Fastest-growing Association in Healthcare Keeps Pace with Evolving Industry
AAPC (www.aapc.com), the leader in advancing the business of healthcare, has now officially surpassed 125,000 members. In a constantly-evolving industry, AAPC maintains high standards of excellence in education, certification, and member service. Paired with a focus on all aspects of healthcare business, these high standards have led to AAPC becoming the fastest-growing organization in their industry—having quadrupled in size over the last decade.
“This is an exciting time for AAPC and a confirmation of our contributions to healthcare,” said Jason VandenAkker, AAPC CEO. “Our continued growth is evidence of the high value placed on our credentialed professionals.”
Lori Pimentel of Big Bend, Wisconsin was the 125,000th member to join AAPC. Pimentel comes to the organization with more than 25 years of healthcare experience and currently oversees compliance at QuadMed. “I am seeking to improve my working knowledge and ensure I stay informed on regulatory changes and compliance-related matters,” she said. Pimentel is currently working towards AAPC’s CPCO™ certification.
AAPC projects continued expansion and development in the future. Learn more about the benefits of AAPC membership
October 28th, 2013
By Michelle A. Dick
As regulations get tighter, the need for compliance experts becomes greater.
It seems hard to believe that AAPC has reached 125,000 members since its inception in 1988; at least it was a shock for Lori Pimentel of Big Bend, Wis. When Pimentel found out she was the milestone 125K member for AAPC she said, “I had no idea AAPC had that volume of members. It just goes to show what a credible, knowledgeable, and reliable organization AAPC must be!”
Pimentel’s decision to become certified was a choice after more than 25 years in the healthcare field, working at QuadMed. She said, “I am seeking to improve my working knowledge and ensure I stay informed on regulatory changes and compliance-related matters.” After six months of looking for educational opportunities and deciding on the best fit for her career needs, Pimentel decided on AAPC. She said, “AAPC appears to offer what I am looking for, since it promotes compliance in the healthcare setting so well.”
Pimentel’s career began after obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Medical Technology, and then a few years later, her master’s degree in Healthcare Management from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. Since then, she has been mostly in operations and now is the laboratory director for four moderately complex laboratories. Pimentel also oversees the physical rehab department at 16 locations nationwide and the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which includes a state licensed alcohol and other drug abuse treatment program. She said, “I needed to learn more, and AAPC is going to help me do it!”
Pimentel is getting her feet wet at AAPC. She said, “I’m still learning about what AAPC is and how the organization and resources can help me achieve my goals.” Pimentel intends to take advantage of its benefits to help her career; she said, “I’m very excited to learn about everything there is to offer through this membership.” Pimentel plans to use AAPC as an additional resource as it relates to her work at QuadMed.
Outside of work, Pimentel enjoys spending time with her family. She has a husband and three children, two of which are serving in the military and one is an automotive technician. Pimentel loves weekend trips, traveling, and bicycling all over the Midwest. She is a gardener, which helps her de-stress in the summer. Someday Pimentel would like to move away from the cold Wisconsin winters, she said, “but for now I have been blessed to be with the same organization for 20 years, and to still be given the opportunity to learn new things and grow in my career.”
AAPC Steadily Increases in Strength
Since the founding of the company in 1988, AAPC has reached several milestones:
Early 1990s – 2,000 members and the organization changed its name to American Academy of Professional Coders
By 2000 – 15,000 members
By 2005 – 50,000 members
March 2009 – Andrea Malcolm, CPC, became AAPC’s 75,000th member
April 2010 – Donna Peters, CPC-A, became AAPC’s 90,000th member
November 2010 – Carla Peacock, CPC-A, became AAPC’s 100,000th member
When Malcolm became its 75,000th member, the membership milestone prompted AAPC’s “Drive to 100K.” AAPC quickly reached this goal, and since then several other goals, making it the nation’s largest medical coding training and certification association at 125K.
To honor this record-breaking membership, AAPC is offering Pimentel:
- Free attendance for her and a guest to an AAPC national or a regional conference, whichever she decides
- Free travel to the conference and accommodations while there
- Free AAPC membership for a year
- Free Medical Office Compliance Toolkit
- Free Certified Professional Compliance Officer (CPCO™) exam
It’s Medical Business as Usual
As healthcare changes, AAPC remains focused on being a valuable resource for coding, billing, auditing, compliance, and practice management education. AAPC’s certified members represent the highest industry standards and are recognized by physicians and clinical professionals for their expertise in the business-side of medicine.
Keep a lookout for more milestones as the nation’s largest association of medical business professionals leads its members into the future of healthcare.
Specialty-specific training prepares physicians for more rigorous ICD-10 requirements
AAPC, the leader in advancing the business of healthcare, has launched an ICD-10 training for physicians in the final year before implementation. The 3-hour online curriculum teaches ICD-10-CM documentation requirements by medical specialty and from a provider’s perspective.
AAPC’s recent study of more than 20,000 audits of physicians’ clinical documentation showed that only 63% of current documentation is sufficient to support the more rigorous ICD-10 requirements. The study goes on to note that if the facility is otherwise fully prepared for ICD-10, but clinical documentation is not improved, then accurate coding and proper payment will not be possible.
“One of the largest problems to follow ICD-10 implementation will be insufficient documentation,” said Rhonda Buckholtz, AAPC VP of ICD-10 Education and Training. “Providers need to know what to do differently to avoid productivity loss, claim denials, compliance missteps, and lost revenue. ICD-10 documentation training is an absolute necessity for a smooth transition next year.”
Physician training is available in the following specialties:
- Emergency Department
- Family Practice
- General Surgery
- Internal Medicine
- Mental and Behavioral
- Otolaryngology (ENT)
ICD-10 Documentation Training for Physicians is approved for continuing medical education (CME) credit, and a demo can be viewed online.
October 17th, 2013
According to a recent article by AAPC’s Michelle A. Richards, CPC, CPMA, the key to improving patient experience at a practice is to put yourself in the patients’ shoes. Ms. Richards’ article, published by Advance for Health Information Professionals, expounds on how to see your practice from your patients’ perspective. She recommends literally walking through the practice as though it were your first time coming in, paying attention to the atmosphere, and asking yourself important questions:
- What’s on the walls?
- What signage is present?
- How clear are the directions to the front office?
- Is there clutter?
- Is patient privacy fully protected?
Read the full article.
October 15th, 2013
Within ICD-9-CM, you may select codes defined as “Not Otherwise Specified” (NOS) when there isn’t enough documentation to select a more specific code. In other words, a deficiency in documentation prevents you from coding to a higher level of specificity.
NOS codes are never favored, and claims submitted with such diagnoses may be rejected for lack of medical necessity and/or specificity. When possible, you may wish to ask the documenting provider for additional information and/or to append the record, so that a more precise diagnosis may be selected.
Codes defined as “Not Elsewhere Classifiable” (NEC) may be selected when specific information is documented for the diagnosis, but there isn’t an existing ICD-9-CM code to report it. In this case, the ICD-9-CM manual—not the documentation—lacks additional specificity.
October 9th, 2013