For some people, it's easy for them to find a job after completing their education while others struggle to find a job. For those without a job and those with limited resources, I want to share a few ways to stay current with medical coding and the constant changes that occur.
Ways to Stay Current with Medical Coding:
The first way to stay current is by attending monthly meetings and webinars. Meetings and webinars give you a chance to see real case scenarios, earn continuing education units, win coding materials/resources, and network with fellow coders about current job openings. Your local chapter meetings are excellent, low-cost (if not free) options for doing all of this and the best opportunity to network with those in your area who may know of job openings, etc.
Practicode is another great way for inexperienced coders to earn experience and demonstrate proficiency to potential employers. Practicode is a resource available for purchase through AAPC or Certification Coaching Org (cco.us). Practicode allows coders to select a specific specialty or to select a variety of specialties in which to practice their coding skills. The system is composed of practice cases which are all real-world coding scenarios redacted and turned into a sort of testing scenario. The system tracks the coder’s responses and provides a report at the end of the number of cases coded along with the coder’s accuracy. Medical facilities are looking for coders with at least three years of coding experience and this is an excellent way to start a portfolio to show potential employers your skills even though you may not yet have any in-office coding experience. For coders with the apprentice designation attached to their credential (CPC-A), Practicode is a way to remove the Apprentice designation. The AAPC does recognize Practicode as “real-world” experience and has a system by which a coder can earn enough credit to no longer be an Apprentice. Their system requires 600 cases be coded with an accuracy of 70% or higher in order to meet the requirements for removing the Apprentice designation. For those individuals looking for coding resources on a budget, there are some free online resources. Three of my favorites are E/M University, justcode.org, and amerihealth.com.
Another way to stay current may be to volunteer at your local healthcare facilities. Some facilities do take on volunteers to give them a chance to learn medical software, get training, and acquire experience the volunteer can add to their resume. When positions become available, these facilities often go on to hire the volunteers they feel did the best job. However, with all the privacy laws and regulations in place today, the number of facilities taking on volunteers is limited.
While sometimes it can get discouraging looking for a job, don't give up stay focused, keep a positive attitude, and remember to be professional at all times – especially on social media.
Good luck and happy hunting!
~ Bobbie Louis, CPC-A
Reverse Code Review Processor at Auto Injury Solutions