Need Advice Regarding RHIT/RHIA Education

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valentine in Salt Lake City, Utah

57 months ago

AHIMA?? in Fremont, California said: I have been uncovering the truth about this country for some time, and I realize what I am say sounds "nuts" to those who blindly believing everything at the face value.

I will not post anymore "nutty" statements in this forum since it does nobody any good. Further, I do not have justifiable reasons to waste my time anymore.

People falsely believe they are "free" when they invest most of their time on watching TV or illicit activities without realizing that liberty takes lots of hard work.

I'm not saying you are nuts, I am saying you are coming off a little strong, to the point where you will turn off potential people to listening to you. I believe what you are saying is true, and even said it in my previous post.

I wasn't downplaying what you were saying when I said that healthcare is a relatively stable field, I was just saying that it is not completely hopeless yet.

I appreciate you trying to help people be aware that things are not as they seem and they should not believe everything they are told.

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AHIMA?? in Fremont, California

57 months ago

AHIMA?? in Fremont, California said: I have been uncovering the truth about this country for some time, and I realize what I am say sounds "nuts" to those who blindly believing everything at the face value.

I will not post anymore "nutty" statements in this forum since it does nobody any good. Further, I do not have justifiable reasons to waste my time anymore.

People falsely believe they are "free" when they invest most of their time on watching TV or illicit activities without realizing that liberty takes lots of hard work.

Lastly I will say this:

Men will not say "I just want to have sex with you". What do they say instead? "I love you."

Likewise, those who teach at colleges and universities will NEVER tell you that what you will "learn" MAY NOT help you in the future. Do you know the reason why? Because you are their livelihood. Got it? They need you as much as a dracula needs blood. The fact that you are on this forum "wondering" wheather or not there is a future for this profession is the answer. And the truth is that no one knows what the future holds for anyone. We don't even know if this country called the United States of America will survive becuase our "elected" officials are not able to think on behalf of its people.

So start opening your eyes, ears and mind, so your chances of suvival increase.

God Bless!

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valentine in Salt Lake City, Utah

57 months ago

AHIMA?? in Fremont, California said: Lastly I will say this:

Men will not say "I just want to have sex with you". What do they say instead? "I love you."

Likewise, those who teach at colleges and universities will NEVER tell you that what you will "learn" MAY NOT help you in the future. Do you know the reason why? Because you are their livelihood. Got it? They need you as much as a dracula needs blood. The fact that you are on this forum "wondering" wheather or not there is a future for this profession is the answer. And the truth is that no one knows what the future holds for anyone. We don't even know if this country called the United States of America will survive becuase our "elected" officials are not able to think on behalf of its people.

So start opening your eyes, ears and mind, so your chances of suvival increase.

God Bless!

K, I am done. I have been a successful coder for 6 years, I come on this forum to give advice and to help people understand this field.

Not entirely sure what your objective is, but good luck with it.

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AHIMA?? in Fremont, California

57 months ago

valentine in Salt Lake City, Utah said: K, I am done. I have been a successful coder for 6 years, I come on this forum to give advice and to help people understand this field.

Not entirely sure what your objective is, but good luck with it.

I will just say that “healthcare reform” is yet another “mortgage meltdown”. They were both “orchestrated” so that a hand full of people could make Billions of Dollars at the expense of honest hard-working Americans.
Congratulations for starting out your coding career early enough so that you were not affected by the economic crisis when you were starting out. But the current economic situations are different for those who are starting out or are still in school. This is why one must proceed with caution and not believe everything that is being fed to us. I do work in healthcare field with little coding, but I am not a coder. My day to day experience is that there is constant change, always in search of “better” ways of doing things. One could say that this is positive, but another way of looking at it is that no one knows what the heck they are talking about but afraid to say it just like the story of “the king has no cloth”. I believe HIM staffing is stripped to bare bone for the sake of survival for hospitals right now, and it is my sense that things are not getting any better for anyone, including doctors and nurses. I know coders are not concerned about the numbers/bottom lines, but that is where one can peek into the reality in my opinion.

