Say what you will, but there are tons of ICD-10-CM Codes used for the different spine conditions. Even if you are not a newbie coder–it can be confusing. This post is not about all the different codes, but just one specific note for the M50 series. If you look at M50, you will see, ‘Note: Code to the most superior level of the disorder.’ If you’ve never noticed this before, please go check it out in the ICD-10 book right now. Below is a pic of my book and the note is highlighted in orange.
So the long and short of it is, you only need to code the disorder for the highest level that’s documented in the report. So say if you’re coding an MRI and the dx is cervical disc disorders with myelopathy, and it’s documented at the C3-C4 level and also C5-C6 in the report–you would only code M50.01. You do not need the code M50.021. I can’t tell you how many times I see coders make this mistake. Here’s the kicker, sometimes it’s not even coders who make this mistake. Sometimes it’s a coding engine. But bear in mind though that there’s no way a coding engine can ‘know’ all the rules. But as coders we have no excuse. When all is said and done, we really just have to know this stuff.
So if you’re out there right now looking for a medical coding job, I’m sure you realize how tough it is. Many places require experience to get hired and even then , sometimes experienced coders have a tough time too. There are some small things you can do to help you have more success with your job search, but the one I’m talking about today is to make a portfolio.
I think people hear the word “portfolio” and panic because they don’t know what it is, and it sounds like more work. “Portfolio” to me, is just a nice word for “binder.” This doesn’t have to be some long involved kind of project. You probably already have a lot of stuff you can put in the portfolio and you don’t even realize it. The good thing is, if you bring a portfolio on an interview, it can only be a positive thing and make you look better than other people applying for the same jobs you are.
Also, the portfolio has another purpose, not just for use on job interviews. It’s a way to keep track of all your CEU certificates. If you’re a member of AAPC, you have to submit your CEU’s to keep your certification active. If you keep all certificates in a portfolio, it’s easy to enter in all of the certificate numbers, and you’ll know you’re not forgetting to add anything. Another benefit is, if AAPC decides to audit your CEU’s (which they did to me 2 years ago) it is easy to copy your certificates and send them in. So in other words, it’s a nice way to stay organized.
Ok, so here is a pic of my actual portfolio. I wasn’t kidding when I said it meant “binder.”
You can add a cover or make it fancier if you want, but I never did.
Now, there’s different things you can put into the portfolio itself. I have copies of my CEU certificates like I mentioned before, and also copies of articles I’ve been quoted in, my resume, copies of my coding certification and a copy of my college degree. If you really want to get creative with it, maybe adding pictures of your home office would be nice too. My desk is too much of a mess compared to others so that is why it is not featured in here. But it is not a mess to me. I know where everything is.
Here are more pics of my portfolio:
You can get as creative as you want with it. Mine is pretty basic but it helps just to keep things organized. It doesn’t really matter what you decide to put in here as long as it’s professional and highlights your skills. I would just suggest putting all documents in a plastic sleeve/cover though.
So, next time you go on an interview–bring your portfolio with you. It will help you stand out compared to other applicants and who knows–may help you land a coding job.
PS-Here are links to some binders you can use to make your portfolio: