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joy in Los Angeles, California

70 months ago

life is so unfair...you go to school, study hard and get certified but nobody wants to give you a chance to work as a coder... how will get the experience when nobody as in NOBODY wants to give you a chance.

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RHIT Coder in Connersville, Indiana

70 months ago

Someone else posted this link, but I can't find which thread it was. While it doesn't give the 'magic answer' many are looking for, the advice it does give is extremely intelligent:

health-information.advanceweb.com/Editorial/Content/Editorial.aspx?CC=122038

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codermd@yahoo.com in Porter, Texas

69 months ago

I agree Joy. I graduated at the Herzing College in Louisiana in 07...and I have not landed a job in the medical field and/or coding. I was told that Herzing will help you land something, but, what they failed to tell you, after, you graduate you are on your own. I since moved to Texas and thought I could get an entry level position in the Big City of Houston or surrounding areas, however, nothing yet. I'm not certified, yet, but would like to study for the CCA. Maybe, this would help get my foot in the door. I don't know what else to do...no one wants to give you a chance. I spent so many $$$$$$$$'s for this career and so far I'm very upset with the path I chose for me and my family. Unemployed and struggling in Texas.....any help for a job would be great....). Tried all the job sites available and posted my resume with monster, indeed.com and snag a job. But, you have to know someone in the medical field to get your foot in the door.

Carol

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marie in Santa Monica, California

69 months ago

it's so ridiculous agencies won't even bother hiring you if you don't have any experience...just wondering, don't they know that there are a lot of people lying on their resume's with experience just to get a job...the truth is those liars were able to land jobs...stupid agencies

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codermd@yahoo.com in Porter, Texas

69 months ago

Monica, it's true. I have a friend that I spoke to in College. Now, she told me that she landed a job at a pathology office and she struggled with her coding, through-out the semester. I helped a lot with all her to get ready for testing and quizes. She would call me when we would have assignments, because, she didn't understand the what modifiers to use or the add on codes. I don 't know how she's doing now, but, she has not called or e-mailed me in months. I don't get. I don't want to lie...I just want a chance to utilize my skills and make someone a great coder.

Carol

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RHIT Coder in Connersville, Indiana

69 months ago

For those of you who have been trying for over a year to land a job, I have a question:

Did you get the opportunity to take the pre-employment exam? If you did, how well did you do?

With a bit of persuasion, even inexperienced coders can convince a hiring manager to let them take the test. If you can ace it, then of course they will consider you.

But, if you can't pass the test, why on earth would they take a chance?

Yes, some of us have been working in the field for a long time now, but we started at the bottom just like everyone else. For 2-yr HIT grads like me, at least we got to meet contacts during practicum appointments--my first one became my first job. For other people in my graduating class, they found work before they graduated; others managed to at least land a filing clerk position at the same facility that hired me. In less than a year, they were hired internally as a coder.

If no one is biting, then have your resume looked at by a pro, and you probably should practice your coding and interviewing skills as well.

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Kris in Sarasota, Florida

69 months ago

For all of those that have not been able to get a coding position yet, I have a question for you. Have you worked in ANY capacity in a medical office? I would strongly suggest that everyone try to get some kind of clerical position within a medical facility (hospital, doctor's office, etc.), especially if you are still in school. You'll have so much more to gain by knowing the different facets of working in the health care facility. I've been working in the medical field in various office roles, and I still know that I am going to have to prove myself before I can get myself one of the coveted positions as a medical coder.

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marie in Santa Monica, California

69 months ago

i tried to apply any clerical position but no luck...they still want experience...of course i know that i have to start somewhere even just a filing clerk in a medica office, unfortunately, nobody wants to give me a chance. i don't mind working in any position just for a start. it's very frustrating as if even answering their phones or filing needs experience.

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Kris in Sarasota, Florida

69 months ago

Marie,

Do you have any clerical experience? If so, why don't you check out a temporary agency? That was actually how I got into the medical field.

Or, how about volunteering in a hospital...hospital's are always looking for volunteers. While it is limiting in some ways, you will open up new networking opportunities.

Also, I would suggest that you check out your local AAPC Chapter. I sent an email to the current President of my area, and I let her know that I am a student coder and would love to attend a meeting. I received a reply from her quite quickly with an invite...it may be awhile before I am an actual medical coder, but who knows who I can meet in the interim?

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codermd@yahoo.com in Porter, Texas

69 months ago

Thanks, all of you who have responded to my post. Marie, I do have front desk expierence. I have gone to all Medical Facilities this side of Houston and also in the Downtown are of Houston. But, I know that I have to be aggressive and I'll just have to continue to apply and send out my resumes, in hopes that someone would give me a chane.

