Medical Coding and Why I Like It

Well, this post isn’t really related to my music. I thought I’d write a little bit about my new job instead. If you read my other posts, I guess you know this already , but I went back to a paying job about a month ago (I hate saying went-back-to-work because that implies that being a stay at home mom doesn’t qualify as work and I friggin hate that). Anyway, so I started my new paying job as a medical coder.

coding pic for blogMy kids asked me what that is, so here is a simplified definition. We read reports and take all the information (diagnosis or procedures) and change it into a number. The insurance companies take those numbers and determine a payment for the doctor or hospital that treated the patient. It might sound weird or boring, but I actually really like it. It does involve taking courses to learn how to do this, either at a college or online courses and programs. There’s literally thousands of codes, but depending on the type of coding you do, you’ll use similar codes most of the time, so it’s really not that bad.

xray picI code radiology–so lots of x-rays, mammograms, ct scans etc. When I first decided to go into the field a while back, I told myself I wanted a job that I could just go to everyday, but once that day is over, I kind of didn’t want to care about it. I know that probably sounds terrible, but it’s true. My priorities in life are the people in it–my family and close friends. Everything else has to take a back seat. I also do not define myself as a human being based on my career. Even though I still feel that way after actually starting to work in the field, something that never really crossed my mind has happened. Even though this is a complete push-paper kind of job (like I wanted), I actually do care about it a lot more than I thought I would. Once you get accustomed to reading these reports, you know by reading it whether the patient is going to get bad news or not. Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m not a doctor…but I read enough of these reports a day, that I can distinguish between a “good” one and a “bad” one, even though since this is radiology, the report falls short of officially diagnosing a patient with something. What I’m saying is, I can tell by a few key words in a report if a patient most likely will be diagnosed with a bad disease, like breast cancer. At the end of the day, even though I don’t know the people in real life or even remember their names, I find myself thinking about them, and just hoping that they will be ok. I really start to care about these patients, even though that might sounds kind of weird. Anyway, I don’t even know why I’m even saying any of this, except that it does help to put everyday life into perspective. But overall, I really like my job and it’s going well.

coding definitionIt was a very good career choice, and there’s many different directions you can go in, in time. You have to be weary of all the informercials and scams saying you can take a 4 month training course and then work from home. That is simply not true. A good online training program takes about a year, and there’s also other options if you want to take college level courses, and those programs lasts 2 years. (I took the courses through Career StepΒ since I already have a college degree and just couldn’t imagine going back to school like that again at this point in my life). But I’m happy because this program wasΒ very comprehensive and totally prepared me for the “real world”. So, that being said, the whole 4-month-and-you-can-work- from-home informercial thing you might have seen, is a bunch of BS. However, you can eventually work from home, after you have 2-3 years of experience. You definitely can after 5. That is ultimately my goal. Another thing I’m looking into is becoming a coding instructor. To do that, you need at least 5 years experience in the field. So, looks like maybe I can still be a teacher someday after all πŸ™‚

What about you? Would you ever consider medical coding as a career?

And also–in case any of you who follow this blog for my songs are wondering if I’m writing anything new…the answer is yes, I am working on something. I’m still in the writing stages and nothing has been recorded yet. It’s hard to say when it will be finished. I’ll keep you updated πŸ™‚ Thanks again to those of you who listen to my songs πŸ™‚ If you haven’t heard my songs yet and want to, go to the music player on the right of the screen πŸ™‚

Thanks for reading-

Lindsay Della Vella

photo credits-www.codebusters.com, rinjith krishnan at freedigitalphotos.net, www.searchfiletype.

About ldellavella

I'm a musician, mother, wife, sister and friend.
This entry was posted in job related, medical coding and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Medical Coding and Why I Like It

  1. pianolearner says:

    A really interesting post. I’m glad you enjoy your new job. I had never heard of that as a job. It might not even exist over here since we have the National Health service so healthcare is free for all (although people can take out private healthcare if they want to). The fact that you can work from home in a few years sounds great too.

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    • ldellavella says:

      Thanks! Hmmm…I’ve never thought about whether or not this job exists in other countries. Interesting. Here there are people who have free or low cost healthcare (Medicare, Medicaid) but the doctors get paid by the government. Medical coders bill the government and that’s how the doctors/hospitals get paid for those patients. The government also uses coding to keep track of diseases, auditing the hospitals for fraud, and just making sure the hospitals meet certain standards. I would think there’d have to be something similar in other countries, but I’m really not sure.

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  2. Amy Figel says:

    Excellent post! Thanks for sharing! I have been a stay-at-home mom and remote transcriptionist for 20 years along with homeschooling for the last 5. It’s the best of both worlds really, but things must change. I’m hoping for a remote coding position eventually. Do you think you would have a greater opportunity for remote if you had your CCS? And i know with your training there was an option for further training with IOD, yet you didn’t go that route. Why? How has it been transitioning into working from home in relation to your children? Sorry for all the questions! I’m still in the research phase of which training am I going to choose. πŸ™‚

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    • ldellavella says:

      Hi! Thanks for reading and leaving a comment πŸ™‚ Well, there’s different paths into coding and there isn’t one that is “better” than the other, but the fact that you have a background in transcription is great and can help you. There are opportunities to work remotely (I currently split my time between working at home and the office) but it can take time to work up to. Most companies, whether you are a regular employee or a 1099 employee will not hire you remotely without any coding experience (it’s not completely impossible–but just very difficult). Most places want you to have experience working onsite first. The IOD program is open to anyone who is a certified coder. Yes, Careerstep has partnered with them, but it’s not a guarantee that you’ll get into their program. Many, many people apply and there is a lot of competition to get into it. If you do, there are 3 different phases and at any point you can be dropped from it if you’re not doing well. That being said, I have heard of some people saying that they had success with it. There’s a webinar on the IOD website that explains the whole process. I didn’t apply to it at all because I was fortunate to find a job that I wanted right after I was finished my courses. The CCS is a great cert to have–not sure if that would affect your chances of getting a remote job. Really it just depends what you want to do. Thanks for asking about my kids–they were fine with me going back to work πŸ™‚ Definitely a bigger change for me, but they handled it fine. Coding is a great field to get into. I wish you the best of luck with it πŸ™‚

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  3. courtney says:

    I am glad I came across your blog. Looking for advice suggestions…I used to hold my cpc but let it go once I became and CT technologIist. Prior to being a CT tech I did about 7 years off medical billing/coding in an office. Since having children I don’t like to hospital schedule and am looking to re-test for my cpc in hopes of coding remotely. Do you have any suggestions or advice? I enjoy radiology but don’t like the hour drive to work and the schedule. I would love to combine them both and look into radiology coding.

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