You remember your text book answers as: Anatomy is the study of the human body, while physiology is the study of how that body works. Being familiar with anatomy and physiology will make your job easier as a Medical Coder. To break up the monotony of coding it would be nice to read about the little piggy that went to the market but instead you read about metatarsal fractures. The interviewer won't expect you to fluent in Dr. talk but will expect you to know how to do you research, use your ICD-10 as reference and be able to confirm diagnosis with healthcare professionals as needed.
Don't be too confident when answering this question! Tell the interviewer about the qualities you possess as a leader. Competence, motivation, intelligence are all skills you possess as a leader. Have you help a supervisory role before? Have you had people work for you? What would they say about your leadership style and qualities? Don't leave out the importance of being a good follower. Good followers learn to read people and understand what upsets and motivates them and how to get along with those who have differences while not ignoring those differences.You can't be a good leader if you aren't a good follower.
Hopefully, this question is being asked of you during your second or third interview. Salary negotiation is a real and sometimes an intimidating topic for people. Are you interviewing for a position that you know pays less? Maybe the selling factor is that there will be less drive time, more time with you family and less stress. Sometimes these reasons mean more to you than money.
"Currently I'm making approximately $20K more a year than you are offering at this time. I would be open to negotiating a lower starting salary but would hope that we can revisit the subject in a few months."
This is a short variation of the typical interview question, 'Where do you see yourself in five years?' Instead, the interviewer may ask more directly, 'Where do you see yourself in the next year?'. Interviewing, hiring, and onboarding is an expensive and time-consuming endeavor for any company. The interviewer wants to be assured that, if hired, you will see this as a longer-term fit. Discuss your career plans, goals, and how those fit with what this company is offering. Describe your passion for this opportunity, and what you like about the company you are applying for.
"I am thrilled to be interviewing here for your Medical Coder position. I believe with the talents and skill set will be a great addition to your team. This is an opportunity I have been seeking for some time now so I plan to stay for the long term should I be lucky enough to be hired."
These situations seem to happen often in the workplace since everyone's work style is a bit unique. Maybe you are organized, and you had to work with someone who is not organized. Perhaps you are a 'big picture' thinker, and you had to work with someone who micromanaged the details. Maybe you are a technology whiz, and you had to work with someone who likes to do things with paper and pen. Start by discussing the project you were working on and the ways your work styles differed from each other. Explain how you came to a mutual consensus on how to conquer the project. Show the interviewer that you are capable of giving merit to other working styles, even if they do not match your own.
"My co-worker and I approach deadlines differently, and that is okay. I prefer mapping out the situation and putting myself on a timeline whereas she prefers to just jump right into the task. We have found a good balance of our two working styles after discussing our differences. On our last project, we agreed to split the tasks up and come together at the end of each day to put the pieces together. We have also agreed to keep the lines of communication open throughout the day. As different as we are from each other, we both agree that so long as we get to the end goal together, it doesn't always matter how we got there."
Change is common in today's workplaces, and interviewers want to know that you have the ability to embrace change. Perhaps your job duties changed, there was a major change in policy, you had to welcome a new manager, or your company was acquired. These situations make great examples to draw on. Pick an example where you enjoyed the change the most, or where the end result was the most positive. Explain how this change directly affected your job, and tell the interviewer how you maintained a positive approach during the transition. Finally, be sure to mention that change is a part of the workplace today, and you recognize that your role as an employee is to embrace it, encourage others to accept it, and be ready to continually learn new ways of doing things.
"Last year we upgraded to ICD-10. I was required to learn a completely new software system in a short amount of time. To tackle this challenge, I took a weekend-long online workshop to master the program. I find that when there is a major change in the workplace it's best to take the learning curve on as a positive challenge. I encouraged my co-workers to do the same course and it was really helpful for them as well."
Take advantage of this question! So many times people run for the hills once the interview is over. You always think of the best thing to say once you've left the interview room. Feel free to write your questions down and bring them to the interview with you. A short list of 3 questions will help you keep on track, not ramble and not ask something inappropriate like how often you get smoke breaks.
"When should I expect to hear from you, may I contact you in a day or two?"
Characteristics you will want to highlight with your answer to this question will be one's that show a successful follower and leader. Share a story with the interviewer where your supervisor appreciated that you could prioritize tasks and manage my responsibilities daily.
"My boss tells me that I'm his go-to for ICD-10 codes and I learn new information and procedures quickly. These skills account for my promotion this past year."
