Monday, May 9, 2011

Opportunity Happens: ICD-10 is Mine

To quote my recent Facebook posting, "Ever notice that amazing opportunities are followed by boatloads of work?" That's my excuse for where I've been: opportunities and their resulting heavy workload. For me, opportunity is cleverly disguised as ICD-10. What is your opportunity?

Just to catch you up, I recently accepted a senior consulting position with a new consulting firm. Haugen Consulting Group is based locally in Denver and while I will be pretty much doing what I've been doing - coding consulting and education - I will also be working with a team of amazing consultants as we lead our clients through the ICD-10 implementation.

I am also chairing the Colorado Health Information Management Association's ICD-10 Task Force, which is gaining momentum each month. For the last month I've visited two of Colorado's three regional HIM associations and also had the opportunity to speak on ICD-10 and HIPAA 5010 implementation last month in Montana and do an audio conference on the new leg revascularization CPT codes for HCPro. Later this month I will present at CHIMA's spring meeting on the importance of mentoring our future workforce (I'm going to bat for all of you!) and will also moderate an ICD-10 panel. These speaking engagements lead to more speaking engagements, which is what I love to do. And sometimes the speaking engagements lead to contracts, writing opportunities, and other networking opportunities.

While I've been working on some exciting prospects of my own, some of the people I've been mentoring have also received some opportunities. I recently got a call from a recruiter asking about one such candidate and another recent grad got a part-time position in an HIM department based on her work there as a volunteer. And my advice to them now that they have their feet in the door is to work hard to keep those opportunities coming.

So if you've completed a coding or HIM program and are having trouble finding work, here's a reminder of some of the things I recommend for getting your start:
  • Network! I've received jobs from 4 people I knew or worked with in the past. And I've hired people I've worked with in volunteer organizations. Who you know matters!
  • View everything as a learning experience. Work is work, no matter how much you enjoy what you do. There are days when you won't like the tasks that have been assigned, but there may come a day when you need to tap into that experience.
  • Find a workplace mentor. Once you get your foot in the door, find someone you can go to with questions. This doesn't have to be a manager - it can be a lead, a person who has worked there "forever" or even a team of people.
  • Keep a positive attitude. No one wants to work with someone who is negative and miserable. A positive attitude goes a long way in any industry.
  • Don't give up - because opportunity happens!