Medical Coder Profile Interview with Dianne M. Scavarda
Who is your employer? Long Term Care Physicians, Inc.
What is your title/position? Medical coder
How long have you worked there? 16 years
Do you use paper manuals or online encoders (if the latter) what is your favorite? I use Encoder Pro and my paper manuals.
What are your thoughts about specialty credentialing? Do you feel the AAPC is doing enough in the specialty fields by adding the auditing, compliance and practice management credentials? I would love to get my specialty credentials in E/M, auditing and practice management, but I just can’t afford to do it on my own. I think the AAPC has out done themselves in making all the specialty credentials available and most are at a reasonable cost. I believe that if enough people want a certain credential that the AAPC would do whatever they can to make the credential available.
Tell me about your experience with CCO. I have attended many of their webinars and have learned a great deal. I enjoy their website and the articles that they put out. I have never had any problems with them or their website and I love to read about what others are doing. I also enjoy the Q&A webinars that are offered on Thursdays of each month. They provide great information; I also follow them on Facebook.
What do you like least/most about medical coding? I love the challenge and since I do nursing home E/M coding, it can be difficult at times depending on the way the MD/CRNPs dictate their notes. I am looking forward to ICD-10 because it will be a challenge to get my medical staff to be more specific with their diagnoses. It will be like teaching an old dog to learn new tricks.
What advice can you offer to people just getting started in their medical coding careers? Well, this is what I did. I started as a file clerk, and then I did secondary and third-party billing. Then I did all the billing and also entered all the payments from the EOBs and the private pays. I took an interest in the coding when I was entering the codes on the 1500 forms. I would look them up, see what I was billing, and then try to determine how they arrived at those codes by looking at the dictation. I got to a point where I did not agree with the person doing the coding, so I started studying it. After two years, I took over the coding. Another year later, I took the certification test for my CPC. It took two tries, but I did it. So, start at the beginning of the cycle and work your way up.
How does your personality help you in your job? I have to admit, I have a difficult personality; I’m a workaholic and somewhat shy and I keep to myself. However, if someone needs help, I will go out of my way to help them if I can.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself. I love to camp and go out with my husband on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle. I also spend a lot of time with my two grandsons and three daughters. If I can make someone else laugh or smile, that makes me the happiest.