Degree: Medical Billing & Coding
Graduation Year: 2016
"After falling into insurance on multiple occasions, it occurred to me that perhaps I should look for a career in the industry. I like the business working of insurance but I was more interested in the claims process. Having worked on the practitioner/provider relations side of many insurance companies made me curious about the process that led to us receiving, and ultimately rejecting, a claim. So, I happened upon medical billing and coding, which interested me a great deal as I was always curious about how the procedures were billed and bundled and interpreted. After studying ICD-9 and ICD-10 CM on my own for about two months and CPT codes for about three weeks, I decided I needed to finally get into a course. My criteria for the course were that it had to be completely online. I have a family and I work full-time, I was not going for the college experience, I did that already lol. It must also be affordable, with flexible monthly payment options. We're saving for a house so I cannot afford to pay those grandiose $2500 fees. It also needed to include medical terminology and anatomy, which are VITAL if you want to be a proficient biller or coder. Lastly, it must prepare me to sit for the CPC exam. Ashworth fit all of those but the last one. The certification you're testing for is the CBCS through the NHA. While it is recognized as a valid certification, many employers prefer those offered through AHIMA or AAPC, as they both are the regulators for the code books used in the industry. This meant that I would eventually, once I was financially prepared to do so, go back and take a course that would enable me to sit for the AAPC's CPC exam. On the review of the enrollment process: The key to any for-profit online school is knowing what you're getting into BEFORE you enroll. Do not trust what the representatives of the school tell you. Know that they will misconstrue the facts to get you to enroll, they need the profit. Read the fine print. It cost me $10 upfront to enroll and I pay just $50 a month. That's great but you are given only 5 days to cancel and receive a full refund after you enroll and that's only if you haven't completed ANY coursework, not even the Pre-Test. But if you read the agreements you're signing before you actually commit to this, you shouldn't have any issues with enrollment. Also know that you are not entitled to a refund just because you didn't like the program or never completed any work. You signed the agreement that practically waived your rights to any reimbursement and acknowledged that they will go to collections on you if you do not pay. Also, if you are ahead of schedule, you will have to pay those monthly fee or pay it off in order for the program to be considered complete. These are not issues or hurdles. If you do your homework and read the information in its entirety you'll have an overall pleasant enrollment experience. The Program Itself: They have given you PDF lessons that are mailed out to you and available online but for the majority of the lesson you are reading lists. It is overwhelming and impossible to digest 224 pages of lists. Lesson 1 was torture. It got better in the following lessons but the overall setup is not interactive or even remotely engaging. Most of what you get explains the WHAT, if you are like me and need the bigger picture including the HOW and WHY (which is important to a biller/coder), you'll have to look to other resources found on the web. There is no faculty, professor, or staff presence. If you have a question, you will not be referred to a Medical Coder/Biller or even a healthcare professional. This is scary for two reasons: 1. This is a field that is constantly changing and the material is often convoluted as a result. If you have any issue or need further explanation of a billing or coding scenario, there is no one available to help you understand. 2. This course will not prepare you to be a proficient biller/coder. It will give you the information needed to pass an exam. I was initially excited about starting this course but I have been a little disappointed. Let me put this course in context. If you were unprepared to take the SAT and wanted more practice before taking the SAT, you would take an SAT prep class. In this case, the AAPC sponsored certification courses are the SAT and the Medical Billing and Coding program offered here is the SAT Prep class. This program will not make you a coder and they are not explaining the info well enough for you to truly understand the material hence why they can only offer the NHA exam. So, take this course to get the certification behind your name and to prepare yourself by getting an overview of the medical billing and coding info you need in order to take a more intensive, beneficial, and recognized course offered through an AHIMA/AAPC sponsored class. I enrolled in the same program with Penn Foster the day after starting here and it was the best decision I ever made! I would recommend that one IN CONJUNCTION with this one if you want to truly be a competent coder/biller."