Why I Chose At-Home Professions

By: Annie

As I get closer and closer each day to reaching my goal of completing this program, I had to sit back and reflect a bit on how exactly I got on this path and what drove me to begin this adventure.

My daughter was less than a month old and I had been on maternity leave for that period of time and was constantly counting down the days until I would have to go back to work. I was dreading leaving my baby, and even more so the idea of putting her in daycare.

I had these fears and feelings in my heart at all times, so when I heard a radio ad that offered a work-at-home career in the medical field, I was instantly intrigued. I made sure I was able to attend that meeting and I signed up the same evening. I had been sold!

annie-12-5As I stated above, being home with my daughter was an important aspect of my decision to move forward with the program, but another factor was the potential income. I wanted to feel like I was contributing to our household and I felt this program would be the perfect way to do that.

I also wanted a flexible schedule. Based on my prior work experience, I knew I needed a career that would allow me the flexibility to work on my time and not miss out on the things in life that I felt were important. Again, I felt with this program and career that was something that I could do.

Another thing that I felt was important was the fact that I felt like I was doing something worthwhile or productive. Even though most of my reasons are purely selfish, I still wanted to know that I was making a difference. After completing the first four courses and currently working on the fifth, I can see that what I will be doing will be making a huge impact. Without our skills, the medical field would come to a halt pretty quick. That is nice job security!

Overall, I am so happy with my decision to jump out of my comfort zone and start this program. I am excitedly anticipating completing the entire program and finding a career in this field. I have thoroughly enjoyed everything I’ve learned thus far and can’t wait to start applying my skills in the real world.

The transcription portion of the course has been so interesting and fun, but also very consuming. I can’t have any distractions when I am working on my studies, but each day I do a little more and I am still hoping to be done by my birthday! I hope your studies are where you would like them to be as well.

How to Juggle School During the Holidays

By: Jessica

jessica-12-5Hi Everyone! Are you ready to start the crazy holiday season? I am totally not, because for me it’s crunch time to get caught up in school and a race to get all the presents bought and wrapped, and to get all the cooking and baking done. But, at the same time, it means time for family, friends and yummy food.

I’m sure we are all ready to take a break from school work and get some family and friend fun time in. But before I get to do that, I want to be organized and prepared so that when all the fun and games are over, I won’t be stressed or dreading getting back to my normal routine. Here are a few things I try to get done before the holiday break:

  1. Get at least two chapters ahead. Turn in at least one test and 5 quizzes. I do this because I know that first week back to work or school I am always drained and have no motivation to think about all that I need to do. This really helps me get back in the swing of things.
  2. Tie up any lose ends with school work. If I am having a hard time learning I send out an email to a teacher or someone that I know can help me. I get all my questions answered and make sure that I am confident in knowing the answers on my own.
  3. Create a list of assignments that will need to be completed when school resumes.
  4. Clean up your work space. I prefer a deep clean! And toss out anything that is no longer needed.

And here are a few things I do during my holiday vacation:

  1. Make a flexible itinerary of who you want to spend time with and when. Also include specific dates and times that your family has for parties and holiday gatherings. This way you have an idea of when you can pencil in other things you would like to do and not hurt anyone’s feelings. Also, if you have to do schoolwork, you will be able to make a plan for when you can add this into your day.
  2. Make sure that friends and family know that there may be a specific time you need to get homework done or even just to relax.
  3. Plan a day just for yourself to veg out and do the things you have wanted to do and have not had the time to get done. This is, after all, your vacation.
  4. Always try to enjoy time with family and friends without stressing about homework. It will be there for you when the holidays are over and you’ll want to have a clear and motivated mind.

The holidays are a time for friends and family. Yes, we still have obligations and responsibilities. But there are memories to be made and you cannot get that time back if you happen to lose it. School is very important; this is why I suggest being organized and prepared so that things are smooth and you can ease back into your normal routine!

The Beginning of the End

By: Annie

I did it! Course 4 is officially done and over with! I spent such a long time on Course 4, but I learned so much about anatomy and physiology, CPT codes, and E/M codes. Looking back now, I can understand why it took me such a long time—that is a lot of information!

