FAQs

Here’s the inside scoop!

Coding FAQs

Frequently, they are. Some facilities prefer their coding staff to have a credential from each -- AHIMA and AAPC. They feel that is makes for a more well-rounded coder.

Some coders, become addicted to Credentials, as well. They challenge themselves to gather as many credentials as possible. Which is a great way to keep learning......but can get expensive.....Test Fees are a factor and CEU maintenance fees are also factors to keep in mind.

Coders can keep the chart open on one screen....and their spreadsheet or other program open on the other screen.

Some coders also keep a screen open for E-mail or for coding resources that they use frequently. Some companies use multiple monitors; and usually once a coder gets used to using multiple screens....they never want to go back to a single screen.

Credentials from either AAPC or AHIMA are the most Recognized and most frequently requested by facilities, clinics, and Recruiters.

AAPC -- CPC, COC, CIC, CPC-P, CRC, CIRCC are core credentials. AAPC also offers a plethora of Specialty Credentials. Check AAPC's website - http://www.aapc.com for the most current information on credentials.

CPMA is a terrific credential for Auditors; and is offered through AAPC and through NAMAS.

AHIMA -- CCS, CCS-P, CDIP, - Coding RHIT (requires a 2 year degree; this will be phased out & replaced soon) RHIA (requires a 4 year degree) Be sure and check http://www.ahima.org for specific requirements for each of the AHIMA credentials.

RCC is a highly sought after credential for Radiology Coders.

HCC stands for Hierachal Condition Coding, which is a type of post-payment coding usually done by Medicare Advantage plans who must report to the government.

Sometimes! HCC contracts are dependent, in some cases, on the deadlines as proscribed by CMS regulations. More and more insurers are beginning to keep track of HCC conditions and requirements....so more jobs are now year-round. As Risk Adjustment become more prevalent....expect that to increase.

HCC companies generally perform ‘retrospective reviews’...and will therefore review as far back as 2 years prior to current date. Therefore, they may still be using I-9 in some cases.

Additionally... some Worker’s Compensation companies and No-fault insurance companies in certain states are not required to use I-10....so they will continue with I-9 for the foreseeable future.

Finally, companies are still working or auditing claims that were filed prior to the switch in Oct 2015 when ICD-9 was in use.

Educational FAQs

Generally, you will need the current year’s manuals of CPT, ICD-10 and HCPCS. Edition *does* matter!

Always verify with AAPC prior to going to your test site to verify that you have the correct books.

TAP, CHUN, Bubble and Highlighting.

You-tube videos for CCO known as process B H A T -- the original way taught to bubble and highlight books

1) Neither AAPC nor AHIMA process financial aid for their prep programs or exam costs.

2) Yes, at the community college. Back in the ‘90s, I was able to get a Pell Grant. My parents helped me buy the books.

3) Workforce Development (Unemployment) paid for some of the students in my class. You have to qualify. Check with your local Unemployment or Workforce Commission office.

4) Financial aid and grants w/an online program; through the department of education

5) AAPC has a program for basic program -- nothing for specialty!

6) financial aid for my online program. As long as it is a qualifying institution you should be able to apply.

7) Yes your local WIOA program will be able to assist in cost..I paid zero for my coding class and books and test for certification. I went through my city unemployment office that lead me the WIOA program.

8) When I went through tech school I received financial aid. There's definitely opportunities out there.

9) Through Rasmussen (school) there is.

Generally,

1) Bring a light sweater or jacket

2) Quiet Snacks

3) a ruler/straight edge

Specifically, please see the links below:

AAPC

AHIMA CCS

Jobs FAQs

Hourly rates vary from $19 to $45 a hour.

Some companies pay per chart, sometimes $2.50 per chart to as much as $7.50 per chart. Depends on the company, and can vary by client and/or contract.

There are a lot of variables that factor into coding pay-rates. Pay rates vary depending on Geographic Location, Experience, Specialty, Credentials, Scarcity of coders in a specific location.

Sometimes the pay is hourly, sometimes it's per chart. Again, pay rates will very per company.

Facilities or facility-based clinics generally have a higher pay rate and usually offer better benefits than a small clinic. The up-side to a small clinic is that you will usually have greater opportunities to learn more areas of coding/billing.

Realistic expectations for productivity standards vary by specialty, programs used and experienced. All answers have been supplied by our members and may/may not reflect the standards of every practice or facility.

Following are some standards we have seen:

ASCs (Ambulatory Surgery Centers): 1 answer: 10-12 surgeries an hour. 2nd answer: 4 per hour

ED (Emergency Dept.): 15 per hour

HCC : 1 answer: 10 per hour 2nd answer: 8 charts per hour with a 95% accuracy rate and a min of 320 a week for requirement

IP (Inpatient/Facility): 19 per day

OP (Outpatient): Ancillary: 250 per day

Generally: 1 answer: 15 Per Hr/120 per day 2nd answer: 45 per day

Observation and OutPatient Surgery 40 accounts a day/200 weekly

At least one week, probably 10-14 days; unless the interviewer has indicated otherwise.

YES! I personally recommend professional Thank You cards that are Hand-written.

At the very least, a Thank You e-mail is recommended.

Jobs are generally broken down into 2 categories: 1099 contract and W2.

