For six months, Sara Gomez, NRHCMC worked as an intern at Sunrise Community Health Center in Evans, CO. She was then hired by the department and has been employed with them since April 2011. We sat down with Sara to talk about the world of medical coding.
Medical Coder Profile: Sara Gomez Benefits from Internship
Tell me about your job. Currently, I am a Coding Specialist. I did medical billing prior to our department division. I am a National Rural Health Certified Medical Coder (NRHCMC) for the state of Colorado through the Association of Rural Health Professional Coders. I’ve been certified since April 6, 2013.
Do you prefer paper manuals or online encoders? We use paper manuals. We did not have a good experience with an online coder program so it was canceled. I do, however, like the books.
What do you think about specialty credentials? I am for them. It gives you specific, in-depth knowledge in a particular area and can give you a competitive edge in the marketplace.
What do you think about the AAPC? I am an AAPC member and I find the website very helpful. The costs are a bit high, but my employer is paying for my membership, so I am very lucky. I am also taking my CPC exam in a few weeks.
Tell me about your experience with CodingCertification.org. I came across it while doing a Google search while seeking assistance on a claim. I searched “coding certification” and the website was on page one. What caught my attention was “Learn It Get Certified.” I have been contemplating certification for about a year, so I scheduled an appointment with Laureen Jandroep and we I learned about all the services and training they offered. She also told me about her videos on YouTube. Wow! Her blogs have been very helpful and so have her monthly conferences. I took advantage of her free products, printed and laminated for safe keeping. I do join in on the forums and am very appreciative of the fellow members for giving their advice.
What do you like most about medical coding? The challenge. I enjoy correct coding rather than to code for reimbursement. I also enjoy meeting with providers and reading about the guidelines and applying the information into the codes, and into the claim to report the patient’s story.
What do you like least about medical coding? The time constraint. There are often so many claims, and so little time. I do take the coding of these claims on the job into practice to help prepare with time management for the exam.
Do you have any advice to people considering a job in medical coding? Don’t give up. There is a massive amount of knowledge out there. Learn, learn, learn! The medical coding world is ever-changing. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. That’s how you will learn.
What are your future goals? To continue with my coding education. I want to learn what applies to my job duties and to become a CPC. I have also been looking into getting my BA. The next credentials I want to work for are E/M, auditing, and OB/GYN.
How does your personality help you on the job? I am a go getter. If I don’t know the answer, I will find out be researching documentation and getting support. I am persistent and always want to learn. For example, when my supervisor works on a system issue, I stand there to listen and learn how and why she does what she does. She always offers me great support.
What are your hobbies? I am into sports – playing and watching with my family. I also love cooking; my specialty is Mexican food – I like it spicy.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? Going to the park with my family as much as we can and enjoying family get-togethers, BBQ and music. .
Tell me a fun fact about yourself. I coded my surgery for my shoulder repair back in 2010. I did this just for myself while I was attending school for billing and coding. I am unsure if it matched the actual coder’s claim.
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