I managed to finish the last quiz for Course 4 on Saturday night after a day away from home. We left our house super early Saturday morning and drove 3 hours to the other end of the state for my little brother’s playoff football game. They managed to take the win and are competing for the state title on Friday morning. I think the adrenaline and success motivated me to get that last quiz done once I got home.

My brother had one of his best games. If you are a fan of football, you know that it is quite a physical game. He broke his thumb on one of the plays, but managed to keep on playing. He led the team in tackles and was in the quarterback’s face on just about every play on defense. Needless to say, I’m so proud of him! Ok, enough bragging about that, I’m just still so excited for him and the rest of his team!

I wasn’t ahead of the game like I usually am and didn’t order the hard copy of the text and supplemental materials prior to starting the final course. While looking through the final course’s materials I knew for sure I wanted a hard copy of the Transcription Reference Guide. It looks so helpful, so I am looking forward to utilizing that for the final course.

While I am waiting for the printed materials to get here, I took the opportunity to begin reading the first lesson and downloading Express Scribe and getting it registered. Once my materials do arrive I will be ready! In the meantime, I will continue to go through Course 5 as fast as I can via the online materials. I mentioned before that I appreciate having things in hard copy; I just comprehend things better this way.

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I am so anxious to begin learning this final skill in the healthcare documentation specialist program. My mom and I were talking this weekend and she reminded me that when I was in high school I had wanted to be a court stenographer. She thought it was such a coincidence that I am now going to do medical transcription because they appear to be very similar careers. I also thought it was pretty ironic and it almost makes me feel a little relief, like maybe I am on the right track after all.

I have been setting small goals for myself every few days and that seems to work the best for me. My long-term goal was to be done with the whole program by my birthday at the end of this month and I might be cutting it kind of close to that so I probably won’t fulfill that dream. But, day-by-day and assignment-by-assignment I seem to be very successful so I will continue looking at my strides on a smaller scale for now.

I hope you are all doing well and your studies are sailing along!

How to Manage Expectations

By: Jessica

Hi everyone – hope you had a great Thanksgiving with friends and family. Did you have time to catch up on any homework?

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Did your holiday meet your expectations? Did you expect to have lots of family memories, and laugh as hard as you did? Or did you go into the holiday without any expectations? Sometimes, things turn out completely differently than how we plan them. I have this issue all the time; I always have things all planned out in my mind and know how things are going to go. BUT, it literally never fails, things never turn out the way I picture them in my mind.

This also rings very true for this course. Having taken a similar Medical Billing class in previous years, I figured my AHP program would be easy peezy. Well, needless to say, I was not expecting so much detail in this medical documentation course. I’m sure you’re well aware that there is so much information involved in Medical Billing and Coding. When I first started this program, I thought the coding part of the course would be a breeze. I would look up the medical term and…BOOM! there is  one set-in-stone code. Boy, was I wrong. There are so many different variables that go into coding. Honestly, my mind was blown by how many possible variables there could be. But, if I stop and think about it, our health is made up of many variables, so why would the coding just be plain and simple? That is what I have to keep reminding myself on a daily basis. I have to admit, coding has me at my wits ends at times. But, just like in life, there are so many possibilities and factors that change our plans daily.

My advice is to keep calm, sit back and look at the big picture. I always go back and reread the situation and highlight the clues given in the text. Things cannot always go as planned or life would be SO boring. I know there are days when you mumble to yourself “please just one day let things to fall into place.” I say that at least once a day, if not more. If this course was how I expected, I wouldn’t have learned anything new or wanted to continue on without challenges. I am a firm believer that there is more value in things that are earned.

So, if the course is stressing you out, or you feel like it’s getting too hard and you want to quit – don’t quit!!! Look at the big picture, ask some questions to narrow down an answer, and, as always ask, for help. Someone might be able to answer your question and it will make complete sense to you. Other people may answer and completely confuse the heck out of you. “Expect the unexpected” is the truest quote ever. Enjoy your week and make this the best week ever!

