RN Coder

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    I am looking to leave bedside nursing due to recent medical issues, and am interested in coding. Are there any RN coders out there who could give me some info on how to get started, where to study, which certification is best, etc?

    How much do you make where you live? (I live in the SF bay area). I know it would be a huge pay cut, but given my circumstances it's necessary.

    Is it possible to self-study and then take the exam? This would be ideal for me.

    What type of job environment do you work? (Hospital, insurance, etc.)

    Which is better, CPC, CCS, or CCS-P.. I'm confused! Are there more coding positions in hospitals or physician practices? I'm not sure which certification to get.

    Any info would be greatly appreciated!
    Last edit by stelarRN on Dec 10, '12
  2. 2 Comments so far...

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    I am interested in the same thing. I was referred to AHIMA, but have not had much time to explore their website so can not offer you any information. I was referred to it by the coders at our local hospital. Best of luck!
  4. 0
    OK - here's the thing. There are all sorts of "coders" these days - and many positions do not require a clinical background; they don't pay very well either. However, due to reimbursement changes there seem to be an increasing number of jobs opening up for nurses who are savvy about coding. For instance, hospitals are struggling to cope with all the Federal reporting requirements related to HCAHPS and quality measures --- all of which are part of the whole "value based purchasing" tsunami that is rapidly engulfing US healthcare.

    All of these reports are based on information that is 'sorted out' by nurses who are not only experts in the reporting requirements but also know their way around a chart. For instance, maybe a quality measure is applicable to all 'heart failure' patients (denominator) .... to see whether they have received a certain intervention (numerator). These nurse 'analysts' are responsible for making sure that the denominator is accurate. This frequently involves chart abstracts - reviewing charts to make sure that the patient 'fits' this demographic and that the required 'intervention' was actually medically appropriate. This is extremely important work - it affects the bottom line.

    Nurses who do this type of work are generally clinical experts who have 'backed into' the job. They do have to have coding knowledge as well as expertise in the clinical documentation system. And, as if it wasn't complicated enough - ICD10 is on the horizon now... all US coders are undergoing re-training to meet this new standard. It was pushed back a year, but we still have to be 'live' in 2014, so implementation is underway. Maybe you can piggyback into some of this training.

    My point is - you are making the move at a very opportune time. Good luck!


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