I Am AAPC: Sara Harvey, CPC, CEMC

I became an AAPC member because of my mom. She was a certified coder with a specialty certification in obstetrics/gynecology and worked in medical offices while I was growing up. I remember my sister and I watching her study for her certification. My dad, a registered nurse and auditor, is also a member of AAPC. Both of my parents instilled a deep love of learning in me.

In high school, I started helping out in offices, doing filing and any other odd tasks that were needed. I went to work as a secretary before starting classes at a local college: My ultimate goal was to become a coder. I sat for my Certified Professional Coder (CPC®) exam in 2008 and obtained my Certified Evaluation and Management Coder (CEMC™) credential in 2018. I became a general surgery professional fee coder and found that I have a deep interest in evaluation and management (E/M) coding. I have been able to code for many specialties over the years within my local hospital system and my AAPC credentials have been an enormous help in this.

Education Breeds Confidence

Being an AAPC member has helped me stay current with the yearly changes in coding and stay on top of my education. I have utilized a variety of webinars, the AAPC forums, and the AAPC Facebook group to become a well-rounded coder and increase my knowledge in areas outside of my daily tasks. The tools that are available on AAPC’s website allow members to interact and help each other, as well as search for answers to the questions that come up during the course of a day. I know that there is always something new to learn or understand, and I always encourage new coders who I work with to become a member to make use of the networking opportunities available through AAPC.

Never Stop Learning

My favorite thing about being a coder is the chance to learn something new every day. I have transitioned into an educational role within my company and am now interacting with coders and providers regularly. I am helping providers and coders understand coding guidelines and teaching them the new 2021 E/M guidelines. It is really an exciting time to be a coder, as these new guidelines are a major change and require coders to adjust their thinking.

Better Together

My favorite thing about being an AAPC member is the freedom to network with others who are as enthusiastic about coding as I am. It is great to get into discussions with others to hear everyone’s thoughts regarding some of the gray areas in coding. We can all see different perspectives and maybe learn something new from each other.

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Renee Dustman, BS, AAPC MACRA Proficient, is managing editor – content & editorial at AAPC. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Media Communications – Journalism. Renee has more than 30 years’ experience in journalistic reporting, print production, graphic design, and content management. Follow her on Twitter @dustman_aapc.

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