For the past two years, Sue Kozlowski has worked as a coder for Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, MI. Her title is Site Billing Coding Specialist. We asked Sue several questions about her medical coding career and also wanted to know what she enjoys in her spare time. Here is what she had to day.
Do you use paper manuals or online encoders? I use an encoder, but I do reference the book sometimes. The book keeps your coding skills up and does not allow you to use “shortcuts” like you can with the encoder. While the encoder saves time, it’s nice to see everything on an actual page – and seeing the whole picture is always better.
What are your thoughts about specialty credentialing? I believe it makes you stand out more. Specialty credentials show employers that you have a very specific understanding of that specialty.
Medical Coder Profile – Sue Kozlowski
Do you feel the AAPC is doing enough in the specialty fields by adding the auditing, compliance and practice management credentials? I took the course for practice management because I was curious about its contents. It wasn’t much different than what I learned in college. However, I know the exams are challenging, so the credential shows you have a deeper understanding. In time, I will take the auditing course in hopes that it will make my skills even stronger.
Tell me about your experience with CodingCertification.org.? I graduated with my degree in 2006 for the RHIT, but never took the test. I pursued other avenues for awhile and then took a coder’s boot camp and also purchased Laureen’s CPC prep. I passed my CPC on the first try with time (more than an hour) to spare. I always speak highly of Laureen’s course to new coders prepping for their exam. I also participate in the webinars; there’s always good information to learn and I enjoy hearing answers to the variety of questions. It also feels good to know that I can e-mail a question and know that I will get an answer back in a timely manner.
What do you like least/most about medical coding? The physicians’ documentation can often be a little frustrating, but I love the coding part.
What advice do you have for people getting started in their medical coding careers? Learn as much as you can. Take every free quiz that is out there. Join the different coding groups on Facebook and network. Also, learn about billing rules; that has been my weak point and I’m still learning.
What are your future career goals? I plan to get more credentials and take the test for my RHIT.
What are your hobbies? I thrive on adventure and enjoy taking road trips just to see where I end up. My favorite place is Las Vegas – mountains, sunshine and heat. I also like to go boating, enjoy swimming with my dogs, and making new friends.
How does your personality help you in your job? I’m open minded, outgoing, flexible and understanding. All these factors help me to efficiently communicate.
Tell me a fun fact about yourself. I have a background in manufacturing and also worked in law enforcement. My healthcare experience included working in patient registration, scheduling, and drug testing for employers. Some people would think it’s bad to bounce around with different careers, but I think it has made me a more rounded person.
Is there anything else you would like to add? I enjoy what Laureen offers to her medical coding audience. I hope she will offer some prep for the RHIT exam. I have no regrets about my previous careers, but am proud that medical coding is my final destination. I plan to continue to grow in this field and maybe one day I will travel and teach medical coding.
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