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codergirl in West Chester, Ohio

57 months ago

This comment is for Tweety in Grove City, Ohio. Tweety, I have been in the HIM field since the early 1990's and I would say that right now I would not suggest a career in this dying field. Case in point I have seen salaries decrease, yes, decrease. Most coders make $16-17/hr. work and work under unbelieveable productivity standards and rules that change constantly. We are highly educated people but, because we work in financial reimbursement, they are always cutting salary costs and demand more and more credentials that are extremely expensive to maintain. What we are paid and what is expected of us does not equal out. I believe in the very near future with voice recogniation software, coding will dramatically change as the codes will be picked up by a physician dictation, coders will then become auditors of already coded documentation, and less coders will be needed. It is happening now throughout the US. Coding is also being turned over more and more to MD's who use automated charge capturing software to code in hospitals. If you are interested in the future of HIM and where it is truly going it will be the world of IT that will take over what most of us are doing now. In fact, there are schools currently setting up IT certification programs to help the current "medical records" people tranfer into the new HIM/IT work world. So, that is it, I would not go into HIM and earn either a RHIT, RHIA, CCS etc. It is a dying field. You could make a lot more money going studying IT and then applying that to the needs of the medical field.

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mike in Vassar, Kansas

57 months ago

I am wondering, you mentioned IT program should be replace medical coder spot. so what kind of IT program will be replace as medical coder spot?
so you mean, all that medical coder program , RHIT, RHIA those accredit degree or program are wasting money and time?

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Tweety in Grove City, Ohio

57 months ago

Thanks, codergirl. I am a medical transcriptionist and has been for the past 8 years. The reason why I am switching to coding is because voice recognition has taken over our jobs, and it is happening really fast, but I never thought about the possibility of the codes being picked up by VR, too. I just registered for a coding course as part of the AAS in HIT program. I also have an AAS in Computer Info Systems and had always thought about pursuing a Bachelors in Health Informatics which is more geared toward IT. Thanks again. Let me do some thinking here.

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valentine in Salt Lake City, Utah

57 months ago

codergirl in West Chester, Ohio said: .

I know this is the scare that everyone is worried about, but I am sorry, I just don't believe it. This type of software is just too inaccurate. There are too many situations where you need logical reasoning to determine which codes to use, software is not that smart.

I do not believe this field is dying. And compare it to other fields that are actually dying, this one is actually quite healthy and alive.

I agree that as coders we should gain as much knowledge and experience in other aspects as we can, but there is a difference in offering someone to gain more education and trying to scare them.

Besides, the real threat to coding is outsourcing.

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RHIT student in Franklin, Ohio

57 months ago

An HIM degree RHIT, RHIA certifications aren't coding certifications. There are a lot of jobs you can do in the HIM field besides coding. I plan on going into Cancer Registry.

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mwebb in Mission Viejo, California

57 months ago

applicant in Glen Head, New York said: My goal is to return to work after being a stay at home mom. I am 50 something and my husband of 25 years wants a divorce. I reside in a NYC suburb. I have a bachelor degree in Biology /Psychology and some work experience as a cardiac technician, but lack current cardiac credentialing. My extensive knowledge of medical terminology, anatomy and physiology is leading me to consider the field of health information management. So my questions are:
1.) Will I be able to get a job in this field without experience and what would the starting salary be?
2.) Given that I have a BA degree, what credentials should I seek to get me a job quickly with a salary sufficient to live on?

Any suggestions appreciated. Thank you.

I am so sorry to hear about what is going on in your personal life. But, with regard to your degree and career goals, have you considered the Cancer Registry profession? If you are detailed, analytical and like "digging into" the clinical side of patient care, particularly with cancer patients, this could be an exciting career for you. There is a great one-hour free teleseminar that is offered to talk more about this profession and coaching to help you decide if it is a 'right fit' for you before jumping into the program headlong. Go to www.CancerRegistryTraining.com and you can get more info. Good luck!

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mwebb in Mission Viejo, California

57 months ago

RHIT student in Franklin, Ohio said: An HIM degree RHIT, RHIA certifications aren't coding certifications. There are a lot of jobs you can do in the HIM field besides coding. I plan on going into Cancer Registry.

Good for you! We need more dedicated and passionate cancer registrars in the field!

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mwebb in Mission Viejo, California

57 months ago

linda@columbia in Columbia, Missouri said: Does anyone know about cancer Registrar. i am going to take my RHIT exam in June

Linda - most definitely. I am a Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR) with over 12 years in the field and 25+ in healthcare. The best way to learn more is to go to www.CancerRegistryTraining.com and sign up for a free one-hour teleseminar where we go over all the "nuts and bolts" of how to become a registrar before you invest any of your resources into a program. It's a GREAT profession but one needs to approach it from the right angles to get there fast. Hope this helps!

