Medical Coding advice please!!

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Jesse in Chandler, Arizona

47 months ago

I am thinking about getting my AAS degree in Health Information Technology and was just wondering if anyone can tell me if it is worth pursuing. And if anyone can tell me why they love their job or why they hate it. Thanks!

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valentine in Salt Lake City, Utah

47 months ago

Jesse in Chandler, Arizona said: I am thinking about getting my AAS degree in Health Information Technology and was just wondering if anyone can tell me if it is worth pursuing. And if anyone can tell me why they love their job or why they hate it. Thanks!

Here is the thing about this field, it is currently over saturated with new grads with no experience. Most employers prefer to hire candidates with 2 years experience, so new grads have some hurdles after graduating.

As to whether its worth it, it depends a lot on you. If you are willing to tough it, start at the bottom and make less than you feel you deserve until you finally get your break, then it is definitely worth it. Otherwise, it may not be for you. But if you are aware of the hurdles before hand, I think it will make it less disappointing when you come to them.

This is such a great field, and after you get your initial experience, there are so many opportunities. I absolutely love what I do. Is it frustrating sometimes? yes. Is it tedious? yes. Do physicians and their terrible dictation annoy me? Definitely. But, for me, it is worth it.

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jobhuntress in New York, New York

47 months ago

I'm interested in what this field is all about too. Valentine - can you elaborate a little about what a typical job starting at the bottom is vs. what one might be doing with 2 years of experience? Thank you.

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valentine in Salt Lake City, Utah

47 months ago

jobhuntress in New York, New York said: I'm interested in what this field is all about too. Valentine - can you elaborate a little about what a typical job starting at the bottom is vs. what one might be doing with 2 years of experience? Thank you.

Starting at the bottom would be a job elsewhere in Health Information Management (HIM) such as working in medical records, doing billing/follow up, data entry or even front desk. Jobs where you will gain medical experience and become more familiar with ICD 9, CPT and reimbursement, but not doing actual coding. Usually after someone has gained the necessary experience and certification, employers will hire them to do the coding, which includes reading medical chart notes and assigning codes for the diagnosis and procedure codes, if its a smaller clinic/organization you may also do some of the billing or follow up.

Generally new coders would be in outpatient/physicians offices coding out office visits and minor procedures. The more experienced you get, you can move over to emergency dept, surgeries and even inpatient hospital coding.

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Jesse in Chandler, Arizona

47 months ago

Hi Valentine, thanks for your repsonse. I would have never thought that medical coding would be full of graduates. I've looked into just about every medical field and it's all the same. All employers are looking for someone with two or more years of experience. I guess when this economy changes it will be different.

What does an RHIT usually get paid? What type of opportunities are there for someone who enters this type of job? Do you mean management? Do employers usually prefer someone who was in nursing? It just seems like everyone wants someone who was a nurse. I'm sorry for all the questions.

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valentine in Salt Lake City, Utah

47 months ago

Jesse in Chandler, Arizona said: Hi Valentine, thanks for your repsonse. I would have never thought that medical coding would be full of graduates. I've looked into just about every medical field and it's all the same. All employers are looking for someone with two or more years of experience. I guess when this economy changes it will be different.

What does an RHIT usually get paid? What type of opportunities are there for someone who enters this type of job? Do you mean management? Do employers usually prefer someone who was in nursing? It just seems like everyone wants someone who was a nurse. I'm sorry for all the questions.

Yes, this field is definitely full of new grads. Due to all of the advertisements that schools run, more people are doing coding then ever. There are still plenty of opportunities for experienced coders, but it is hard for the new grads who most don't even have any experience with medicine at all.

RHIT's usually work in hospitals, they tend to do inpatient coding. after gaining experience a RHIT may do compliance or education. You may be a lead over a small group of coders, but usually RHIA's are HIM managers.

I haven't seen being a nurse a requirement for most coding jobs, however, when it comes to auditing, they tend to prefer nurses because they are well versed in A&P. But not being a nurse shouldn't prevent you from getting a job, not having experience probably will.

Just start at the bottom, take a lower entry job, something in medical records, etc. gain your experience and move up.

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Jesse in Scottsdale, Arizona

47 months ago

Valentine, do you work in a hospital or in outpatient? Do hospitals usually pay better? I have googled to see where I could get a bachelors degree in health information management and I can't find a school. Would someone usually get a bachelor's in health informatics or health care administration? Once someone has been doing the job for a while how much do they usually get paid?

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valentine in Salt Lake City, Utah

47 months ago

Jesse in Scottsdale, Arizona said: Valentine, do you work in a hospital or in outpatient? Do hospitals usually pay better? I have googled to see where I could get a bachelors degree in health information management and I can't find a school. Would someone usually get a bachelor's in health informatics or health care administration? Once someone has been doing the job for a while how much do they usually get paid?

I code outpatient. Hospitals tend to pay more or better (though not always) due to the fact that they are a large organization, and have more revenue coming in (unlike a small clinic, also inpatient coding is harder, it is more indepth and complex, so they pay their coders more for harder work.

As far as the degree, those are two very different things, a bachelors degree in HIM will allow you to be a manager of a HIM department of a hospital, or maybe do compliance or doctor education.

The bachelors in Health Admin is more like something you wanted to do in be a manager of a clinic and maybe be a high level hospital admin (but more than likely you'd need at least a masters for that) it all depends if your interest is in HIM or Admin.

as far as salary, according to indeeds salary calculator a RHIA in scottsdale, AZ makes like $70,000-$75,000, but I would assume that is on the high side and you'd probably be looking at more like $65,000+, but there are people who make $80,000+ in this field, there aren't many of them and they have worked hard and have a vast knowledge of HIM, but it can be done.

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Tina-N-Wisconsin in Marshfield, Wisconsin

47 months ago

@Valentine in Salt Lake City,Utah
Are there a lot of private doctor's offices in Salt Lake City? Where I live, all the doctor's are at medium to large clinics. The only private offices are eye,dental and veterinarian. I have a diploma in medical coding (specialist) and we touched on the HIM area in class. Would you advise on further HIM training and possibly moving to a better location?

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valentine in Salt Lake City, Utah

47 months ago

Tina-N-Wisconsin in Marshfield, Wisconsin said: @Valentine in Salt Lake City,Utah
Are there a lot of private doctor's offices in Salt Lake City? Where I live, all the doctor's are at medium to large clinics. The only private offices are eye,dental and veterinarian. I have a diploma in medical coding (specialist) and we touched on the HIM area in class. Would you advise on further HIM training and possibly moving to a better location?

We do have some small, private clinics still in SLC, but due to increased costs, most have joined large clincs or been bought by a hospital system. Which I'm guessing you are experiencing in wisconsin.

Here is the thing, while there is nothing wrong with furthering your education and gaining more knowledge, most new grads from the degree programs are facing the same issues as though with certificate/diplomas. Employers want experience. So if you would like to go back, that is fine, but you will probably still struggle to get that intial job.

The same thing goes for credentials. Many new grads think if they have a slew of certifications they will get hired, but credentials do not make up for lack of experience.

I can not advise about moving, it seems that most states are having issues, though some less than others. I hear wyoming has a huge shortage of HIM personnel, but then you'd have to live in wyoming :)

Have you tried getting a job elsewhere in HIM, such as medical records, billing, data entry or even front desk? it would give you the much needed medical experience.

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