Now, let’s talk to Jo-Anne. Jo-Anne has been with us for a while, but she is the one that has been doing the ICD-10 coaching for the Mini course. She also is taking students for the PBC course, and soon she will have written her own curriculum for the Physician Practice Management Course, CPPM certification, is the one that that qualifies you to sit for. Are you there Jo-Anne?
Jo-Anne: Yes I am.
Alicia: Oh! You already know Jo-Anne is sitting in a cabin in Maine, keeping her toes toasty warm. Jo-Anne, how long have you been in the coding field?
Jo-Anne: Well, I’m dating myself here. But I’ve been coding and billing for over 33 years, so you can basically say I witnessed the evolution of healthcare where claims were on paper and diagnosis and procedure codes were actually written in full description, and now of course everything is electronic communication so it’s really evolved a lot. Yeah, I’ve been doing it a very long time.
Alicia: Good. What is it that you really like about coding?
Medical Coder Interview Joanne Sheehan – Video
Jo-Anne: I like the challenge. It’s just, you have to have a certain personality, I think, for it because there are a lot of gray areas and I just like brainstorming and trying to figure out the best possible answer and rationale. I don’t know, it’s just a good feeling to be able to solve a puzzle.
Alicia: I hear that a lot, people say that a lot. How did you actually find CCO?
Jo-Anne: This is funny. I was actually on the American Academy of Professional Coders, the AAPC instructor forum. I was looking for creative ideas to help my students understand coding concepts a little bit better. And Laureen’s website and YouTube videos were recommended nonstop by the other instructors, so I decided to view Laureen’s presentations and I was just so totally impressed that I went out and ordered her coding course and Blitz DVDs because she has a visual way of teaching, which really taught me even more about coding in-depth. So, I wanted to use her teaching style, so I contacted her, I had to make sure that I could do it legally and the rest is history. We just hit it off and our business relationship just took off. And that’s all I used, and I’ve seen many curriculums and I just think that her program really helps coders understand things, particularly those who do not have a background in healthcare. I think her way is great.
Alicia: Yeah, I agree with that. And I like you, kind of came to it the same way. You mentioned something that reminded me of myself is that you learn things watching her videos and so did I. Not only did it make you a better coder, even though you had experience coding, but it made you a better instructor because you could replicate what she was doing to get the points across.
Alicia: Tell me a little bit about the PPM course that you’re working on. Give a little highlight about that to see what to expect.
Jo-Anne: This program is awesome. I love it but I guess you have to understand that it’s the course that — I work with doctors and practice managers every day. It’s a course that I think that even if someone is a practice manager, they should take it because there is so much information in the program that would benefit a practice, and I don’t know how to say it, it’s just that it’s a very specialized field. Most doctors hire managers and they think they can do the job and they can’t, they don’t have the knowledge. And I really think that anyone that gets the CPPM credential, it will be a blessing for any doctor that gets that person because I can tell you firsthand that a practice manager wears many hats and they’re the conductor in that orchestra and they have to make sure that everything is flowing, and it’s amazing how many doctors cannot get good help.
I know in the East Coast, the practice managers that I deal with and many of them do not even have the background of the PPM, they make between $40,000 and $70,000 a year and they don’t even have the expertise. It’s a nightmare for us that have to work with the doctors because the cash flow is poor, the employees are distressed, the coding and billing departments are in chaos at all times because no one even knows what they’re doing. So, I really think that this program came at the right time. Maybe ten years ago, would not have been as important; but with physician quality reporting and healthcare reform and just everything that is required now to be understood in the practice, it really is important to have a handle on it.
Alicia: I agree. I actually ordered the practice exam that the AAPC offers just to see with my
experience how well I could do on a practice exam for this curriculum and thinking that I knew part of it, when I took it I was kind of shocked. I agree with you, it really would be essential for an active physician’s office or not active physician’s office; it’s going to be helpful. Well, thank you very much Jo-Anne.
Jo-Anne: You’re welcome.
Alicia: She’s going to stick around for a little while and may help me out on a slide or two if I call her out. Jo-Anne and Laureen both have excellent background skills working in multiple specialties, so that’s something that you don’t usually get when you have an instructor. I think that really benefits CCO.