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Elimination of “A” Designation: The Apprentice designation is not needed anymore

  1. #71
    Default Leave People Alone
    Exam Training Packages
    If someone can pass that CPC exam let them just be a CPC and leave them alone. Don't make them jump through hoops and drain their finances with another test. How ridiculous!
    If you are determined enough and smart enough to pass that CPC exam congratulations to you. Let your resume speak for itself and pray that you are interviewing before a manager who will take a chance on a newbie.
    Stop trying to make it so hard to get into this field! Let the passing of the CPC exam be the 1st step onto a career in coding and LEAVE PEOPLE ALONE.

  2. #72
    Default
    I posted to the AAPC comments:

    Having to pay for two exams and then sit for them separately, just to remove the apprentice status, seems a bit too much and unfair, compared to those who already have the alleged “experience” and are not labeled apprentice, yet who can't even pass the CPC exam.

    Please continue with the “Virtual Experience: Apprentice Removal” 800 Note program. I believe this is the next best thing for those who have not been able to achieve any kind of real-world coding experience in order to remove the apprentice status. Also, I think one should have the choice of either completing this program or passing the 20 note “Clinical Exam” in order to remove the apprentice status.

    However, I highly recommend adding a fill-in-the-blank section of medical records to the CPC exam similar to the CCS exam. This would be a great asset because it would show potential employers that those who pass the exam know more about coding than just choosing codes from multiple choice questions.

    Nonetheless, it all comes down to the potential employer deciding if all this is good enough to hire someone as a medical coder. I seriously hope AAPC will heavily consult with as many coding employers across the country as they can to see if they will even “recognize” any of this as “coding experience” before AAPC implements any changes.

    It would be futile for a member to shell out a lot of money and time towards this if an employer won't hire them because they don't acknowledge this as any kind of coding experience.

  3. Default
    Quote Originally Posted by semaxwell1 View Post
    I posted to the AAPC comments:

    Having to pay for two exams and then sit for them separately, just to remove the apprentice status, seems a bit too much and unfair, compared to those who already have the alleged “experience” and are not labeled apprentice, yet who can't even pass the CPC exam.

    Please continue with the “Virtual Experience: Apprentice Removal” 800 Note program. I believe this is the next best thing for those who have not been able to achieve any kind of real-world coding experience in order to remove the apprentice status. Also, I think one should have the choice of either completing this program or passing the 20 note “Clinical Exam” in order to remove the apprentice status.

    However, I highly recommend adding a fill-in-the-blank section of medical records to the CPC exam similar to the CCS exam. This would be a great asset because it would show potential employers that those who pass the exam know more about coding than just choosing codes from multiple choice questions.

    Nonetheless, it all comes down to the potential employer deciding if all this is good enough to hire someone as a medical coder. I seriously hope AAPC will heavily consult with as many coding employers across the country as they can to see if they will even “recognize” any of this as “coding experience” before AAPC implements any changes.

    It would be futile for a member to shell out a lot of money and time towards this if an employer won't hire them because they don't acknowledge this as any kind of coding experience.

    Thank you semaxwell, for your support of the 800 note Apprentice Program. You are right though, I would hope the AAPC would seriously try to appeal to the employers across the country that this program really DOES provide the experience, and is very closely simmulated to the "real world"; So it could be recognized, before too many purchase it, and there is yet another issue about what is acceptable to employers as "real world" experience, and yet another debate on why someone would spend the money and not be able to gain employment.

    However, I have already purchased it and had almost completed it before the site went down. But I do have to say that I don't regret this purchase, because it really opened my eyes on just how much is expected of the coder in a real world job, and I gained a great amount of information and experience that I was not going to get otherwise. I am keeping my fingers crossed that with all the feedback the AAPC has been given, they will get this program the recognition, (by potential employers, AND members) that I totally believe it deserves.