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LisaMD in Maryland

68 months ago

I feel for you. I looked for about a year before getting a job (I start in a couple of weeks). The woman who made the comments about the onsite tests is 100% ON TARGET. I have no medical experience (other than going TO the doctor), I passed my CPC in Nov 2008 and did a month long internship at a medical billing company that sent the majority of their work to India and had a small office staff in the US. I got an interview at a local hospital and I took FOUR different "tests" at my interview. The first was a standard "coding" exam w/CPT and ICD, the second was a data entry accuracy, the 3rd and 4th were by the Dept's Manager -a verbal anatomy test and than she handed me a chart and gave me five minutes to list all the injuries that would need to be coded.

To get the interview you will need a strong cover letter. Even with online applications, you are usually asked to cut and paste your resume and cover. It needs to be short, succinct and accurate (no misspellings or grammatical errors). Why are you applying, what do you offer them, what makes you stand out (straight A's in Anat/Phys, volunteer work at a hosp).

From someone who used to do hiring, I can tell you that a cover letter is more important than the resume. The resume basically supports what you say (where you went to school and what you studied, what experience you have and what work you did). The cover tells them why they want to meet YOU and not one of the other people with a similar resume/work history/education.

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Staffing Guru in Somewhere out there, California

68 months ago

Currently looking for Billers/Coders w/current Hospital Experience in the DFW area!

E-mail Staffing.Beast@gmail.com

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LisaMD in Maryland

68 months ago

I did a quick search on Indeed and found 4 coding jobs in the Balto/Wash area that don't require experience or permit "education" to be used as experience

-outpatient coder at St. Agnes
-Level One Personnel - they have a client doing a large abstract
project in Rockville and need coders for data abstraction.
-Sparks Personnel - placing a coder to review data from hospital ER and abstract certain data
-outpatient coding specialist - UMMC (University of MD)

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sara in Lexington, Massachusetts

68 months ago

I just wasted $10,000 on a school to learn billing/coding where i excelled at everything they threw at me. I then went and got certified by the AAPC. I am now an CPC-A with nothing to show for it. I can't even begin to tell you how desperate, disillusioned and disappointed I am with my choice. I understand you need experience. But where do you get that or did I miss that class? ---FRUSTRATED AND DESPERATE IN MASS

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handmaid in East Dublin, Georgia

68 months ago

Hi LisaMD,
What were the key search terms that you used to find these jobs that "don't require experience or permit "education" to be used as experience." If you did not use a specific set of key terms geared to find these types of jobs, would you suggest using any key terms? Was there a phrase(s) within these job descriptions that was common as "no experienced required?"

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LisaMD in Maryland

68 months ago

I actually just used "medical coder". If it said "senior" or "level 2 or level 3" I didn't bother to read it because it was obviously a higher level job. It takes time, but you have to read them because sometimes they have, at the top, that experience is required, but when you read the "qualifications/requirements" in the body of the job ad, it will say "experience with terminology" or "knowledge of anatomy" or "willing to consider new graduates".

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LisaMD in Maryland

68 months ago

sara in Lexington, Massachusetts said: I just wasted $10,000 on a school to learn billing/coding where i excelled at everything they threw at me. I then went and got certified by the AAPC. I am now an CPC-A with nothing to show for it. I can't even begin to tell you how desperate, disillusioned and disappointed I am with my choice. I understand you need experience. But where do you get that or did I miss that class? ---FRUSTRATED AND DESPERATE IN MASS

There are a lot of people graduating from colleges, grad schools, tech/vocational schools who are having the same problem. I graduated college in 1991 with a BS in Finance. It took me 17 months to get my first "real" job and, trust me, there were many of my fellow graduates who wouldn't have been interested because of the low starting salary. The unfortunate truth is that no matter what you get a degree in or what you get certified in, (except in years when unemployment was at 1-2%) it is highly unlikely that you are not going to have trouble landing your first job. Yes, currently, nurses (RNs) and teachers (in some areas) are being recruited and "wined and dined" before they graduate, but there is always, no matter how bad the economy, one field that has an extraordinary demand.

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Kris in Sarasota, Florida

68 months ago

I would say that the only way you really "wasted" the money is if you didn't gain anything out of it. Of course, everyone would love to just finish with school and go directly into their career, but that doesn't always happen. I would suggest that you try to get any position in the medical field. If you want to work in outpatient, look for work in a doctor's office, even if it is only as a greeter. Let them know what you can do and you never know when you could transfer once you are in. Same for inpt. Look for medical record clerk positions...many hospital HIM depts love to grow within.