Fun with Evaluation and Management Services

By: Annie

A couple weeks ago you may have read about my blunder, which involved skipping Quiz 26 and then having to go back and complete it. I managed to get that done, as well Quiz 27. I am currently working on Quiz 28 and once again I am taking my sweet time.

I really appreciate all the Practice Exercises and Quizzes because of all the practice it offers involving E/M Audit forms and discerning the correct key components for each scenario.

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Overall, I enjoy doing this type of coding. It’s not as quick as coding for a procedure would be, but it’s something we will have to know how to do, and by the sounds of the text it is something we’ll be doing quite a lot of in our coding careers. I appreciate that it’s all right in the front of our CPT textbooks so I don’t have to go flipping through the entire book to find them.

I still struggle with some aspects of the audit, but the more practice I get, the easier it has become. There have been a few times that I have come across a scenario that has already been covered in a previous exercise or quiz and I know just what to do to code the scenario correctly.

In the beginning, I did seek the help of the At-Home Professionals instructor quite a bit. Every encounter I’ve had with the instructors so far has been extremely positive. They are so willing to explain each question I have and word it in the way that makes sense. I really appreciate having that tool at my fingertips.

I’m hoping to be done with Course 4 by this time next week. I got my email that my Course 5 materials were on their way, so I have been watching the mail for them. It is such a great feeling to know that soon I’ll be on the final course and nearly done with my program through At-Home Professions.

I might be a little premature, but I’ve also begun looking for remote coding jobs. I haven’t applied for any yet, I just wanted a little exposure to the job market. I also wanted to see if there actually were jobs available for entry-level coders and I found a few different opportunities that looked promising so that was a huge relief to me. I didn’t want to do all this work for nothing so I was very happy to see that.

I hope your studies are all continuing on and that you are getting closer and closer to completion as well!

How to Realize How Far You’ve Come

By: Jessica

Hey everyone!! Hope you had a great weekend! Today let’s discuss the past to the present. Let’s compare and see how you have come to be in the health career field.

jessica-11-18Let’s use your 12-year-old self as an example. Did you want to be a doctor? Nurse? I know that when I was 12 years old all I wanted to do was live in a Barbie mansion with my version of Ken, drive my convertible up and down the Malibu coast and go shopping for all the cute clothes. Ok, I am not going to lie, that is still currently my dream haha! When you started middle school, it’s likely the teachers started giving you quizzes and tests that were supposed to help you figure out what you wanted to be when you grew up. My method for taking these tests was to just close my eyes and circle things. I was in middle school, I had no idea what I wanted to do when I grew up! My main concern at that time was what I was going to do on the weekend and who I was going to have a crush on that week.

Little did I know how quickly those years would pass, and I would still not have a clue as to what I wanted to be when I grew up. Still, at age 34, I haven’t the slightest idea when I will grow up. But I have narrowed down my potential career list. I know for sure that Medical Billing is for me.

How do I know that Medical Billing is for me? It’s something that I constantly want to learn more about and I continue to have a passion for it. It works very well with my OCD habits and it has helped me to become a more disciplined person. I’m hopeful that Medical Billing will allow me to work from home, so in the winter months I can call this hibernation. So, how does my life today compare to five years ago?

1. My life has structure and purpose.

2. I set career goals – not just spending limits.

3. I am striving for my career, and not to be the most popular person at a party.

4. I have some very smart and helpful instructors that help guide me, instead of annoying me.

5. I am more aware of how fast time flies when you are having fun.

6. But most of all, I have a genuine passion for something that makes me a better person.

I am very happy with my decision to join At-Home Professions. I cannot wait to get my certificate and frame it. With that being said, I think I better start brainstorming my next 5 year plan, other than enjoying the career I am striving for currently. So how about you? Where were you 5 years ago compared to the present?

When Life Hands You Apples

By: Annie

I’m sure you’ve heard the familiar phrase before: “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” I’ve seen it modified a few times to include some type of alcohol, or a negative comment if that person happens to not like lemons, but I much prefer the original phrase the best.