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estacion in Washington, District of Columbia

57 months ago

Is the Cancer Registry field recommended only for those with Medical background and experience?

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mwebb in Mission Viejo, California

57 months ago

estacion in Washington, District of Columbia said: Is the Cancer Registry field recommended only for those with Medical background and experience?[/QUOTE

Hi estacion! Not necessarily. If you don't have that background there are a number of different ways to get education and training for it. It would be more important that you are detailed, analytical, passionate about your work, interested in cancer and/or healthcare, etc. You may want to listen in on a free one-hour teleseminar to get more info, it's a great way to learn more. GO to www.CancerRegistryTraining.com to register if you want to learn more.

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estacion in Washington, District of Columbia

57 months ago

mwebb in Mission Viejo, California said:

I will!! Thank you!

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Applicant in Glen Head, New York

57 months ago

I started this thread 15 months ago. I did begin my education a year ago. It is 100% online and will take me 2 years to complete. My program requires students to take all the biology classes before beginning the coding classes. I am sure this is because the biology classes are rigorous and if you are not willing to put in the time you will have difficulty passing them. The amount of knowledge you have to learn can be overwhelming at times. I feel as if it is a good fit for me, however if I were 30 years younger I would definately seek a bachelors in nursing degree. The pay would be higher and the nursing degree would provide more employment opportunites.

In terms of a cancer register job, how does the pay compare to a coding job? Also, since hospitals only employ one tumor register person, isn't it even more difficult to get this type of employment?

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mwebb in Mission Viejo, California

57 months ago

Applicant in Glen Head, New York said: I started this thread 15 months ago. I did begin my education a year ago. It is 100% online and will take me 2 years to complete. My program requires students to take all the biology classes before beginning the coding classes. I am sure this is because the biology classes are rigorous and if you are not willing to put in the time you will have difficulty passing them. The amount of knowledge you have to learn can be overwhelming at times. I feel as if it is a good fit for me, however if I were 30 years younger I would definately seek a bachelors in nursing degree. The pay would be higher and the nursing degree would provide more employment opportunites.

In terms of a cancer register job, how does the pay compare to a coding job? Also, since hospitals only employ one tumor register person, isn't it even more difficult to get this type of employment?[/QUOTE

To become a certified cancer registrar one does need to have a two-year degree in allied health. Many community colleges now offer a Cancer Information Management A.S. degree and they should be accredited by the National Cancer Registrar's Association. As for the biology degree for coding it may be a bit differ by school but essentially students take a cancer disease mgmt course which is all about cancer cell biology, etc. The purpose of these classes isn't to weed folks out but rather that you need that knowledge in order to code, classify and abstract cases.

I hear you about being 30 years younger - and I know just how hard it can be for us "Boomers" to go back to school, but hang in there - it will be worth it! As for the pay, there is such a wide range across the United States based on years of experience, certification, formal education and so forth. Ballpark, it could be anywhere from upper 30's to 80-90K if you work in larger facilities. BTW, hospitals staff to cancer patient volume so they are not limited to one per facility. Hope that helps!

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Applicant in Glen Head, New York

57 months ago

mwebb in Mission Viejo, California said:

mwebb
Thank you for the cancer registry info. Perhaps I would be better off getting a masters in HIT since I already have an unrelated bachelors degree and will have an AA in HIT. I didn't realize it would take another 8 classes, beyond an AA degree in HIT, to become a tumor registrar. I do think I would enjoy the work of a tumor registrar, because I have always enjoyed research, and math is my best subject and I would think it could include some statistical work.

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mwebb in Mission Viejo, California

57 months ago

app in Glen Head
Just a suggestion but if you think you would enjoy cancer registry perhaps you want to explore this a bit more. With an AA in HIT and an unrelated bachelors degree, many of those credits would count and/or courses could be waived. So, you really don't know your exact path / route to becoming a cancer registrar yet until you explore this a bit further. As with anything we do in life what is most important is to decide what it is that you like or want to do and where you want to be in your life in the future. Then, completely explore all those avenues and pick your best options. This is a lot of what we do in the Cancer Registry Career Guide coaching system that I offer. Better to do this upfront than to invest resources and realize it isn't what you like. I love my career, the clinical and scientific aspects, the behind-the-scenes involvement in patient care, statistical analysis and so forth. So, don't count it out yet and perhaps you want to explore it before you get a masters. Just my two cents worth ...

