COVID-19 and the Plight of the Coder

JFAMC Facebook Group Survey
KIWI-TEK has been closely following articles, reports and predictions of how COVID-19 has impacted healthcare. We’ve noticed that little or no attention has been given to how the pandemic has impacted the lives and careers of dedicated, experienced American coders. As promised, here are the anonymous responses received from the JFAMC group. We appreciate your help and participation and most of all, your dedication and positivity!

KIWI-TEK has been closely following articles, reports and predictions of how COVID-19 has impacted healthcare. We’ve noticed that little or no attention has been given to how the pandemic has impacted the lives and careers of dedicated, experienced American coders. As promised, here are the anonymous responses received from the JFAMC group. We appreciate your help and participation and most of all, your dedication and positivity!

In the words of recruiters “hang in there”

Companies in all industries were not prepared for shutdowns due to a pandemic. I think the client sites’ wavering on what their needs were caused the majority of issues.

I feel for me as a pro fee coder there is little opportunity currently. The few jobs I have seen want experienced Cardiology, Neurology, Home Health coders which I have no experience. The last 3 years I have been coding pro fee Hospitalist charges. I would love to stay with my current company.

As a coder it’s been very difficult to obtain an opportunity in other types of coding with proper training, no one is willing to teach or train, everyone wants individuals already experienced which pushes other coders that are great coders aside without further opportunities to gain more knowledge and skills to be better than they were the day before. If given the opportunity individuals like myself could be great assets to the ones whom give then what they need to add to the company’s growth. Just my own thoughts on how the last 5 months has affected me and my family. Thank you.

Things will turn around eventually.

I feel that I was fortunate and believe if you hang in there, things will turn around.
I have 8 credentials and get even get anyplace I’ve applied to to call me back. I have no hope for my coding future. All my hard work was for nothing.

Hang in there work will pick up.

My hours have been reduced but I was not laid off or furloughed.

This too shall pass.

I’m seeing job posts nearly every day at my old employer for medical assistants, nurses, receptionists – so hopefully this means the patient volume is starting to increase & our coding positions will come back soon.

None really other than to hang in there.

Risk adjustment coding seems to be more stable.

Keep doing what you’re doing.

Just keep your head high and stay positive!

I can’t imagine how hard it is at this time for newly credentialed coders! I’ve been a CPC for nine years and am having a hard time finding stable work.

Hang in there.

Its pushed me out of my comfort zone to finally pursue nursing school.

Keep your head up and keep trying if you were someone whose job was affected.

I increasingly worry about the UI stimulus running out at the end of the month. If I’m still out of work, and that is not extended, I have no idea what I will do. I can’t find a position anywhere that’ll pay this and am single so no spousal support. I am worried.

Organizations should ensure they have quality and knowledgeable people in leadership positions.
We’re the unseen cogs in the healthcare wheel. Without us, hospitals & providers cannot maintain their own financial viability. I see the jobs trickling in ever so, leaks from the dam if you will. The jobs will rush forth at some point if we can just…manage….to …. hold…. on. it’s hard. Also, tell others that this is NOT a slap to who they are. Many of us identify with the pride we take in our work. The work is gone and we are lost. However, what we have gained, the knowledge and the network – that’s still very much there. Hold on.

Stay focused and don’t give up hope.

I am a contract coder, my employer was able to get one of the payroll protection loans ( whatever they were called) and I was paid my full wages for 8 weeks. That recently ended and work has not picked up, I have been laid off and have applied for unemployment. Now I am scared an unsure of what to do next. But also, I am confident things will work out, somehow. It’s alright to be scared, this has never happened to anyone before, we are truly all in this together.

Many of us were working more than one job to get by, COVID19 snatched the financial rug out from under many of us. I am looking at self-employment

Im shocked that this issue has had the repercussions it has had on the coding industry. I believe this whole thing has been handled wrongly by the CDC, and now so many people will suffer financially for years to come and some will not recover.

I hope we are all back to work soon! Stay safe and healthy😊

If you persevere in your career and show interest in wanting to work, they will stay in contact with you and you may get a better opportunity than what you had. I’m excited to start my new job after almost 60 days unemployed but we’ll worth the wait.

Keep learning and diversify so you have a broader opportunity in a changing employment landscape keep evolving your skill sets

Stay positive and keep moving forward!

I think coding jobs will turn around when everyone is not scared to go back to the doctor. It will just take time.

We were furloughed one day each pay period (two weeks) for two pay periods.

We were able to keep our hours, coding while we had work then on to CEUs when charts ran out. Really appreciate this since I am a single person and have no other income.

It’s scary out here looking for a job, because there are a lot of us looking for work.

“This too shall pass.”
All our department is having to take one day per week. So far my PTO has covered it, but in about a month I’ll run out and it will be time without pay. I’ve been satisfied with my employer. They are doing all they can to provide assistance and information to help us.

Hang in there even though it is tough right now. As my grandmother always said, “This too shall pass.”

