September 11th has reared its ugly head again. In the annals of American history, this is a date that will be seen as a day of unspeakable tragedy for many years to come, presenting us with an annual opportunity to reflect on our place in the world and how it has changed since that fateful day in 2001.
On a personal level, September 11th resonates with a personal and professional struggle far removed from the public consciousness, but one that shapes my thought processes on a continuing basis. September 11th, 2009 will mark my 20th anniversary of entry into the medical billing field.
Twenty years. Or two decades. Or 240 months. Or 7,306 days. Or 175,344 hours. Or 10,520,640 minutes. Or 631,280,400 seconds. Does this represent an extended period of time dedicated to an ever-changing, interesting and challenging field of endeavor, or is this in fact a prison of measured time? And to think when I was 5 years old, my dream job was to be a bank teller. In my nascent mind I thought, “People will give me money all day. I want to do THAT!”. It was up to my sister to burst my bubble and tell me that I couldn’t keep the money.
My first 6+ plus years in this industry were spent on the insurance side. My first employer, who shall remain anonymous (in addition to now being out of the health insurance business) hired me to be a claims adjudicator of secondary Medicare claims for one of its group clients after one day of training and after noting my excellence on a company-administered math test just to the right of pre-school flash cards on a degree of difficulty scale.
What turned this humble beginning into a still-burgeoning career was endless curiosity. I absorbed all of the information that passed across my desk. I familiarized myself with CPT and ICD-9 codes. I memorized medical terminology and studied medical procedures. In addition, I gained an insight into the mind of the typical health claims adjuster, which has been incredibly useful to me the farther away I’ve traveled from the insurance side.
Suddenly, after a few moves within the country, a few automobiles owned and a personal marriage success rate of 50%, 20 years have passed. While my role in the medical revenue cycle has changed, the challenges facing my chosen field continue to expand. With the Red Flags Rules, the dawn of RAC’s, MIC’s,ICD-10 and other as-yet-to-be-defined challenges, my aging mind will either expand to great heights of Solomon-like wisdom, or it will be pulverized under the weight of bureaucratic legislative largesse. Despite the deluge of change, whether it be from either my unending quest for knowledge or a subconsciousness need for self-punishment, I wouldn’t trade this career for the world. It is indeed honorable to be involved in this field, and finding myself under the Fi-Med umbrella makes it just that much more rewarding.
I’m come this far, but the road continues. Let’s see what’s out there…….