Laureen: Let’s see what questions we have on the chat. So, Sylvia, while we were conducting the webinar was trying to pull some of the key questions from the chat to be able to share here. These are totally off the cuff answers, if Alicia and I feel that we need to research them a little bit more, we’ll let you know and we’ll save that for another time.
Alicia: I enjoy this question though because…
Laureen: OK, go ahead and answer.
Alicia: Q: CPC Exam Tips – Should I eliminate ICD-9 or CPT codes first on the CPC exam?
A: Well, the fact is, I always do ICD-9 first and I bet Laureen always knocks out CPT; so it really depends what you feel more comfortable with. Laureen goes in-depth about the tips when you take the Blitz on doing 30 questions or one column an hour, so you don’t really kind of get to pick and choose that way.
But I’m assuming that what you’re saying is, if there are CPT and ICD options, which do you look up first? Honestly, I do; I look to see what the differences are in ICD-9 because that I can usually knock off a couple and then I go to CPT just because it’s my preference. That’s my background, diagnosis coding. Again, I’m sure Laureen, speaking for her, is probably exactly the opposite.
Alicia: That she looks at the CPT codes and says –
Laureen: It depends. Sometimes, if there are modifiers, I’ll use modifiers.
Alicia: You’re going to test on the 23rd of November. That Blitz, even if you’re not feeling confident, but you’ve gone through a course and everything, the Blitz is beneficial. It’s got a lot of testing tips.
Laureen: And timed practice exams. I know you’re getting close to the wire, but timed practice exams are key.
Alicia: Very beneficial.
Laureen: You learn so much by doing, truly.
Q: ICD-10 – I’ve taken the ICD-10 courses, what do I do now? Once CPC, is there a deadline for ICD-10 test?
A: I know they’ve changed that. It’s kind of a moving target.
Alicia: I believe they’re already offering it now. When Laureen and I took the proficiency exam
Laureen: Oh yeah, but “is there a deadline”?
Alicia: I don’t think there is.
CPC Exam Tips & Medical Coding Practicum – Video
Laureen: Yeah. It goes into effect, hopefully, October 1, 2015. Now, what they had done before is they were giving you a year after that effective date to get your proficiency. You still have plenty of time. But I would, if you just took the course and it’s fresh in your mind, go ahead and take the proficiency and get it over with and then you’re all set to go for when it goes into place.
Alicia: It’s an online test and you can take it at home or at work.
Laureen: Yeah, it’s not a proctored exam.
Laureen: The other advice that I would give for those that are truly trying to get their skills up to be able to code ICD-10 efficiently is to consider our Medical Coding Practicum where we use Practicode and you can get in and you can code cases and choose to do cases with ICD-9 or choose to do cases with ICD-10. So that’s a good way to get your proficiency up for ICD-10.
Q: Certification – Can you get a job with a CPC (I hope so)? Would another certificate or degree be more helpful in finding a job? What would be a good specialty to start out with in medical coding?
A: I believe I answered you on the chat too, but you could go after another certificate or degree, but if you haven’t gotten a job yet, you want to get that first job to get your experience to be able to parlay that into maybe your dream job. So, you need some sort of experience and that’s where the Practicode comes in, and I had recommended our Medical Coding Practicum to be able to do that.
Now, beyond that, if you just want to add some more credentials, we’re really fans of the auditing and the HCC. Those two are really showing good increase in your salary, then there’s billing. Some people like to be able to answer more job ads, more opportunities and they are duly certified in that, they can do the billing side or the coding side. And a lot of jobs actually want you to have skills on both areas; so that’s another secondary credential you could get.
There are so many options. Once you get that core credential, that CPC, what do you like to do? When you were doing E/M in the class, did you love it? If you did, then auditing might be for you. If you love diagnostic coding, like, Alicia, then HCC is right up your alley.
Alicia: Or if you’re a clinician, auditing works really well in the clinician as well as the HCC because you’re reading all kinds of reports.
Laureen: Yeah. And then once you get out there, you might end up getting your first job in orthopedics and you become really proficient at that. That might become your specialty and you might want to get a specialty credential in that medical specialty, so you could do that. Although I find bang for your buck for maintaining the credential and everything, what I call the bigger ones, the HCC and the auditing and the Physician Practice Management, you can go to a lot of different angles and it shows a broad level of experience and skills.