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Jeanine Peralta in Saugus, California

68 months ago

HI guys I have a question that is actually quite opposite from the orginal question but I need some advice. I have an opportunity to work for an ambulance company and they need medical billing help. The company is my husband's friends family company that started a year ago and is growing and doing well.

I have actually been interested in the medical administration field for the only the past couple of years, but I continued to just go ahead and finish my Bachelors of Arts Degree in Business. I have 5 more months and I am done!!

Anyhow, I was approached to do do some an unpaid training/internship type work for them until I graduate and they are looking to promote me in a higher position if it all works out. Now I have all the confidence that I would be able to learn medical billing, but the thing is.... I am not sure where to start in geting the technical training. I have tons of administrative experience, but a far as medical billing, I think that it would be a good idea to get some formal online or correspondence training along with the hands on that I will be doing at the ambulance company.

Are there any suggestions out there? What are the kinds of things that I actually really need to know in order to do my job? I do have collections and accounts recievable experience, but no medical billing per se.

Thanks guys!

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LisaMD in Maryland

68 months ago

I have seen a lot of posts by this woman, Michelle Rimmer, who runs a medical billing online education company. She seems to give solid advice and is very helpful to people on here who ask billing questions. You may want to try her and there is also a lot of "medical billing" forums on here with others who may be able to direct you to a good software. A lot of software pkgs are set up with tutorials and have "live" help.

Here is her info. You may be able to search her company on the internet.
Michelle Rimmer, CHI,CBCS
Owner-Learn Medical Billing Online
Director-Professional Medical Billers Association

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handmaid in East Dublin, Georgia

68 months ago

Thank-you so much LisaMD for sharing your searching tips...

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Jp in District Heights, Maryland

65 months ago

joy in Los Angeles, California said: life is so unfair...you go to school, study hard and get certified but nobody wants to give you a chance to work as a coder... how will get the experience when nobody as in NOBODY wants to give you a chance.

Tell me about it I live in the Washington Metropolitian Area and even where they implements laws I am having hard time.

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Tahi in Miami, Florida

65 months ago

joy in Los Angeles, California said: life is so unfair...you go to school, study hard and get certified but nobody wants to give you a chance to work as a coder... how will get the experience when nobody as in NOBODY wants to give you a chance.

i know the feeling!!!

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eltbrownsuga@yahoo.com in Washington, District of Columbia

65 months ago

joy in Los Angeles, California said: life is so unfair...you go to school, study hard and get certified but nobody wants to give you a chance to work as a coder... how will get the experience when nobody as in NOBODY wants to give you a chance.

I UNDERSTAND COMPLETELY. I GOT MY CERTIFICATION IN JUNE AND I CAN'T FIND A JOB BECAUSE EVERYONE WANTS U TO HAVE 3 YEARS EXPERIENCE. HOW ARE U SUPPOSE TO GET EXPERIENCE IF NO ONE IS WILLING TO GIVE U A CHANCE

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tech in oc in Los Angeles, California

51 months ago

Kris in Sarasota, Florida said: I would say that the only way you really "wasted" the money is if you didn't gain anything out of it. Of course, everyone would love to just finish with school and go directly into their career, but that doesn't always happen. I would suggest that you try to get any position in the medical field. If you want to work in outpatient, look for work in a doctor's office, even if it is only as a greeter. Let them know what you can do and you never know when you could transfer once you are in. Same for inpt. Look for medical record clerk positions...many hospital HIM depts love to grow within.

I just passed the CCS this week, and dont know where to start, I have the CCS and CPC-A and no experience, I looked online at temp agencies and nothing in my area, do you think I have a chance? Thanks

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valentine in Salt Lake City, Utah

51 months ago

tech in oc in Los Angeles, California said: I just passed the CCS this week, and dont know where to start, I have the CCS and CPC-A and no experience, I looked online at temp agencies and nothing in my area, do you think I have a chance? Thanks

congrats on passing the CCS, that is a difficult test, especially when you do not have experience.

And while you have very nice credentials, most employers are only hiring experienced coders, I know this will feel like a step down, but you need gain experience. Start looking elsewhere in HIM, such as medical records, billing, data entry or even front desk, gain medical experience and become more familiar with ICD 9, CPT and reimbursement, once you get experience, leverage for a coding job.

If I were you, I would look in a hospital, let your supervisor know you are interested in coding and see if you can switch over when they have a coding opening.

