Denise has had two previous medical coding positions, but she is most excited about her latest opportunity. Her first position was as a coding specialist at VNS of Newport and Bristol Counties – a homecare facility. While there, she coded all of the admissions. She then went on to work as the medical coding specialist at New Bedford Rehabilitation Hospital – a 90-bed acute care facility with an outpatient wound clinic. She did admit and discharge coding in addition to the outpatient coding for the wound clinic. However, when an opening as a clinical coding specialist occurred at Rhode Island Hospital/Hasbro Children’s Hospital, she went for it and got it!
Medical Coder Profile: Denise Hattub
“I am thankful to have had the opportunity to work at both the VNS and New Bedford, but it was time for me to move on,” she says. “I am looking forward to longevity at RI Hospital.”
Do you use paper manuals or online encoders? I use both. In my current position, I use mostly an online encoder, but do have to use my books to research for better clarification. I just love my books, so I have to say that they would be my favorite. I learned how to code using my books and I believe they are essential for any medical coder. The online encoder is more appropriate for on-the-job work.
What are your thoughts about specialty credentialing? I don’t believe a medical coder should have to re-test for a specialty. I tend to focus more on work experience. When I learned how to code, I spent much time in all the body systems.
Do you feel the AAPC is doing enough in the specialty fields by adding the auditing, compliance and practice management credentials? Oh yes, they offer many tools and webinars for continuing education.
Tell me about your experience with CodingCertification.org. OMG, Laureen is awesome! Her explanations and methods of coding are incredible. I purchased Laureen’s Blitz DVDs and it was probably the best investment I’ve made in my coding career.
What do you like least/most about medical coding? I love to code because I am a natural detective and researcher. I love to figure things out. I’m also very interested in anatomy and physiology. What I do not enjoy is trying to get the physicians and clinicians to understand the importance of specificity. If a physician is not clear on a diagnosis or procedure, the coder needs to send many queries.
What advice do you have for people just getting started in their careers? As I mentioned, this is my third medical coding position and I hope to have longevity at this one. Continue to strive towards your goals and never let anyone discourage you. It is not an easy road, but don’t ever give up. There will be times when you may think, “this is too hard,” or “no one will hire me.” Perseverance and persistence pay off. There are so many medical facilities out there that need quality medical coders. Follow your dream, and don’t look back.
What are your future career goals? My next goal would be to be a remote coder from my home office.
What are your hobbies outside of work? I am a huge baseball fan. Boston Red Sox are my favorite, but I really just love the sport. I also enjoy gardening, cooking, baking and traveling.
How does your personality help you in your job? I am a very positive and enthusiastic person who likes a challenge and medical coding is a challenge. Every case tells a different story. I am also a very organized person who strives to be accurate – this is also helpful when coding.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself. I have a gorgeous, five-year old miniature Dachsund named Simone; and a son who was very brave and courageous while serving his country as an Army Specialist and completing a tour in Iraq. I also have twin daughters!
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