Coding Outsource Vendors: The 5 Most Common Myths Debunked

imagesAs a medical coding professional it may seem that the greatest challenges present themselves not in the classroom or at your desk, but within the competitive job market.  Making the decision to change jobs is not something that is taken lightly; one must consider stability, education, growth, benefits, management support, work/life balance, and financial impact.  There are many myths and rumors about working for a coding vendor versus a hospital/healthcare provider that can be misleading.

We’re clearing up the 5 most common myths when it comes to working for a facility versus a coding outsource vendor.

myth 1“If I work for a vendor, I will not be a full-time employee.”

False! Perhaps historically speaking, working for an outsourcing vendor meant working as a contractor, but in 2015 increasingly efficient technology and remote coding capabilities have allowed vendors to invest in coders as full-time employees.  For the best vendors, the search for coding talent isn’t only about ramping up for ICD-10 in October, it’s about knowing where the healthcare industry is going in the next decade and securing the right talent to meet the needs of the future industry.  Forward-thinking vendors invest in their people for the long-term by making them full-time employees.

When an outsource vendor invests in you, you become an important part of a long-term growth strategy. Vendors have the advantage of working with multiple clients allowing them to gain perspective and forecast the growth of the healthcare industry.  Because vendors are not bogged down by the daily challenges faced within a facility, more effort and resources can be focused on strategic growth.  The best vendors grow their companies internally as well as externally and have budgeted for an increase in full-time coding employees.

m2 “If I work for an outsource vendor, I won’t get 40 hours of work per week and my pay and benefits will suffer."

This is one of the most popular myths in medical coding, but you will find that the best vendors invest in their coders by offering competitive pay and benefits.  For example, at himagine solutions our medical coders are full-time employees and are offered the same benefits as the employees in our corporate offices. These benefits include: medical, dental, vision, PTO, and 401(k) matching and profit sharing.

Furthermore, when working with a vendor with a large client base, you can be sure there will always be 40 hours of work available to you.  Working with a company that has a clear growth strategy means that they will always be looking to add to their list of clients resulting in a growing workload.  Not only will you have full-time work, you will get the benefit of working on increasingly challenging and stimulating projects as you progress in your career.

m3“Outsource vendors do not offer job stability. I will be unemployed when my coding assignment ends.”

In our current economic climate, it’s understandable that job security is a major concern for employees everywhere.  Although it may seem comforting to work with a single facility, you shouldn’t be fooled into thinking that this path automatically delivers stability.  Many coders have worked at hospitals for years only to find they were out of a job when the facility was acquired or underwent a merger.

Stability is where the best coding vendors shine for several reasons.  Vendors tend to work with a large body of clients giving them the luxury of matching your specific talents to the right facility.  A larger client base means that careful consideration is taken to match your talents, schedule, and goals with the best coding opportunity.  Strategic matches result in stable long-term partnerships because both you and the client are happy.

In addition, the best vendors secure long-term contracts with their largest clients.  At himagine solutions, over 50% of our business contracts are classified at Enterprise accounts meaning assignments span anywhere between 12 and 36 months, offering a more stable environment for our coders.

Vendors also have the benefit of redeployment; meaning that even if your long-term assignment comes to an end, there will always been a pool of clients eager to work with you.  The best vendors eliminate any downtime by lining up your next assignment before your current assignment ends.  In addition, if something unpredictable were to happen, such as a hospital losing funding or closing suddenly, a vendor will be able to react quickly by matching you with new coding assignment.

m4 “I will not have a manager if I work for an coding vendor. I will be left on my own without support.”

Good management is essential to any successful organization.  An exceptionally good manager strives to cultivate a hardworking, productive, and effective workforce that takes pride in its performance.  Whether managing from near or far, good management, and ongoing communication, is essential to your growth and success.

It is a myth that you are on your own if you decide to work with a coding vendor.  The best coding vendors have invested in a management staff dedicated to nurturing their remote employees.  Not only is this beneficial for the employee, clients also benefit when productivity standards are monitored and exceeded. For example, at himagine solutions our coders report into an HIM management team who understands their needs and day to day challenges.  We understand the importance of making daily touch points with our remote employees to discuss everything from sick-leave, educational opportunities, tips for working with the assigned client, and rewarding and celebrating individual success.

Remember, if you are working with a top coding vendor, they will be investing in you as a part of their long-term strategy.  Ensuring your success on the job through proper management support is an important part of that strategy.

m5 “I won’t be able to advance in my career if I work for a vendor.”

This myth couldn’t be further from the truth!  When working in a facility, a coder may benefit from building a professional network and gaining experience specific to the facility in which they work, but ultimately when it comes to getting a promotion, the coder will be limited by the number of positions available at that specific facility.  As a coder, you can either wait for the opportunity you want to open up or you can dust off your resume and begin a tiresome job search in pursuit of the right opportunity.  If you secure an interview with a new facility, you must take off work to get to your interview and then you get the chance to try and convince your new employer that you are right for the job. Sound fun?  We didn’t think so.

At himagine, we don’t believe that’s the best path for advancement and we’ve made strides to make sure our employees have the opportunity for career growth within our own company.  We’ve established an HIM career path, the first of its kind in our industry, that allows medical coders to move into increasingly complex roles.  Although you may begin your career as a medical coder, you have the opportunity to advance as a Lead Coder, Coding Manager, Coding Auditor, or Regional Coding Manager based on your personal career goals.

The best vendors have a strategy for their best employees.  We’ve also made strides by investing in our medical coders through paid education, monthly webinars, and leadership training.  Because our Coding Managers maintain daily communication with our coders, they keep our coders informed about advanced education and career opportunities.  Having a large client base means that you have the ability to advance your career without the traditional job search or losing your benefits between jobs.

The facility versus vendor myths definitely do not hold true in the coding environment today.  Leading coding vendors, like himagine, offer long term, full-time coding careers with plenty of room for advancement as well as educational opportunities.  Is it time for you to make a job change?

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Topics: Outsourcing