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codergirl in West Chester, Ohio

57 months ago

Hello Everyone,
Regarding where HIM is going just read the current Journal Of AHIMA, it is nothing but IT, and the implementation of the EHR. Also, check out the 2 year schools that produce HIM grads. They all are starting their certificate programs for HIM/IT training because the the ARRA. As for coding still being a viable profession. I personally know of 3 coders who lost their jobs to automated coding software programs that are used by MD's who hand select their codes on mini PDA's. Are these codes right, many are for sure not, as we know that the MD's do not know the coding guidelines etc. but, this was a $250,000 software program that the organization purchased, they did not keep any of the coders on to be validaters or auditors for errors. The future for coders will be to become consultants or auditors but, that means constant traveling and being away from home. Not what I call condusive to a good family life. That is why I say IT is the new HIM because it is. The schools will not tell you this, because it is not profitable to admit to this, but, yes, do some work and you will see this is the truth. Also, Cancer Registry is a great field, but, when you think that only one is employed per hospital, there is just not that many job openings here. Most that I know of land their job and stay forever as they know there just is not that many openings. In the are I come from even some cover two hospitals in a hospital system.

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valentine in Salt Lake City, Utah

57 months ago

codergirl in West Chester, Ohio said:
I am curious what this company's plan is for reimbursement and fraud prevention? They did not keep anyone who could correct incorrect claims? or are they relying solely on billers to fix everything? Them getting rid of their coders is stupid on so many levels.

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AHIMA?? in Fremont, California

57 months ago

codergirl in West Chester, Ohio said: Hello Everyone,
Regarding where HIM is going just read the current Journal Of AHIMA, it is nothing but IT, and the implementation of the EHR. Also, check out the 2 year schools that produce HIM grads. They all are starting their certificate programs for HIM/IT training because the the ARRA. As for coding still being a viable profession. I personally know of 3 coders who lost their jobs to automated coding software programs that are used by MD's who hand select their codes on mini PDA's. Are these codes right, many are for sure not, as we know that the MD's do not know the coding guidelines etc. but, this was a $250,000 software program that the organization purchased, they did not keep any of the coders on to be validaters or auditors for errors. The future for coders will be to become consultants or auditors but, that means constant traveling and being away from home. Not what I call condusive to a good family life. That is why I say IT is the new HIM because it is. The schools will not tell you this, because it is not profitable to admit to this, but, yes, do some work and you will see this is the truth. Also, Cancer Registry is a great field, but, when you think that only one is employed per hospital, there is just not that many job openings here. Most that I know of land their job and stay forever as they know there just is not that many openings. In the are I come from even some cover two hospitals in a hospital system.

Truth will set us free. Thank you for your post. It is too bad that schools are acting like thugs in this country.

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mwebb in Mission Viejo, California

57 months ago

Hi AHIMA in Fremont ... while I can't speak to what is happening in HIM I can address your comment about Cancer Registry and just would like to clarify that it is not always one registrar per hospital. If someone told you that it would be only because that may have been their hospital but that is not true for across the nation. Cancer Registry is generally staffed for volume, meaning about 1 full time registrar for every 350-500 patients or so. As for the job outlook, Boomers are retiring and not enough people coming into the field so the outlook is fantastic. If anyone tells you otherwise they do not understand the business or they are pulling your leg, seriously.

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lellerbrock1 in Denver, Colorado

57 months ago

Polly in Houston, Texas said: I graduated last year with an AAS degree in Health Information Management, and still have not found a job. Most hospitals want experience, which besides 2 clinicals at hospitals in the medical records dept, I do not have. Truthfully, I would find something else to do. I graduated with a 3.91 GPA, and was in Phi Theta Kappa, and still No job. After a while this becomes depressing. I will probably go back to school soon, for another degree. It gets tiring beating your head against the wall. I believe this degree is not all that I was lead to believe that it was, and I wish I would have known this before I wasted my time and energy on what I feel like now is a use less degree.

Polly, where did you attend school? What jobs have you applied for? Have you found a HIT job yet?

