Medical Coder Profile: Cornelia M. Chalas, CPC


Cornelia M. Chalas, CPC is a clinical documentation improvement specialist with Commonwealth Community Care. This company has grown from a Boston-based project, initiated with Urban Medical Group in 1982, into a multi-disciplinary primary care practice that is today regarded as a national model for disability-competent healthcare. It serves more than 650 people with complex physical, developmental and intellectual disabilities.

As a clinical documentation improvement specialist, she ensures that physicians translate the care provided in their minds into actual documentation. This documentation follows patients from beginning to end.

She has been with the group for almost one year. We talked with her about some of her thoughts on medical coding and more:

Medical Coder Profile: Cornelia M. Chalas

Do you use paper manuals or online encoders? Paper manuals.

What are your thoughts about specialty credentialing? I think that they are great. The more specialties, the better. They help people to really narrow in on an interest.

Do you feel the AAPC is doing enough in the specialty fields by adding the auditing, compliance and practice management credentials? Yes, I believe that every specialty should have its own credential.

What do you like least/most about medical coding? I love that you are always learning and there is always room for improvement. What I like the least about the medical coding profession is the lack of opportunity for new, up and coming medical coders.

Do you have some advice for people who just getting started in their medical coding careers? The best advice that I could give someone just starting off as a medical coder is: This is a very competitive field, never give up. If you want something bad enough; make it happen. Never let anyone steer you away from your dreams.

What are your future career goals? I would like to get my certifications in ICD-10, CPC-H and CPPM.

How does your personality help you in your job? I am very dedicated in everything I do. It’s this dedication that allows me to get the job done.

What are your hobbies outside of work? I love spending time with my children, cooking and singing.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself. I have random dance competitions with my children and my niece. We have a great time together!

Is there anything else you would like to add? To become a medical coder requires application, dedication and the ability to be open for constant change. And, it’s so important to keep up with your continuing education requirements. This field is forever changing and you have to change right along with it.

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