, and expect any physician, facility, or billing agency to hire you with that "expansive" length of education, then you were sadly misinformed, or did not take the time to do the research, which is, by the way, a necessary skill required of all coders. The biggest trend I am seeing in this thread is that many of you didn't do your research. Before plunking down your money for your coding classes, did you call any hosptials, physicians or billing companies to see what they required for education and experience? Or did you rely on the advertisements and promises of the coding schools alone to convince you that this is a wide-open field? Had you called me (a coding supervisor for a hospital-owned multispecialty practice with 90+ physicians) I would have told you that I do not hire new graduates for staff coding positions, and that the EMR has eliminated the need for entry level coding assistants.

    I did recently have one entry-level position open up. I threw out several resumes for spelling and grammar errors. (hello....attention to detail??!!) Some applicants had schedule requirements that I couldn't meet, like they couldn't work on Tuesdays because they had to babysit the grandkid. One showed up in clothing that voilated our dress code. In the end, only four certified coders were in the running. I was shocked that only one could tell me the difference between CPT and ICD-9. You can see how this might be discouraging to an employer, because it tells me that not everyone is getting the best training, and not everyone wants to do all that they can to secure employment.

    According to the Coding Edge between April and July of this year, there were nearly 2100 new CPC-A's credentialled. I do not blame the AAPC, as many of you have. The AAPC is a for-profit company, dedicated to promoting and educating excellent coders, and they do a fantastic job. But why shouldn't they take take your money if you offer it up? They are not responsible for the job market, your resume content, your interveiw behavior, your lack of education or experience, your geographic region, or that you took a chance on this career and can't get a job. That is your responsibility. Threatening litigation on this website is career suicide; there isn't a coding manager on earth that would hire you now.

    Here's what I look for: Is your resume spotless? Are you? Look in the mirror, appearance does count, sorry. You'll be speaking with physicians and will wear a badge that identifies you as an employee, and we want you to be neatly and professionally presented. Skip the cigarette before the interview, I can smell it. Explain to me what it is about you that makes you someone that I want to hire. I can teach you to code, but I can't teach you to be motivated, organized, personable or smart. Figure out what kind of coder I need (surgery, E&M, rad, lab) and then brush up on those areas, because I'm going to test you. Ask me questions, don't just sit there!

    I once had an interview for a job that I really wanted, and did not get the job. I couldn't understand why...I thought the interview went extremely well. Later, I asked for feedback as to why I wasn't selected, and it was the most valuable career advice I have ever received. I made mistakes (unknowingly at the time) that were pointed out to me, and although it was difficult to hear, I never made those mistakes again. So if you don't get the job, find out why, because even though you don't want to hear this....it might be about you, and it might be something you can do differently next time with more favorable results.

    I apologize for the length of this post, but I hope that I was able to give a different perspective. The best advice I can give is to stay focused, accept any position within the healthcare field, avoid the bad attitudes, and keep trying.
    Pam Brooks, PCS, CPC
    Physician Services Coding Supervisor
    Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
    Dover, NH 03820

    Last edited by Pam Brooks; 07-09-2010 at 10:45 AM.


    09-01-2010, 04:41 AM
    Pam Brooks

    Join Date: Apr 2007
    Location: Dover Seacoast New Hampshire
    Posts: 404

    Originally Posted by gavyton
    That really stinks! I am currently a biller at an office in St. Pete Florida but I have hopes of getting into a practice that will pay me for my skills. I mean I am the only one in a small practice that does the billing here ( & then some ) & now they want me to take on coding as well. I hardly have time to do what I have now, posting, follow up, statements, not to mention the extras I must to in order to maintain flow & then to take on coding as well. I am going to sink in all this work. I am in school now for coding, I can only hope between my school seeking out jobs for me & my 2 years of billing that there is hope I can land a job that will pay more than I am making now. I mean I have a full plate here & hardly get enough money to make it. I really had hopes coding would open more doors but I can see that most places want 3 years or more coding. It is so depressing.