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AHIMA?? in Fremont, California

57 months ago

mwebb in Mission Viejo, California said: Hi AHIMA in Fremont ... while I can't speak to what is happening in HIM I can address your comment about Cancer Registry and just would like to clarify that it is not always one registrar per hospital. If someone told you that it would be only because that may have been their hospital but that is not true for across the nation. Cancer Registry is generally staffed for volume, meaning about 1 full time registrar for every 350-500 patients or so. As for the job outlook, Boomers are retiring and not enough people coming into the field so the outlook is fantastic. If anyone tells you otherwise they do not understand the business or they are pulling your leg, seriously.

In Northern Cal where I live, there seems to be almost no need for cancer registry for some reason. The fact that no hospital has came through for externship does not look good for the entire HIM professionals, especially for AHIMA. They require so much from students and deliver almost nothing for us; things are not adding up right. Those who are already in the field seem to dwell on what is lacking from those who are entering the field without providing sufficient support to "groom" us.

When I asked one of the students in my class about the reality of HIM job market, he told me that the need for RHIT is there only for those who have HOSPITAL experience. So if you are already working for a hospital, it must be promossing. Otherwise, I would suggest looking elsewhere. I think Medical Assisting is much better for those who are seeking job opportunities.

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Shannon in Dayton, Ohio

57 months ago

Hi I am going to be attending a CAHIMM Accred. School Starting in September and alot of my credits will transfer from my previous degree. However; I want to do Cancer Registry. Would I be able to do that with a HIT degree? Would I have to take another Degree for CIM? Or, would I just have to take some extra classes as well. Thank you!

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Shannon in Dayton, Ohio

57 months ago

Oh I read you have to take 8 extra classes after the HIT degree to become a Cancer Register? Is that true??

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lellerbrock1 in Denver, Colorado

57 months ago

I too am possibly interested in that avenue. I'm a sophomore in college in the HIT program. I will be taking the cancer registry courses after I graduate with my A.A.S. in Health Information Management.

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mike in Vassar, Kansas

57 months ago

I am going to finish HIT next summer. yes, I am interesig cancer registry too, it posssible can I do both same time, I can start CTR with HIT program. I know it make me more busy.
I want to know that CTR program cost.

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RHIT student in Franklin, Ohio

57 months ago

mike in Vassar, Kansas said: I am going to finish HIT next summer. yes, I am interesig cancer registry too, it posssible can I do both same time, I can start CTR with HIT program. I know it make me more busy.
I want to know that CTR program cost.

Once you finish your RHIT program you can take a few extra coures through AHIMA's CTR program. They waive the pre-reqs if you have your RHIT. Then you have to do a 160 hour internship and after that you are eligible to take the CTR exam.

I think it would be a good idea to get your RHIT and CTR. I've looked at many CTR job postings and it seems they prefer both but technically you only need a CTR certification.

I'm also going to do the CTR program though AHIMA once I finish my HIT program next summer. Good luck.

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RHIT student in Franklin, Ohio

57 months ago

Shannon in Dayton, Ohio said: Oh I read you have to take 8 extra classes after the HIT degree to become a Cancer Register? Is that true??

You can do this through AHIMA. It shouldn't be that many classes then you do a 160 hour internship at a hospital. Kettering is a hospital that will allow an intern. After you complete the course and internship you can take the CTR exam.

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codergirl in West Chester, Ohio

57 months ago

Hello,
Regarding the organization that eliminated the coding positions, I was told that the company was going to allow the billers to oversee the automated coding of the MD's. The reality of this situation is that they were paying the billers $5.00 less per hour than the coders. Credentials did not make any difference, as the billers were self taught, and even though they themselves made errors that the coders had to fix, and clearly did not have the educational background the end product was that they worked cheaper than the coders. Also, if you do some serious research there are companies all throughout the US that taut unbelieveable coding accuracy rates and 24 hr. turnaround time to hospitals and physician practices. These companies are sending the coding to India where most of the transcription is now going,too. They promise that all coding is done by either credentialed RHIT, RHIA or CCS, how this is achieved I do not know. This is what has happened to transcription positions now it is with coding. In order to make a great living being a coder, the money is in consulting work, where you get top dollar for your skills, all expenses paid for travel, laptops, and a wide benefit package. However, once doing this type of work the statement "once a consultant always a consultant" is true. By this I mean that once you earn these very high salaries, no hospital will hire you as an inhouse coder. Simply, because they can not match your salary, and most won't even talk to you. And, they feel that if hired you will not stay for very long. Odd, but, true.