    Also, I am in favor of the AAPC changing the CPC exam to include op notes, to give the credential the the status IT deserves. All in all, I think this discussion was needed to move forward, and as a CPC-A myself, I am gratefull for the opportunity to voice my concerns, along with those who are "seasoned" coders. Hopefully, there will be a resolution soon....

  4. #74
    Location
    Salt Lake City
    Posts
    841
    Default
    [QUOTE=csheehy;198569]Wow!!!
    After reading all of these I am really second guessing my choice of careers as a medical coder. I have spent 20+ thousand dollars and now to find out that the dream my never come true is quit depressing. Did not think it was going to be this hard to get into something after obtaining a degree. Wonder if I can ask for a refund? and to think I just received my exam study guide too.
    Connie, just another newly graduated medical coder

    I started out as a medical receptionist in 1986 and worked in many different specialties and that was a big help for my medical terminolgy, working with physicians and nurses everyday.

    I was a "self taught coder" back in 1994 due to the fact that we lost our main coder and then to polish my skills I took one basic coding class at the community college that was $534.00 other than that I bought an anatomy book and studied that night and day to learn that by myself. I passed my CPC in 2003. What I am saying is there are cheaper ways to acheive the goals you want and I have never held anyone else responsible for me having or not having the career I want. I have never had a problem finding a coding job and I do understand that every state is different. But even after all of the years that I have been coding I still push myself to learn more and more, that is my own personal goal and not what is expected of my employer.
    Jenifer McPolin CPC, CPMA, RCC

  5. Default Do not punish CPC-As
    I am a recent CPC-A, 12-9-2011.

    I completely disagree with the parameters AAPC proposes relative to removing the "A".

    1) To impose an "expiration date" on the additional exam or worst still "experience gained", in this jobless market would only punish those of us who have successfully passed the CPC exam hoping to break into the filed of coding as a viable career path on an entry level basis.

    That said, I respectfully request you remove all time limits imposed, or better still grandfather CPC-As into CPCs. Our resumes can speak for themselves.

    If AAPC imposes these "sanctions" on CPC-As, all my efforts, financial and otherwise, will be lost if I am unable to secure a position before the "expiration date".
    Thank you,
    Suzanne M. Logan, CPC-A, CPhT.

  6. #76
    Location
    Jacksonville Florida Chapter
    Posts
    205
    Default
    For what it’s worth….

    There are good and bad things I think with this change.

    As most of us know, AHIMA strongly recommends a person have at least 3 years worth of coding experience before they take the CCS exam. This is because the exam is no joke. I’ve talked to coders with the CCS certification and they said it was harder than the CPC exam.

    So why do I mention the CCS exam?

    After doing some research and talking to coders, I’ve come to the conclusion that the AAPC’s CPC certification is more like something that a new coder would get, while AHIMA’s CCS is more like something a seasoned coder would attain.

    Now don’t get me wrong…. I’m not trying to put down the CPC certification because I’ve got mine as a CPC-A. What I am trying to get at is that I see the CPC as a way for a new coder to break into coding and the CCS as something a seasoned coder gets to highlight their coding career. I see the CPC-A as a way for a new coder to show that they are sincere with their dream of becoming a professional coder.

    I’ll buy into making a CPC-A code 20 OP/office notes with a 90% accuracy rating if we don’t have the year’s worth of experience. This would allow those of us who are new to coding to prove what we really know. I think this could be used by the medical community as a way to allow those of us who are really good a coding, but don’t have the experience yet, to be able to break into coding without having to take a “foot in the door job” before getting into coding. I also think this will allow the brightest of us to really shine when searching for a job. Imagine how good it would look on the individual who could say that they have their CPC without having a year’s worth of experience yet.

    I don’t agree making a person either have a year’s worth of experience or pass the coding of 20 OP/office notes before they can be certified as a CPC. Why not leave the CPC-A where it is with the requirement of one year’s experience or coding 20 OP/office notes with a 90% accuracy to remove the “A”? This would allow those like me the ability to at least say we are certified and ready to break into coding.