    Maybe instead of complaining about the increased responsiblity to "take on the coding", you can consider this an opportunity to learn more about this field. There are thousands of certified coders who are unable to get experience (never mind even a job) who would be thrilled to have the opportunity that you have been presented. Frankly, your attitude is unfortunate. Take a peek at the resume posting board...I bet someone there would love to take over for you.

    It's not about the money, and if it is, you should just move on right now. Nobody is getting rich in healthcare any longer. It's about job satisfaction and the opportunity to help and learn. With budget cuts, payer constraints and a poor economy, we're all overworked, but personally, I'm damned happy to have a job.

    Pull up your big girl (or boy) pants, everyone. Life isn't going to hand you a winning lottery ticket. You have to work to get what you want, and you're never going to start at the top. I've posted (and presented) on this topic before, and continue to be amazed at the whining and ranting on this professional board.
    Pam Brooks, PCS, CPC
    Physician Services Coding Supervisor
    Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
    Dover, NH 03820
    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ ____

    On a positive note...I appreciate all of the additional information and words of encouragement we have received. I feel this has been very beneficial and has provided me with valuable information. This has helped to shed some light on why my applications have been denied. This is the information I wish I would have heard in the classroom.

    I think that, by knowing what to expect in the job search, will provide us with the tools needed to leap over hurdles : )

    Okay, so being housebound due to TS Debbie in Florida, I'm looking through many of the older threads.

    I'm reading this particular post which included posts from Pam Brooks. All I can say is, thank you, Pam! I don't know if this was the intention of this poster, but I think that was Pam was expressing is something that everyone should consider.

    While I have many years experience working in the medical field (medical secretary/transcriptionist/health unit coordinator/some front office work), MBC is new to me. Personally having seen the various complexities with medical coding in real life, I don't think I would want to go directly into a coding position before getting more of a lay of the land. To me, that means I want as much of a foundation on how the medical organization is run. If that means I start as a medical receptionist/scheduler/biller, whatever, I will do that gladly and proudly.

    Professionalism is so important, and first appearances do count. Those first appearances start with the application for a position with your resume. I'm not talking about necessarily how experienced that you may be, but the appearance of the resume. Coding (and other areas in the medical office arena) requires a lot of attention to detail. So, if one can't take the time to make sure that their resume is without typos or spelling errors, how can future employers be assured that you won't pay special care in coding.

    So, I apologize to the originator of this particular post, but I do feel that Pam gave a very good explanation of what all applicants (experienced or newbies) should heed when they are looking for work.


  4. #64
    Join Date
    Apr 2007


    I enjoyed reading these posts. I agree that many of the technical schools offering 9 month coding courses are false advertising. Not only do they tell students that there are many jobs out there (look at the economy there are not many jobs in any field), but they also exaggerate the starting salary. It takes many years of experience to reach the salary that they are advertising as "beginning". Also, remote coding requires many years of experience. It is interesting to see how many newly certified coders post something in the "searching for employment" forum looking for remote coding positions with no coding experience. I remember when I started out, I though I knew everything because I just passed the test, but now many years into the field I realize I still have a lot to learn.

    I began with a three month unpaid internship while I was completing my coding classes. Once the three months was up, I was hired on for inbound/outbound, which was basically check in, check out, with some coding and collections at check out. I then applied for a billing position and scheduled my exam. When I passed my exam I was offered a position in the coding department. This took from 2005 (beginning my coding classes) to 2008 to get into a coding position. And even then I started out at a very low pay grade.

    It takes a great deal of effort to find a position in any field (not just coding) especially in this economy and especially with no experience in the chosen field.

    I also am tired of hearing whining about not immediately getting a coding position, it takes a great deal of effort, and in many cases I have heard that places would rather hire a newly certified coder than one that has many years of experience in a specific field. I am told this is because they can start them out with a low salary and they are able to "mold" them into the type of coder they want them to be.