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codergirl in West Chester, Ohio

57 months ago

Just one other thing I want to say about the HIM field. It is a VERY difficult field to get in to. I know of 2 older woman who were dupped into believing if they got their CCA from the AHIMA all types of coding positions would be opened to them. It is just not true, they remain billers, because this credential does not do what the AHIMA says it will. Very sad for these ladies to find this out. It is even VERY difficult for new RHIT, RHIA grads to get a step into the door. You have to be a top student, rely on some of your teachers to try to pull some strings and above all NETWORK in everyway possible and yes, even work for free i.e. known as volunteering. But, who can afford to do this in this economy? While you might obtain a biller's job somewhere that valuable HOSPITAL EXPERIENCE is needed to work in one. And, here is another valuable thing to remember. ONCE in this field, you must stay current with your employment. If say you leave the hospital environment to say work in the insurance industry then in a few years want to come back into the coding hospital environment you will not be hired back. Why? Because you are not considered current and up to date with coding rules, regs and changes and experienced working in a hospital. These jobs are all tied in to the hospitals revenue system, and right now they need every dollar. They will tell you straight up that they CAN NOT afford to hire someone that does not know every new code and rule. Even the job ads say this, "most have 3 years CURRENT coding experience". Would I go into this field knowing what I do now, NO! It has changed dramatically since I began many, many years ago, it is all about productivity, no variety in your job. You just set for 8 hours a day coding as fast as you can, and yes, well, don't make any mistakes while at it too! Or else. After awhile it can get very boring, that is why some leave, but, then you NEVER will get the opportunity to get back in so make these decisions wisely.

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mwebb in Mission Viejo, California

57 months ago

You may or may not have to take some additonal courses. There are variables to take into consideration which include your background, why type of degree you have (or not) and so forth. This is all info that we go over in my coaching program because all that, combined with what school and type you use makes a difference. If you're at all interested in cancer registry it's worth checking out.

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mwebb in Mission Viejo, California

57 months ago

As I've mentioned previously on this forum you have to take into consideration what degree you have (or not) formal education you've already completed and match that to the schools. Cost is variable based on school, location and number of courses you need to take so very difficult to just toss a number out there.

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mwebb in Mission Viejo, California

57 months ago

Most hospitals with cancer registry programs will "allow" an internship. The trick is how to find them, approach them and "sell" yourself as a worthy candidate. This is all material that I cover in my coaching program. Some myths you will hear out there are that only one registrar is per hospital and that not all offer internships. Don't let that stop you because it is probably not true. If you are at all serious about this profession find someone to help you through these little talked about ways to get your foot in the door.

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valentine in Salt Lake City, Utah

57 months ago

codergirl in West Chester, Ohio said: Hello,
Regarding the organization that eliminated the coding positions, I was told that the company was going to allow the billers to oversee the automated coding of the MD's. The reality of this situation is that they were paying the billers $5.00 less per hour than the coders. Credentials did not make any difference, as the billers were self taught, and even though they themselves made errors that the coders had to fix, and clearly did not have the educational background the end product was that they worked cheaper than the coders. Also, if you do some serious research there are companies all throughout the US that taut unbelieveable coding accuracy rates and 24 hr. turnaround time to hospitals and In .

The company I worked out when I first started, I was data entry, they did not hire any certified coders because they thought it was cheaper to not, and it didn't matter. The billers, who had very little knowledge themselves had NO idea of what was wrong with claims or what needed to be done in order to correct them. This organization lost so much revenue due to wrong coding.

I got certified thinking this would be a great step for me as for the company as I would be able to enter in charges accurately and help the billers. I was wrong. I was told they do not employee certified coders, so my pay would have to stay the same as if I was just data entry. I left. and I still keep in contact with some of those coworkers and they still struggle with not knowing how or what to correct.

It amazes me that employers still do not recognize that value of having a certified, experienced and knowledgable coder. Especially with the new RAC that is coming out, you would think more than ever they would want competent coders. So frustrating!

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AHIMA?? in Fremont, California

57 months ago

valentine in Salt Lake City, Utah said: The company I worked out when I first started, I was data entry, they did not hire any certified coders because they thought it was cheaper to not, and it didn't matter. The billers, who had very little knowledge themselves had NO idea of what was wrong with claims or what needed to be done in order to correct them. This organization lost so much revenue due to wrong coding.

I got certified thinking this would be a great step for me as for the company as I would be able to enter in charges accurately and help the billers. I was wrong. I was told they do not employee certified coders, so my pay would have to stay the same as if I was just data entry. I left. and I still keep in contact with some of those coworkers and they still struggle with not knowing how or what to correct.