This question is being asked to assess your relationships with coworkers and your role within a functional team. Your co-workers may describe you as being dependable, trustworthy and hard-working. Skip any crazy stories that might paint a different picture. Keep it work related and you'll be in the clear.
"My co-workers would say that I like to have fun with it’s appropriate and that I know how to laugh to keep morale high and tension low."
As a Medical Coder, you may feel that your job lacks the need to make quick decisions but the decisions are still very important. Tell the interviewer about your ability to read the providers handwriting in order to code procedures correctly. You may have been faced with decisions that became so routine you didn't think twice. Take some time to think about your daily routine to identify those decisions and how you made them.
"As a supervisor of three inpatient coders, I routinely make day to day supervisory decisions. I set work schedules, divide workload, review work and answer any questions that my co-workers may have."
Multitasking is tricky! Sometimes it's impossible to juggle five different things at once. Show enthusiasm and confidence when you give your example. You can handle it! Give the interviewer confidence that you can do it!
"On busy days I help out at the front desk. I often have to bounce back and forth between answering phones, coding inpatient procedures and explaining different codes to medical staff. I've gotten used to it and I enjoy the variety and the challenge."
Tell the interviewer what you bring to the table that others don't have. Think of one of your skills or qualities that make you valuable to the team. Give an example of how you picked up a new skill at your last job when your boss needed assistance. Demonstrating how you can step up to the plate and acquire new knowledge or skill to assist the rest of the team is a valuable quality. What qualities do you have that will help make a great contribution to the company.
"One of my best assets is that I'm a quick learner. I'm a jump in and do it kind of person."
The interviewer wants to see that you have a desire to learn, grow and take on new challenges. How have you demonstrated this in past roles? Think of your most recent job and the times you volunteered to assist a coworker with a project or take on the task of researching a problem to find an alternative solution. Your willingness to take on different tasks with a positive attitude gives the interviewer all the more reason to want to get to know you better.
"My past supervisor was impressed with my coding knowledge as well as my ability to speak in front of people. We recently had an increase in denied claims and thought it would be best to education our professionals on the errors we were finding. My presentation was well received and I've helped bridge the gap between our medical professionals and coding team."
Integrity, Inspires others, confident and full of passion....so many qualities make up a good manager. Now isn't the time to talk poorly about your last manager but the time to let the interviewer know that you are excited to get the chance to work for someone that possesses these qualities. Because you are the star employee you'll bring out the best in your manager.
Medical Coders must be able to read a patient’s medical record and understand the specialized terminology used. It requires a familiarity with anatomy and physiology, as well as how and why procedures are performed. Knowing all the in's and out's of the procedure will help when it's time to determine the appropriate ICD-10 code. Having more information than not will eliminate the need to ask questions and dig into the medical record even more. Not sure how a particular procedure is performed? Chances are the provider left it off their notes.
"If I was unable to determine how the procedure was performed I would consult with the providers office for clarification. By getting clarification it could avoid a denied claim and incorrect billing for the patient."
Have you been anticipating the strength and weakness question from your interviewer? Well this is it! The ability to assign codes accurately and use the right code to describe what it is intended to describe, is the most important skill you can bring to the workplace. THIS is your strength. Be confident in your answer. You may even be able to convince the interviewer you could code in your sleep....or at least with one arm tied behind your back.
Your role as a Medical Coder is transparent, operating in a way that it is easy for others to see what actions are performed. In other words, you provide clarity, and accuracy of the Dr's jibber jabber in the form of ICD-10 codes. Because of your skill you can help avoid healthcare fraud or abuse.
Tumor registrars code all cancer cases and report them to the CDC using the ICD-10. If you have never had to opportunity to code cancer cases let the interviewer know that you are ready for the challenge! You'll have your ICD-10 handy to get the job done.
"I've never had the opportunity to report cancer codes to the CDC but am excited about chance to learn about a new way of coding. I've made other cheat sheets that have helped my co-workers and I with coding I would imagine a cheat sheet for cancer codes would be easy for me to put together as well."
As a Medical Coder you regularly interact with medical professionals. Sometimes this means calling for clarification because you can't read their chicken scratch. Because you can't tell if the l is really a t it could mean a procedure that is covered or not covered by insurance. Let the interviewer know that you are confident in your job and not afraid to ask for clarification.
We are all human and make errors. If a claim is denied to to incorrect coding you are able to evaluate and re-file appeals of patient claims. Has this happened to you? Did you fat-finger a key? That's ok! Share a story with the interviewer of how this happened...but more importantly how you fixed it and how you learned from it.
