Laureen: Absolutely! I was starting to write – Remote coding, when I first started to teach people and I would get asked this question a lot, I’d say, “You really need to do your time and work at least two years before you could start to even apply for remote coding positions.” But that’s changed. There are many companies now especially for risk adjustment coding where they are not only hiring a lot of remote coders, they’re willing to hire newly certified remote coders. So, they do want you to be certified but because there’s such a demand for it, and that’s not the only field. There are Aviacode, The Coding Network, I know there are some other names, but they hire remote coders. They would prefer experience, but if you’re proficient, if you have some way to demonstrate proficiency in the specialties that they’re coding for, then let them know that.
I know that AAPC has the Practicode, we used to be a reseller for Practicode, but AAPC bought it this summer and they have broken out the modules by specialty. We used to tell people when they took Practicode through our course, the medical coding practicum is, you should somehow get a proficiency score. I’m not sure if that’s how the AAPC one work, but that’s how ours work. Take that score and put that on your resume.
“I’m 92% proficient at cardiology coding,” or whatever that report is, print it out, put it in your portfolio when you go for your job interview, or include it with your cover letter and resume if you’re mailing it in. And even if you’re emailing it in as an attachment, you could still do it. They might not know what that means, they may say “What do you mean proficient?” They know what proficiency means but it might not translate to anything they ever saw. That’s your opportunity to explain it. Say, “I might not have been working for a cardiologist or cardiology practice, but I did all these cases to where I was rated being 92% proficient.” That will mean something, so use it. Don’t just do it for yourself, put it on your resume and let them ask you about it.
So, definitely, it is a career where you can work from home. But you might, depending on your area, want to start locally where you are rubbing elbows with other coders and you can learn from them. Not to say that you can’t learn remotely, CCO is completely remote and we are in touch with each other all day long asking questions, “How would you do this,” and we are definitely learning from each other.
Chandra: But not all organizations are that way. The other thing we had to keep in mind, working from home sounds wonderful, if you’ve never done it, to most people. “Oh my gosh, that would be awesome!” Well, you could be Laureen and would be begging for a door to your office, if you don’t have a door. The other thing that you’ve got to remember is working from home isn’t necessarily, doesn’t mean, “Oh, I don’t have to pay for child care anymore,” because you still have to have to hit a quota, you still have to do a lot of things, and it can actually sometimes be more intensive than if you were going to an office everyday, as far as what is demanded or what is required of you and your time.
So you definitely got to have the right mindset for it and be prepared for that. I’m somebody that’s done it off and on for years, so I totally understand that. My mom is one of those that she’s a coder, she works from home, she loves it, and the department that she works at – and she’s worked at the same hospital for years, not always as a coder, and mom started out in accounting and had done that for years and got into the coding thing about 5 or 6 years ago, but when she started in the department she was in, she had to go into the office a couple of days a week and could work from home a couple of days a week. Then, now, she’s finally to the point where she can work from home full time.
A lot of hospitals do that, they want to see you in the environment, be able to produce enough, pass your quality checks, those sorts of things, while you’re in the office with other people that can monitor your work a little more easily, answer your question, those sorts of things. And when you prove yourself, then you’ll be allowed to work from home but you still are going to have to continue to prove yourself through quotas, things like that.
Laureen: Yeah, definitely. Barb says, “I’m working in my pajamas right now!” I’ll share something funny, the other day, Boyd, Chandra – and I had this nice dressy blouse and he didn’t like the way my chair looked back here so I went to fix it and then they saw that I was actually wearing plaid jammie bottoms; so we had a good laugh about that. But, yeah, you could be comfortable working at home. They also heard me singing when we got on, “All I want for Christmas is my door to my office, door to my office,” because I’ve got four kids and I’m right here in the middle of the house and I’m too accessible. So, there are pros and cons, but me personally, I won’t trade it, I still love working from home and being remote. Other challenges are, sometimes you don’t know when to clock off; I feel like I’m always working and plugged in. It’s very hard for me to just turn the computer off because if the computer is off, then I’m off. That’s probably more of a personal balance issue than anything.
This segment “Is Medical Coding and Billing a Career Where You Can Work From Home? ” originally aired on Live with Laureen #013 on January 5th, 2017.