It amazes me that employers still do not recognize that value of having a certified, experienced and knowledgable coder. Especially with the new RAC that is coming out, you would think more than ever they would want competent coders. So frustrating!

I would like to suggest to you to start your own business by working directly with physicians. In time you will develop enough clientele that will allow you to generate enough income on your own.

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valentine in Salt Lake City, Utah

57 months ago

AHIMA?? in Fremont, California said: I would like to suggest to you to start your own business by working directly with physicians. In time you will develop enough clientele that will allow you to generate enough income on your own.

thank you, but I am no where near ready for that yet, but I have found a good employer who values their coders and I have helped me learn and grow as a coder. Maybe one day, I will be ready to set out on my own.

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RHIT student in Franklin, Ohio

57 months ago

I think the biggest mistake a lot of people make about a coding job is that it will be easy to obtain once you graduate. Look through some postings from people who did the 3-6 months coding courses. Thats another mistake, it takes years to become a good coder. Its not easy work.

Another one is that the coding we do in school, while challenging, is nothing like what it will be on the job. I think this relates to a lot of postings where people say "I did so well in school" "I got a 4.0 gpa but can't find a job". If it was that easy everyone would have a job.

Volunteering is a great way to network. I think some people don't realize that volunteering can be a great way to network. Its not all delivering flowers and cards.

Then there is the subject of technology. My school teaches us how to use encoders but a few tech schools around here don't teach it.

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valentine in Salt Lake City, Utah

57 months ago

RHIT student in Franklin, Ohio said: I think the biggest mistake a lot of people make about a coding job is that it will be easy to obtain once you graduate. Look through some postings from people who did the 3-6 months coding courses. Thats another mistake, it takes years to become a good coder. Its not easy work.

Another one is that the coding we do in school, while challenging, is nothing like what it will be on the job. I think this relates to a lot of postings where people say "I did so well in school" "I got a 4.0 gpa but can't find a job". If it was that easy everyone would have a job.

great points. The coding programs (especially the 6-9 month ones) only teach the very basics, and it is not enough for you to get a coding job, much less a home coding job. Coding is very indepth, it takes a long time to be familiar and comfortable to correctly assign correct codes for procedures, E/M and diagnosis.

Many schools mislead the students are far as the job market, and the difficulties they will face in acquiring their first job. While it is wrong of the schools to do this, be proactive and do your own research. A few minutes of research will show that most job openings are for requiring certified coders with at least 2 years experience.

You bring up a good point on the encoders, I have been seeing on job postings lately that employers prefer you to already know how to navigate an encoder.

I have also seen a lot of posters saying that they graduated with "honors" or "high honors" I think this is something the schools have made up, I do not believe most employers care if you graduated with these distinctions, I think they only care about experience and certifications.

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Tweety in Grove City, Ohio

57 months ago

To RHIT in Franklin, Ohio

I would like to volunteer in an HIM department of a hospital if I can find one. Most of the hospitals here won't accept volunteers in their HIM dept because of HIPAA regulations, but they'll accept you for other volunteer work. I've called a few already. They all said "No." I am thinking of calling private practice physicians and try my luck. Will physician office coding experience count? Otherwise, I won't bother to look for one. My goal is to be able to do remote coding from home. Thanks!

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mwebb in Mission Viejo, California

57 months ago

Tweety - you are correct in that many hospitals are skittish about HIPAA requirements. So, here's a creative alternative. Go back to the hospital you spoke to and sign up to become a volunteer through whatever department manages their volunteer program system-wide. When you do that, most hospitals have the volunteer sign all the appropriate HIPAA paperwork and so forth. Then, ask to be assigned to the HIM / coding sections. If you are straight up about this and what you want to accomplish you may just be successful. If you contact the HIM directly the results are different. Just a thought but it's one that uses how the hosptial systems are designed vs asking for support to do something out of the ordinary. Good luck!

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RHIT student in Franklin, Ohio

57 months ago

Tweety in Grove City, Ohio said: To RHIT in Franklin, Ohio

I would like to volunteer in an HIM department of a hospital if I can find one. Most of the hospitals here won't accept volunteers in their HIM dept because of HIPAA regulations, but they'll accept you for other volunteer work. I've called a few already. They all said "No." I am thinking of calling private practice physicians and try my luck. Will physician office coding experience count? Otherwise, I won't bother to look for one. My goal is to be able to do remote coding from home. Thanks!