I’ve always tried to be a “make lemonade” person. I’ve been relatively fortunate that I have not received a whole lot of lemons in my lifetime. Like you may have read before, my biggest struggle has been my infertility challenge so during that time I did get handed a few lemons by life on a few different occasions. Even then, I did my best to “make lemonade” and currently have a happy, healthy 7 month old crawling all over me as I try to type this.

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You may have noticed that my title does not match what I’ve been discussing thus far and trust me, I do have a reason. You see, around this time of year apples are very abundant in our area. Each year I get super excited to get that first sack of freshly picked apples. By about this time of year, I almost get nauseous just looking at an apple, but just this morning I had to remind myself that apples are a lot like lemons in this sense and instead of making lemonade I should just find something to do with my lovely apples.

For me, part of “making lemonade” also includes being thankful for those lemons. When I look at the three giant bags of apples currently lining the floor of my pantry I remind myself to be thankful. I am thankful that the majority of these apples will be peeled and cut at my grandma and grandpa’s house and then bagged and frozen for my grandma’s delicious homemade pie. I am thankful for these memories with them and even the countless hours spent in the process. I am thankful for my other grandpa, whose tree is where all of the apples come from. I am thankful that he is still healthy enough to go out and pick apples for his entire family and I am secretly very thankful that he refuses help anytime we tell him that we’ll assist him in his picking.

I am thankful I can use the apples to make puree and applesauce for my daughter. I am thankful that she eats so well and has a big appetite for her age. I am thankful I can make apple crisp for my husband and apple chips for me (my favorite!). I am thankful that I have the health and ability to do all these things. I am also thankful that our donkey and my brother’s horses love apple peels and cores so that nothing goes to waste.

Isn’t it funny how one little fruit can bring up so many emotions in me? I try to be thankful year round, but the harvest season reveals to me how abundantly blessed I truly am. Life seems to be much more beautiful when you take the time to be thankful for it all. So the next time someone hands you a lemon (or an apple), make lemonade or apple sauce, but also be thankful for the gift!

I managed to get through the quiz I had accidentally skipped over, but I spent quite a bit of time on it because I didn’t want to commit any silly errors. I’m currently working my way through Quiz 27 slowly as well. You can never be too careful you know! I hope your studies are all going well!

Valuable Life Lessons My HDS Program Has Taught Me

By: Jessica

Can you believe it is November already? Today I want to talk about life lessons. Not just in general, but specifically with our health documentation class. How has the HDS program helped you learn life lessons? Has it changed how you look at certain things? Has it made you a more disciplined person? These are just some of the questions I try to ask myself before I make a big decision, such as starting a college class.

Well, here are the lessons I have learned during my HDS program….

1. Time Management – We all know that time does not slow down just for you, unless you are waiting for paint to dry or water to boil. In life there are so many deadlines, due dates, and people wanting to take your time. But how you choose to juggle your time always shows what type of person you are or can become. For example, if you spend all of your time at work, people may consider you a workaholic. If you spend most of your time with your family, you might be considered a family man or woman. But if you can juggle, family, work, and a social life you, in this day and age, are a super hero! So, I hope that you can always find a happy balance and enjoy everything life gives you.

2. Persistence – This has been a huge one for me, personally. I think I have wanted to give up at least five times throughout my program. When I have so much information thrown at me at one time, and it’s just not sinking in, I tend to give up. But when this is an investment in yourself, you cannot just give up. Especially when you have so many people counting on you, including your family and also many of your fellow peers. So for me, I have to take a quick break and just push through it. Most of the time I will email a friend or teacher and get some questions answered. I always keep my class materials with me in my car and even at work, so that when I get a small break I can fill my time with homework to keep with the schedule.Calendar Contemporary Digital Device Concepts

3. Organization– This is a huge one for me. In the HDS course, if you are not organized, you will be lost. There are so many different quizzes, books, and words to learn. Like I have always said in the past, you have to use sticky notes, lists, and any other tools that help keep you on track. In life, too, you have to be organized and have a schedule for appointments, due dates, and even when it comes to meal planning for your family. I think that women are just natural organizers, but men need to learn this skill too!

