Laureen: I was introducing you a little bit, that you’re one of our instructor coaches and you’re heading up our CPC-H support our FBC (Facility-Based Coding). Tell us a little bit about how you got into medical coding and what you like about CCO, etcetera.
Tamara: First of all, I love CCO. I love you. But I got into coding about 20 years ago when I moved from Alaska back to the States and realized there’s a big difference in pay scale. So, I went to school to become a coder and I’ve been going strong ever since. I love it! I like teaching, I think it’s great. I like working in it, I think it’s great. I think that CCO does a fantastic job from helping students not only learn, but to learn how to take those exams and everybody needs help on taking those exams.
Laureen: As an instructor, what’s your advice for, I guess, people who are undecided as far as taking a course with us, or whatever? What do you think makes us different from other places?
Medical Coder Profile: Tamara Lucus – Video
Tamara: The videos for one thing, because I had been involved in online classes before. They’re very dry and I like that one-on-one. I like knowing somebody’s there to talk to, to help get me through this. I like the simplicity of it. We go in for the meat and potatoes; I don’t need to have all the other stuff. I just want to know what I need to get certified and to learn to do these deals. I think that’s what we do.
Laureen: That’s our aim. If you could speak a little bit about what’s it like being a coach for CCO, how that works and why you think that’s a good model, if you do.
Tamara: I got to tell you, first off, like, “Oh! This is just going to be a piece of cake, nobody’s ever going to need me.” You know what, that’s not true. I do feel needed and I’m glad that there is somebody, that students are saying, “I need a little one-on- one.” We do that and I love that part. You know what, I get an email, one of the students saying, “Hey, I’m having trouble with this, that, and the other.” I like the fact that I can pick up the telephone and we can chitchat and we can walk through it. You just don’t get that in other places.
Laureen: Well, very good! Thank you so much for joining us.
Boyd: One question that I want to ask actually, if that’s all right.
Boyd: Because I know that you teach, Tamara, and there’re a lot of new people on the call tonight that are probably, in my history of being on these webinars, that are looking at passing their exam. Do you have any frequently-asked questions that you get a lot of? Or, just maybe two pieces of advice that you really want to share with people to help overcome that fear about their exam? What would you suggest?
Tamara: The biggest thing is practice and read. I can never stress enough that you need to practice taking that exam. It’s not so much trying to cram in. Everybody thinks you have to memorize that CPT, and that is not going to happen. If you read and read and read and read and read guidelines after guidelines, you’ll get familiar with it. But practicing those practice tests to me is just crucial. You need to practice for time. Time is your worst enemy. So, I’m very adamant that my students practice.
Boyd: Great advice.
Laureen: I think I missed some credentials, right?
Tamara: Yeah, just a few, so we can just leave it.
Laureen: Alright. We joke a lot in CCO about the various credentials that we can get and I said it reminds me of the Girl Scout, you know that sash and you go collect the badges. It’s like, we’ve got these sashes with all of our badges, so Tammy has a lot more than what I put up there, but she was graceful enough to jump in and help us out tonight because our guest we had lined up, something came up and they had to postpone until next month. So, thanks Tammy. It was really good to hear from you. Hopefully, we’re going to have you on as one of our question answerers so… Thanks again and we’ll talk to you soon.
Tamara: Thank you. You have a good night.
Alicia: They’re asking what state is Tamara because she has such an accent.
Tamara: Oh, my gosh. I don’t think my accent comes from Louisiana but that’s where I live. I’m from North Carolina. I think I sound more like a North Carolinian than I do Louisianian.
Alicia: There you go Mary, now you know she is a southerner. She is a fellow southerner.
Tamara: Very much so.
Laureen: Beautiful lady too. I met her in person at the last AAPC conference and she’s a lovely lady. Thanks, Tammy.
Tamara: You’re welcome. I’ll talk to you later.