Be patient.

I am fortunate to work for a great company that has adjusted its strategy rather than lay off workers.
Wishing everyone well in this tough time. If you are out of work, keep your head up and stay positive. Things are slow to get back to normal.

Just hang in there. This too shall pass.

I was furloughed only 8 hours a week from one job and 4 hours a week from the other so no real impact since I work too much.

Hang in there. I see a lot of companies starting to post openings for coding positions.

We are all in this together!

It seems that the job postings I’ve seen are low paying but wanting multiple years of experience. It makes me think employers are taking advantage of the desperation of those who are unemployed.

Hang in there my colleagues!!

This is not an easy field to break into or be in. This pandemic has only made it worse. I believe things will get better.

Hard to be positive when you don’t know what tomorrow brings

I never thought I would see the day healthcare (HIM) did not have enough work!

Hang in there. I had an interview with another coding company, passed their assessment and was eligible for hire. I was called back from furlough the next day. Don’t give up.

Never give up!

I hope that I am wrong. However, I went through transcription being done away with. I feel like coding is heading in the same direction. Again I hope I am wrong but that is how I feel.

Hang in there. It will get better.

I did not get laid off after being with the company for 2 years but others that have been there longer were.

I went back to work on 6/8.

I was furloughed and then my company sold the coding/billing division to another company but did not make the employees part of the deal.

Our company used Covid as an excuse to get rid of the whole department. I was lucky enough to be friends with a client services rep who got me an interview at her new place.

This is just a road block, but we will get through it. Medicine will always be a need.

Don’t give up.

Jobs are scarce and I fear a second bigger wave is coming. I think things are going to get extremely bad and I’m considering a career change as I’m not sure how long it will take for coding to rebound

Keep your head up!

As a contract coder, I have some flexibility but no real security. I do look at all possibilities but am holding out for continuing contracting for ProFee and/or audit opportunities.

Don’t give up! This too shall pass. Keep praying!

More than half our staff was furloughed here but 100 workers from India were kept and given remote access.

Have seen lots of negativity around me but I keep upbeat and give positive feedback to anyone who inquires.

Prayers for everyone affected my the pandemic. Be safe!

Hopefully all employers handled furloughs and kind and thoughtfully as mine. I am back a work after a predetermined furlough length of time.

I developed and implemented coding departments at two large health organizations. So I am extremely knowledgeable in the coding world. I am now unemployed and hoping to land a remote coding opportunity to finish out my career. I encourage other coders to pursue this path as I not only learned more about coding, I learned about the entire revenue cycle process. I went from a coder for one provider to a director of billing and coding for a health system. So if you continue to be passionate, idealistic, enthusiastic and educated this passage can be very gratifying.

It is very stressful at this time Physicians are complaining about the loss in revenue and looking for someone to blame.

Hoping life gets back to normal soon.

I have been a coder for 25 years. I have never seen this happen. I do believe it will turn around. It is going to take some time.

It’s been stressful the last few months. Hoping I can find a job soon!

While I still maintained my job my hours were cut to 32 per week. I was also treated as if my hospital did me a great service to still keep my job even though they pay me very poorly. I am looking and I know the right job will come along.

We will get through this somehow. I’m not sure how just yet, but we will.

Hang in there!

Hope for all our sake the jobs return!

Hang in there folks!

My job is going overseas. This has to stop!!

I wish companies would stop outsourcing coding jobs to people who have no clue what they’re done.

It will be ok…hard to think of sometimes but it will be.

Hang in there.

I am continuing to gain more experience and getting an additional certification to increase my coding skills.

My workload lightened but I never lost mandatory hours. My employer prepared early and we were managed well during pandemic.

Hi, I have returned to work in my regular role, but I am seeking outpatient employment now that elective surgery and ED are very busy in my state.

Keep your head up. Brighter days are ahead.

Keep your head up. Don’t give up. Keep trying. Never give up hope. Just keep the faith.
I am struggling to head around the fact that a health crisis has significantly changed, detrimentally, our healthcare vocation.

Leave no stone unturned!

Continue to move forward with expanding skill sets to maintain and grow marketability.

Keep your chin up! We will get through this trying time.

Hang in there after 3 months off I’ve returned to my full home job.

I feel terrible for those without work. Hopefully, things will get better soon.

It’s like my job has been sucked down a black hole and I blame the media and the politicians for all of what is happening. I will not forget it.

Never get comfortable, always seek new certifications.

I am finding that my former company, along with others are calling those back that were of lower salaries and seniority with the company, even those with questionable quality to save money. I was in leadership with my current vendor company and was appalled to see many fantastic, high quality, high production coders let go and the opposite retained and/or called back. I think when you start sacrificing your business needs (and reputation) in this way, it will have disastrous effects on coding quality. I also Believe the market in the outpatient sector is going to be extremely oversaturated now and not only with those newer coders have difficulty obtaining jobs but more so and in addition will those long timers who were making far better salaries that are going to be left in the dust.