Coding and Compliance Director: Tracy E. | Teen Ink

Coding and Compliance Director: Tracy E.

May 6, 2009
By Cody E. BRONZE, Aurora, Illinois
Cody E. BRONZE, Aurora, Illinois
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Tracy works in the medical field, but she is not a doctor or nurse like you would think.
She works in an office and teaches doctors how to code for the services they provide. If the doctors didn’t know how to code their services, then they wouldn’t get reimbursed properly from the insurance companies. If they commit coding fraud, they could get thrown in jail. This position is pretty important.

What is your job? What do you have to do for this job?
I have a staff of 30 people that help the doctors out. One half of them teach the doctors what CPT and ICD-9 codes to use when reporting their services to the insurance companies. They also appeal to the insurance companies when they deny the doctor’s claims. As part of the physician’s biannual performance review, my staff also audits their work for opportunities and suggestions.

The other half of the staff works as an insurance company, paying claims to outside providers who submit bills to us. They work on finding ways to reduce the amount of money we pay out.

I am also responsible for making sure that all new services get off the ground and running without a hitch. I also set the fees for all the services provided in the clinic. I also make sure that all charges are captured and billed appropriately. My favorite part is making sure the doctors are following all the rules and not cheating the government. If this happens, they could be subject to an astronomical fine and possible jail time.

Why did you choose this job?
I like working in the medical field. I also enjoy teaching. My job incorporates both of my passions, so I knew it was the perfect job for me. It was also the next logical stepping stone in my career. Having held many positions prior to this one, each position contributed to more knowledge and experience that would help me in this current role.

Are there any special benefits to having your job?
I get to travel to conferences three to four times a year. Usually, these conferences are out of state to fun places like Las Vegas, Boston, and Orlando. After the coding conference is over, I have the rest of the day to explore, sight see, network and enjoy the city.

Do you feel your salary fits the amount of work you do?
I feel that I am underpaid for the amount of work that I do. A normal work week is 40 hours. I work more like 70 hours a week. This drastically reduces the amount that I make per hour.

Did you see yourself doing this job as a child?
I never saw myself doing this job when I was growing up. I always wanted to be a paramedic because I thought it would be exciting and cool to save lives. At least I was heading toward the right field, even though it wasn’t the same position.

What type of education do you need for this job?
For my job, I need a Bachelor’s degree from any accredited college. A coding license is also required. In order to get the license for this job, I had to pass a strenuous 5 hour exam.

Do you like your job?
I love my job. I enjoy what I do which also makes it fun. I’ve been working at the clinic for over 20 years which speaks for itself.

Are there any disadvantages to you job?
I have to put in a lot of hours, which takes time away from me being able to spend more time with my children. Otherwise, I feel my job is magnificent!

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