Good Luck

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valentine in Salt Lake City, Utah

51 months ago

tech in oc in Los Angeles, California said: I just passed the CCS this week, and dont know where to start, I have the CCS and CPC-A and no experience, I looked online at temp agencies and nothing in my area, do you think I have a chance? Thanks

Congrats on passing the CCS, that is a very difficult test, especially for someone that doesn't have experience.

And while you have great credentials, employers really do prefer to hire experienced coders. So while it may feel like a step down, your best bet is to get a job elsewhere in HIM, such as medical records, billing, data entry or front desk.

If you can look for a job in a hospital and just let your supervisor know that you are interested in coding, try to volunteer (while working) in the coding dept, offer to help out, anything you can do to learn. that way if there is an opening, you can hopefully transition over.

Good Luck

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mirrorsnducttape

51 months ago

Interesting thread-

I have been coding and billing for over 20 years. Out of work for 2+.

Two employers closed shop, another was sold (I worked for the corporate side for this one and learned, like crazy). I have done some clean up and testimony for long time friends who know me and my work, but it is not a regular paycheck and does not go far

I have found age discrimination, as well as the glut of schools "graduating coders" all over the country. Why hire someone with decades of experience for living wages when they can hire a new grad for minimum wage.

Students are told there are jobs all over, no recession, etc (watch late night TV to confirm this).

I knew this was going to happen and told close friends give it about 3 years, and I was right.

I am getting calls and consultation inquiries to help providers through audits, from the Medicare/Medicaid carriers to the small work comp ones.

While new graduates might know the coding, they do not know the carrier specific (yes you can read the federal lists weekly), but do you know one major carrier does NOT distribute their code nuances, in violation of their contracts. Another major carrier is even worse to deal with because the staff have no CPT, HPCS or ICD experience, so you are talking to an operator about modifiers and bundling denials.

So people in my position, yes certified with plenty of alphabet behind our names, are let go for new graduates without not much hands on experience (internship is not that inclusive).

The calls I am getting now are showing the providers that you go for experience in the business. The graduates of the schools are finding out that they might have the school but not the history.

It is rough out there for our industry. It is not going away, it is getting worse with the ICD10 implementation in 13- that should be fun, which carrier is going with 10 which is not and which is using a CPT from 2005, not the current year.

Yes lots of fun

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tech in oc in Fullerton, California

51 months ago

Kris in Sarasota, Florida said: Marie,

Do you have any clerical experience? If so, why don't you check out a temporary agency? That was actually how I got into the medical field.

Or, how about volunteering in a hospital...hospital's are always looking for volunteers. While it is limiting in some ways, you will open up new networking opportunities.

Also, I would suggest that you check out your local AAPC Chapter. I sent an email to the current President of my area, and I let her know that I am a student coder and would love to attend a meeting. I received a reply from her quite quickly with an invite...it may be awhile before I am an actual medical coder, but who knows who I can meet in the interim?

I am also looking for a coding position, I just got my CCS, I have called several temp agencies, but have not gotten called back. I don't have the coding experience, but I am willing to start 1-2 days a week, and keep working at my current job as a pharmacy tech. Any suggestions where to look? I live in Southern Cal. Thanks

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valentine in Salt Lake City, Utah

51 months ago

tech in oc in Fullerton, California said: I am also looking for a coding position, I just got my CCS, I have called several temp agencies, but have not gotten called back. I don't have the coding experience, but I am willing to start 1-2 days a week, and keep working at my current job as a pharmacy tech. Any suggestions where to look? I live in Southern Cal. Thanks

Congrats on passing the CCS unfortunately a nice credential doesn't make up for lack of experience. Your best bet is to try to get a job elsewhere in HIM, such as medical records, billing, data entry or even front desk. Gain some experience and leverage it for a coding job.

Most temp agencies aren't going to place you, their clients are the same as the rest of employers, they want someone with experience.

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RHIA2U in Cincinnati, Ohio

42 months ago

I work with a woman who has a CCS and CPC and has tried unsuccessfully for years to get a hospital coding job, as she only has physician coding experience. Both the HR and HIM managers at all the hospitals will not even allow her to take the pre employment test, because she does not have the "mandatory 2-3 years of inpatient coding experience" that seems to unlock the employment door. Unfair, you betcha. The rules that are imposed on people by those capable of hiring is insane. It is a very difficult field to get into, and they are very picky, you almost have to be perfect. And, it does help to know someone in the field, too, as they like to hire all their colleagues and friends. Without being able to obtain a job any credential is worthless.

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