Is the CRC® Credential a Good Choice for New Coders?
Then the last question that we were going to answer was about CRC® for new coders. This actually came up as a chat question in our last webinar. The person wanted to know, it says:
“It sounds to me like the CRC® is the way to go, but is it really meant for coders with experience? I know the CPC® is the initial credential to go for, and I know there are many opinions about the best credentials to have, but what is the practical choice for someone who is totally new?”
So, for a long time, before I really fully understood risk adjustment, and I’m not saying I fully understand it yet, but I’m actually studying, I’m going to take it in March. You only need to know ICD-10 really well. You need to know the guidelines for ICD-10 really well. Risk adjustment coding only uses that manual. They do not code for procedures. They do not code for HCPCS. They are looking for chronic conditions for that individual and they’re normally doing it over a span of time instead of one visit. So, this span of time is normally they’re six months, or a whole year.
I was talking to someone today who was working for someone and she said she coded 2 years’ worth for this patient who is in the doctor’s office every three days. So imagine how many visits that was. Unfortunately, she only got paid a couple bucks per chart, so that’s not good. Hopefully, that’s one in a million that are that many pages. But a lot of the risk adjustment companies do pay per chart. So, it’s really good for new coders because the pressure is off to produce so much. If you’re slower in the beginning, you can ramp up. A lot of these risk adjustment companies, when they hire newly certified people, they put you through an additional training to learn how to do it their way, so to speak.
So, I’ve changed my opinion and my advice. On my 20-minute consultation calls, I would always say yes, “Yup. CPC® first. Got to get the CPC®, that’s your core credential.” Then, as a secondary, consider risk adjustment. Well, now I’m telling people, especially people that are really on a budget, you only have to buy one manual. The course is shorter, you know, and you sit for the CRC® exam first. There’s no prerequisite for CPC® exam takers to do the CPC® first. So, I think it's a great one for newbies to do. But I would encourage them to have the intention of getting the CPC® and learning CPT as well. But this can get them in the door in a job the quickest route in my opinion. So, that’s our current advice on that.
Chandra said that for a while, and I kept going, “Really? No, I think I’d want them to have the CPC®.” But now that I’ve seen it and I’m hearing about these jobs out there. I’m confirming that people are getting jobs and they’re newly certified and I think that’s very exciting.
Lori: Jobs are out there.