I'd try physicians offices but also try contacting the HIM department directly. If you tell them what your interested in, career goal, or what you went to school for or are going for they may be more willing to let you volunteer.

They are right about HIPAA. If you do get a volunteer job you probably won't be able to code records but you'll get to see the enviornment, make contacts, get advice, etc.

Maybe try to ask if you can job shadow to get yourself in and then ask about volunteering. Volunteer to do anything staple papers, get coffee, type, anything.

Also if you have any personal friends who are nurses, doctors, dentists, etc ask them to be on the lookout for any jobs, internships or if they know anyone that is looking for volunteers.

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AHIMA?? in Fremont, California

57 months ago

Every one of the so called professions prey upon getting new hires that are current and up to date in their skills. And they do not open the administrative aspects of the job to you as you think they will once you have an RHIT and RHIA degrees. Unfortunately, data entry is all they are interested in; they are willing to exploit you and use you and set standards of perfection for your data entry and that is all they care about, not about administrative leadership or leadership in the decisions most left up to professionals in this field. Breaking in the job is almost impossible. And as for college tuition that is $15,000 - $25,000, well that is just ridiculous for the amount you will make in this field ($15/per hour at the most). One always has to realize that the entry level jobs are not paid top wages and moreover, the economy is not going to expand enough in the next few years to permit those with even the best qualifications to make salaries that will reimburse them for large sums paid out for education.
Something has to be done about the promises that the Universities nationwide make to students with regard to jobs. Much of my training in college was totally useless when I got into the field of elementary school teaching. The theory and the practice are quite separate indeed. While you can strive for perfection in theoretical realms, you cannot achieve it in a classroom unless your entire school is committed to measuring progress from a point certain to test a unified curriculum.

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AHIMA?? in Fremont, California

57 months ago

finance.yahoo.com/career-work/article/110277/some-firms-struggle-to-hire-despite-high-unemployment

According to the WSJ of analysis Labor Department Data, health services hiring is in the negative.

Take a look at the chart "Hiring Trouble" in the above site.

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codergirl in West Chester, Ohio

57 months ago

Coders make about $16-18 hr on average, coding consultants with many, many years of experience $25-30 hr depending on the company you work for, and it is travel, travel, travel, very hard work. I know of two people making $65,000+ a year, 5 years post college working in the IT departments at hospitals. Enough said.

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Tweety in Grove City, Ohio

57 months ago

Codegirl, do you know anyone who does remote coding from home? I am curious to know how they are paid (per report or per hour), working hours, quota, etc. What do employers prefer, CCS or CPC certification?

Thanks!

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RHIT student in Franklin, Ohio

57 months ago

Tweety in Grove City, Ohio said: Codegirl, do you know anyone who does remote coding from home? I am curious to know how they are paid (per report or per hour), working hours, quota, etc. What do employers prefer, CCS or CPC certification?

Thanks!

From the jobs ads I've seen they want a CCS and experience wise I've seen anywhere from 3-5 years. 3 years is generally the minimum if not more.

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codergirl in West Chester, Ohio

57 months ago

Tweety, yes, I know a few that work from home, but, they are hospital employees who are allowed to work from home as a benefit, so they make the same hourly rate that they made when working in the hospital. Most just have the RHIT, some have both RHIT and CCS. I do know of one person who is an RHIT that works from home as a remote contractor but, it is not what she thought it would be as the work is not constant, sometimes she has more work than she can get to and other times there is nothing. She is strictly paid on productivity. It is sorta like having a part time job, or like having a PRN (as needed) job , you never know when you will have work. Hard to budget time and money with this type of iffy work. It is like being a traveling consultant, you go from project to project. I know some consultants who work constantly, because they are fearful that the jobs will stop. That is why most sign up with two companies and even then there might be some dry spells. And, your job is not secure as a consultant because if you want to take off for a week or so for vacation, there is no guarantee that you will go back to the same consultant job that you had, as they fill it with other consultants. The job can end without warning as most are to eliminate coding backlog, and are short term contracts and once caught up, the job is over, or until the hospital can find a in house coder to hire. It can then be immediately that you are reassigned elsewhere or several weeks where you are home with no work. If you are they type that depends on that weekly paycheck, remote and consultant work is probably not for you.

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