  5. #65


    Back in 1995 I took a position for a on-the-job training for a medical coder. They only hired licensed nurses. I was very fortunate for I am still in the coding biz! I received my CPC certification in 2011, as I did my research only to find that most employers wanted certified coders. This opened doors to many more opportunities for employment. I work as a remote coder and love it! I agree with many of the seasoned coders of this forum...finding a job is not a cake walk. Before investing any moneys into career training...do your homework. Passing a test does not qualify me to be a doc. or a hairdresser. I know better. I've worked with 4 year GN's that placed BP cuffs on backwards. I've noticed that many poster's maintain several certifications and that only motivates me to improve myself! Keep moving or you'll get run over! KC LPNCPC

  6. #66


    Good points, Arlene! I, too, have over 25 years in healthcare/coding....and will probably be here until my brain explodes....which may happen, sooner rather than later! I also agree with the other posters, that the schools 'should' give better information about the immediate availability of coding jobs in their locale. 'For profit' schools are notorious in this regard!

    New coders need to understand that it is the physician's license that is on the line, when codes/charges are submitted. The physician/providers are the ones that are ultimately responsible for what is submitted, and they are the ones that are 'requiring' that the coders be very knowledgeable/experienced before hiring. The medical staff generally has input into these policies/decisions, although perhaps not directly in the instance of a particular hire.

    When I was initially hired, back in the early 80's, there wasn't as much emphasis by the payors on all the things they focus on today. It's an entirely different environment now than it was then!

  7. #67


    I wonder if any of these "coding schools" inform students about the rigorous quality assurance done on a daily basis for most billing and reimbursement companies. That in itself can be a downfall for some. Anyone else think so?

  8. #68


    @Hipoink.....I certainly agree with you about the rigorous QA! In this day and age, billing/coding practices are heavily scrutinized! Compliance is a hot topic!

  9. #69


    Would also like to add that when I completed school 15+ years ago, my counselor made it well known that although the school provides internship info, the student is ultimately responsible for making the initial contact. The counselor handed me a folder containing the contacts and I was on my own. I took that advice to heart. Made contact and was able to get an unpaid internship, which led to a fulltime paid position after graduation with the same company. This was in 1997. I am a prior military spouse. We moved from state to state and I was able to gain employment within 3 months of every relocation. All that experience added up and I am extremely happy with my employment now. (no longer military or married!)....I say all this to say that you have to take responsibility from the beginning, start somewhere and continue to build knowledge and experience!!!

    Good luck to all new grads/job seekers!!

  10. #70


    I've been following this thread as well. I agree with the facts that been mentioned throughout this thread. I have about one month to complete a course to receive my career diploma in Medical Billing and Coding. I have over 18 years of administrative experience and I am currently working for a very small private law firm and hate it with a passion but it's a job and pays my bills. I am trying to save money to update my materials so I can take my CPC exam at the end of the year. I volunteer once a week at a free clinic, very old school ways of patient encounter (no computers, strictly paper).

    "When I decided to change careers, I knew that I would have to start at the bottom and I have NO problem doing so. I've sent every resume out for the lowest of lowest entry level positions in my area for receptionist, file clerk, etc just to expand my career in the medical world. I'm also applying for part-time positions for secondary opportunities.

    But, when NO ONE gives you that opportunity, NOT EVEN for an entry level position, yes it gets very frustrating. At times I feel is it worth it?

    Yes I chose to enter this field, I choose to stick it out NO MATTER how frustrating it is now or forever how long, I will NOT QUIT. I find this very challenging, and I like a challenge, but with this field, you constantly learn every day, that is the beauty of it, you LEARN.

    If you want something bad enough, you take the necessary steps, be professional, be confident, do your homework on that employer, asked questions as though you are interviewing them, and communicate on what you can bring to the company and how they can benefit.

    I wish everyone the best of luck on their future endeavors, JUST DON'T GIVE UP!
    Last edited by yllek521@gmail.com; 03-22-2013 at 04:23 AM.

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