I would love to take credit for making up this list of reasons to be a coder, but I can't. It's a list that came out about 15 years ago and I believe it was published in The Journal of AHIMA. This list was popular when I first started coding in the mid-90s. I have yet to see an electronic copy of it, but found a photocopied list in a scrapbook (er, chart) my coworkers gave me when I left my first coding job. This list graced my bulletin board for a long time!
Some of these are a bit dated, but most still ring pretty true and I updated Ms. Scichilone's credentials as she is still a well-respected practicing HIM professional. I hope you enjoy this little bit of levity!
Top Ten Reasons to be a Coding Professional
by Rita Scichilone, MHSA, RHIA, CCS, CCS-P, CHC
10. You love to read really small print.
9. Carrying around code books is better weight training than those cute little dumbbells you buy at the fitness store.
8. Classification systems and nomenclatures make great party conversation. "I'll bet you don't know what SNODO* is!"
7. If a patient can do it, get it, or hurt it, you can code it.
6. You love explaining what you do each day - "Oh, I typically transform sixty-five or so pages of complicated clinical information written in a foreign language (medical terminology) into numeric codes that will fit on a one-page form."
5. When you get carpal tunnel syndrome from turning those pages and burning up a computer keyboard, you'll know how to code it for your insurance company.
4. You can impress your friends by saying you'll meet them after work for some 94.38 at your favorite hangout."**
3. You are passionate about acronyms (DRG, APG, HCPCS, HCFA, HEDIS, CPT, UHDDS, ICD-9-CM, CHMIS, WEDI, UB-92)***
2. When you hear "The AR days dropped again today," you get goosebumps.
1. The eternal mysteries of ICD-9-CM and HCPCS CPT-4 are transformed at your touch into essential mastery of critical clinical data indexing that can change the health of America!
*Standard Nomenclature of Disease and Operations (SNODO) was a coding system that predated ICD-9-CM
**94.38, Supportive verbal psychotherapy
*** Ambulatory patient groups (APGs) were proposed prior to the use of ambulatory payment classifications (APCs); the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) was renamed the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in 2000, the uniform bill 1992 has been updated and replaced with the uniform bill 2004 (UB-04)