1099 Contracts may pay hourly or per chart. Any deductions for taxes are the responsibility of the contractor (non-employee). Generally, there are no benefits such as sick days, holiday pay, vacation pay or health insurance.

Typically, these jobs aren't usually very stable since they are based on contracts by the company. Contracts can last from 1 week to 3 years to indefinitely.

If you take a contracted position, you file a 1099-Misc form to the IRS with any taxes that may be owed. It is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that you contact a tax professional for assistance on these types of contracts.

W2 are employed by the company at a specific hourly or contracted wage. Taxes are with-held and there may/may not be benefits, such as sick time, holiday & vacation pay.

Typically, these jobs have more stability than a 1099 position because the billing/coding is an ongoing thing as opposed to a contracted situation with a set expiration time.

We do our best to ‘vet’ the companies and educators that post in this group.

We have a document in the Facebook FILES and also in our tools & documents page here on JFAMC.org called JFAMC Member Services. People and Schools that are listed on that page are allowed to post ads in our group.

However, we are not infallible and we don't know everything about everyone. It is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that YOU take responsibility for checking out any company. Not every school is a good fit for everyone; not every company is a good employment fit, either.

TRUST YOUR GUT! If it sounds too good to be true, it probably *is*.

Call them....talk to the people at the schools. Find out who has attended the schools or who's worked at the company from our group and talk to them.

DUE DILIGENCE is up to you!

Remember this: "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should." Be very selective in those ads/posts to which you respond.

You should NEVER apply for a position that require LICENSURE (LVN/RN/PT/OT) if you do not currently hold that license. The same goes for responding to a job that requires a CCS and you only have a CCA or CPC-A.

Know yourself. If you are CLEARLY not qualified for a position…it is advisable to ‘pass’ on applying. EX: the job post states the position NEEDS "a full coding credential and extensive experience in a specialty clinic". However, you've just graduated last month and just passed your CCA and you have no medical experience at all. It is NOT RECOMMEND that you apply to THAT PARTICULAR position unless your have at least some experience in a specialty clinic.

Some newly credentialed coders have successfully applied for positions that stated the job needs 2-3 years of experience. These instances are becoming more and more rare! While it ‘can happen’… it is NOT a frequent or a likely occurrence.

CAN YOU APPLY? You can, but again you need to consider: should you?

However…don’t ‘pout and whine’ when your resume is IGNORED or DUMPED into the ‘round file’ or you're given a test after which you're told you lack the experience to be considered because you aren’t qualified for the position in the eyes of the Hiring Decider. Understand that recruiters are gateways/connectors but they don't make the hiring decisions!

Understand that in those ads where they're looking for an experienced certified coder in a particular specialty area, they're looking for someone who can hit the ground running from the start.

While it's true a company will train an individual, it's not to train them on how to think, how to read the reports, how to learn to do the job. They will train the coders on how to do the job the way the company requires because no two companies do the same things the same ways.

An experienced coder with more than 3-5 years of experience already has learned many of the things that those coming out of educational programs haven't figured out or learned. An employer who specifies "extensive experience" or more than 3 years, doesn't usually have the time or manpower to further your training AND get the job done.

We believe it's best to not apply unless you can meet more than 75% of the stated criteria.

While Practicode counts as "experience" to remove the A from AAPC's CPC apprentice, it does NOT count as employment experience and cannot be used as such. For employment purposes, Practicode is nothing more than education. discussions.

Remote Coding/Billing Jobs FAQs

The answer isn't all that simple, I'm afraid. For some, they are accepted immediately. For others, it may take months - even years - before they successfully land a remote coding position.

YES! It highly recommended and certain companies actually write it into their contracts now.

Caring for others, especially those who require constant attention, means that less time and concentration can be spent on doing the job.

Part-time or contracted work may be better for those who have these kinds of demands because the companies are generally more flexible in terms of time.

A W2 employee is "on the clock", meaning they have the same responsibility of being on the job as if they were sitting in the company office.

Some companies are more flexible than others; but most will spell out their expectations for you and the time they're willing to pay you for.

As fast as possible. Check with your internet company for their specifics.

Services such as "Test My Speed" http://www.speedtest.net/ may be used to verify upload and download speeds.

Varies by client/contract/company. Many companies provide their own equipment.

Billing encompasses more than just sending claims to the insurance companies.

Payment posting, collections - both insurance and self-pay - are typically done in-house.

Although not impossible to find, there are fewer remote opportunities for billing than there are for coding.

In truth, some do. Many do not. It really comes down to the needs of the company for whom you work and the role that you take in a company. In some places, they need a person to be on call between certain hours of the day so that you can be reached for questions if needed. Before & after that time, you pick the rest of the hours you want to work. We've seen ads the specify standard working hours where they expect you to be available when they're working at the office. Then there are companies who don't care what hours you choose as long as you get your 8 hours done. There are so many variables here. It depends on the company you work with, what kind of job you are doing and if the company has clients they have to answer to, what is it that they require.
Not impossible, but it's very difficult. Some people get really lucky and nail it right out of the gate. Others wait many years before they get to work from home. This is one of those things where it will depend on the needs of the company and you're hitting it at the best possible time. Hard to say for sure.
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