ICD-9-CM is old news. Make sure your guidance is the ICD-10-CM. Ready to impress the interviewer? Let the interviewer know that you regularly use the guidance for determining diagnosis codes, describe inpatient medical procedures as well as codes that describe the causes of injuries. This will show the interviewer that it's not just a paperweight on your desk but a tool that you use everyday.
If you have F41.1 memorized then well done! The interviewer won't look down upon you for not having every code memorized but they will scratch their heads if you can't tell them where to find it. Since the ICD-10 is your bible reference it. Even better? Let the interviewer know that you have an up to date cheat sheet of the top 20 codes therapists, psychologists, social workers, and counselors are using.
" There are different codes for various levels of anxiety. I would have to check my ICD-10 to verify your request. My ICD-10 is my go-to for all coding requirements. I always have a copy handy, am very familiar with its layout and have always been able to easily find what I'm looking for."
Because dream about ICD-10 codes at night you know this means site and severity of the burn. An easy way to answer this question would be to walk the interviewer through the process of how you would code this burn. Because you won't have your ICD-10 handy for reference you'll have to do your best. Don't guess on descriptions of codes. Here is an example answer: "First I'll need at least three codes to properly code this burn. I'll start with the site and severity, extent and external cause. I'll use my ICD-10 manual to code the anatomical location, code the degree of the burn and code any additional details of the burn."
"First I'll need at least three codes to properly code this burn. I'll start with the site and severity, extent and external cause. I'll use my ICD-10 manual to code the anatomical location, code the degree of the burn and code any additional details of the burn."
This question is similar to 'Why are you the best candidate?' Think about the strengths and skills that made you an asset in your last position. Maybe you made changes that made your job easier. Think of your strengths in action! If you are reliable, talk about how consistent your work has been and how you are in constant support for coworkers. If you have a strong work ethic, share how you accomplished a project in the midst of harsh obstacles.
"The complaint amongst my co-workers that it took too much time to pull up commonly used codes in the ICD-10 manual. We brainstormed as a group to determine which codes were used most often and I created a cheat sheet for all of us to use. This cheat sheet saved us 80 minutes per person a day in coding."
Achievements aren't always something you can hang on the wall of your office. Sometimes an achievement is completing a difficult task and overcoming the obstacles that come up along the way. You have a couple ways you can answer the interviewers question: Discuss an example of when you overcame obstacles to achieve something great, or share an accomplishment or award you received and talk about what was challenging about it. Either way, you are showing your determination and focus to reach your goal. Think of a situation that highlights your strengths and qualities that will be helpful for the job you're interviewing for.
Safeguarding patient information is your number one priority as a Medical Coder. Your answer should show that you are very knowledgeable regarding regulations and that you place patient rights and confidentiality at the top of your priority list. Let the interviewer know that you take care not to disclose this information to inappropriate parties.
"Anytime that I leave my desk, my computer is password protected and the patient charts I'm working on are put away and locked up. Each night my space is clear of patient information and my door is behind two locked doors."
In the medical field, you may find yourself interacting with a variety of personalities on your team. Some people are easier to work with than others. Give a REAL example. Breakdown what happened and how you handled it professionally. Focus on the solution, not the conflict. If you wish you would have done something different, share it. Showing you can learn from past conflicts shows maturity.
"One of my co-workers wasn't carrying their weight, which meant everyone else had more work to do. I chatted with her one day at lunch, and she shared some personal issues that had been interfering and we agreed she needed some help with her projects. We all met with our boss and we determined a temporary solution to help her while she resolved her issues outside of work."
Medical Coders work on the financial and technical side of the medical industry, coding claims for reimbursements and dealing with insurance billing. As a Medical Coder you must carefully read the doctor’s and nurse’s notes to precisely determine the services received by the patient. Medical Coders must also understand private payer policies and government regulations for accurate coding and billing.
Medical Coding certificates can be obtained online within 18-24 months. A bachelor’s degree is not necessarily required. Medical Coding jobs can be performed within a medical setting or at home remotely. A candidate must possess technical, analytical and interpersonal skills. As a Medical Coder you will be expected to adapt to new software, be able to read medical records and decide the best way to record those records so that they are logical all while being personable and easy to work with.
Medical Coders are working from home these days so don't be surprised if you have a SKYPE interview. Accuracy and attention to detail will be your buzz words during this interview. Because of the highly technical nature of the work and the sensitivity of private health information you'll need to assure the interviewer that health information is secure at all times.