    Lastly…. If everyone is looking for certified coders, how does one attain the year’s worth of coding experience before taking the CPC? Not everyone will be able to pass that extra exam, after all.

    I know that most say to volunteer for the experience, but there are many like me who can’t because of financial responsibilities. So what happens to us? Does this mean we should just give up on coding? Of course not!

    What this means is that those who cannot pass the extra exam or volunteer for the experience need to find some other way to get into coding. This is where that “foot in the door” job comes into effect. Having said that, I think it was the CPC-A that got me my job because it showed that I wanted to be a coder and that I was willing to “grow” into it, for lack of a better term. I think this is what the CPC-A should show. I should show that a person is ready and willing to grow into coding and not the fact that the CPC-A has no experience in coding.

    My $.02 for what’s it worth.
    John Meyer, CPC
    Heekin Clinic

  7. Default
    Appreciate your comments and words of wisdom. I am preparing for the CPC exam, and I have been
    thinking if this will be enough to get started in Medical Coding. Will this get an entry-level position? Is there any such position as "Entry-Level"?

  8. #78
    Location
    Jacksonville Florida Chapter
    Posts
    205
    Default
    Quote Originally Posted by dej1918 View Post
    Appreciate your comments and words of wisdom. I am preparing for the CPC exam, and I have been
    thinking if this will be enough to get started in Medical Coding. Will this get an entry-level position? Is there any such position as "Entry-Level"?
    As far as I know....

    The term "entry-level" really doesn't apply to coding all that much since everyone is looking for coders with experience. Entry-level in coding is more about a "foot in the door" job like receptionist or medical records or data entry. This allows a coder to grow into the medical community and eventually into coding. I'm a CPC-A, but I had to take a job as a receptionist just to get into the medical field. I told my employer I wanted to be a coder during my interview. She said that will come in time.
    John Meyer, CPC
    Heekin Clinic

  9. #79
    Default What will happen with current CPC-A's
    I have mixed emotions on the new proposal being put forth. But being a CPC-A not working in the coding field, I agree with some of the other posts about working hard to put yourself through school and study, sit for the exam and to pass the exam and still struggle for months or years to find and oppportunity to work with in the field. It is extremely frustrating, to say the least. My question is if you are currently a CPC-A, and choose to take the clinical exam and do not pass the exam and do not have a year's worth of expierence by December 2013, what happens to your designation do you loose your CPC credential altogether and have to start all over?

  10. #80
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,101
    Default
    Let's all understand some basics on credentialing.

    Unlike the clinical side of the house, coders are afforded choices in their credentials. We are also allowed to "specialize" in a setting early on in our careers. The CPC exam is designed for those pursuing physician-based coding; the CCS, on the other hand, is for hospital inpatient coders to demonstrate their qualification in that setting. (Yes, I realize that AHIMA indicates that it covers both outpatient hospital and inpatient hospital and while I concur to some extent, the exam was or is heavily weighted toward the inpatient side.)

    That being said, I have not found evidence that supports physician practices seeking a CCS for professional fee coding. Likewise, I find that only a handful of inpatient coding jobs publicize that the CPC is an acceptable credential for that role. The reasons are very simple: a coding manager wants a candidate with credentials that match the setting in which that coder will be working. This is why both AAPC and AHIMA created the CPC-H and CCS-P, respectively--to broaden the base of certifications covered by each organization.

    If you are experiencing thoughts that other certifications are necessary, then add them. However, if you are finding that all the jobs you apply for list qualifications outside your possession, then perhaps you are applying in the wrong setting. Hospitals are not the only places that coders may work--thus the need to have physician, payer and many other credentials. I do not consider the CPC as an entry-level certification and I believe most of my peers would express similar feelings.
    Last edited by kevbshields; 01-16-2012 at 09:47 AM.

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