I am sure there are more lessons to be learned as I keep going through these courses but these are the ones that stand out to me. These are the skills I use the the most. Have a great week – keep going and achieving your goals!

One Step Forward, Ten Steps Back

By: Annie

Do you ever start a project or begin a goal and feel like you are making great strides only to hit a blockade or come upon a challenge you weren’t expecting? If you aren’t quite ready for the unexpected obstacle, you can be left stunned and even back-pedaling a bit. That’s about where I am right now!

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If you follow me from week to week, you may have read that I was ready to delve into the E/M Audit portion of Course 4. It took me the better part of a week to work my way through this material. It mainly took that long because I wanted to be 100% sure I comprehended and understood each perspective of the audit.

I did each Practice Exercise very carefully and was very conscientious answering the questions. I wanted to be sure I was on the right track. I got to the end of Lesson 37 and at the bottom of the page it said to go take the quiz. Great, I thought! Quiz 27 seemed to come a lot faster than I expected.

I mentally prepared myself for the quiz. Organized my books, brewed a nice big pot of coffee, got my lucky pen out (yes, I have a lucky pen), and opened my quiz packet to the last page I had worked on. The top of the page said “Quiz 26.” Wait, what? Something wasn’t right here…

Turns out I was on such a roll going through Lesson 36 that I missed the bottom of the page that said, “Step 9: Quiz 26.” Well, there goes all that progress and momentum I was gaining. So here I am, working my way through Quiz 26 and as soon as I’m done with that I’ll be able to start on Quiz 27. I guess in the long run I’m not really taking any steps back, just taking a different route. A very disconnected, chaotic route, but a route that is making some progress, nonetheless.

I’ve been known to make silly mistakes like this, so I can’t really say this surprises me. I’m actually quite happy to find out that I get to have so much practice integrating the different codes we have learned now. I’m going to take these lemons and make lemonade this time. That’s about all I can do!

I hope your studies are going well and in a little more order than mine are. By next week I should be back in the swing of things and following the right process again! Maybe you can use my error to make yourself feel better about how your studies are going. I would be glad to do that for you, haha!

Happy studying!

Getting to Know Us

By: Jessica

Hi Everyone! Hope y’all have been having a great week. I know since the holiday season is coming everyone is busy getting ready and, hopefully, getting some time in for homework. It’s been very busy trying to fit homework in to my schedule. Well today I would like to do something different than I normally do in this blog. I would like to tell you more about myself, including some of the things that I could not fit in to my bio page!

jessica-11-8Here we go! I have been in the HDS program a year in March. My goal is to be finished in January. I am currently a special needs bus driver in the state of Michigan. And, yes, I hate cold weather with a passion. I was born in the wrong state. I have two dogs, both pugs, one is black and one is fawn. Their names are Boo boo, and Boscoe. They are my children. I was not blessed to be able to have children of my own and I have come to terms with it, so I have fur babies and might possibly adopt in the future. Right now I would like to focus on my career and begin a career I love from home. In the winter I am a hermit and would love to be able to hibernate inside during the cold tundra weather and still work. I enjoy my current job very much, except in the winter. So this is why I want to work from home.

Awhile back I got laid off of work after being employed for over 10 years, and I was scared. I didn’t know what I was going to do, so I took a 2-week intro class for Medical Billing through Craigslist, which ended up being a total scam. But in the two weeks that I went to the class I loved learning every bit of information of the Medical Billing world. I was very upset when I discovered it was all a scam.

I went on searching for another career, putting my applications in everywhere. I was driving home and on the radio was a commercial about a Medical Billing informational seminar not far from where I lived that night at 7pm. I texted my husband and asked him to go with me to keep me from falling for another scam. So we went and it was the real deal!! I brought home my first two courses that night!!! I dove right into the box as soon as I walked through the door. And here I am today, I am still excited and love what I am learning. It is a lot harder than I thought, but that means that I have more to learn, and more experience to gain. If you would like to share your story about how you became a student with AHP, I would love to read it. As always have a great week, and keep reaching your goals!