• After Graduation

  • Code Talker

    Not everyone is cut out for the precise work of medical coding, but as Susan Baty discovered at MHCC, she is a perfect fit.

    Some people are ideally suited to working directly with other people because they love the face-to-face, personal interactions. Susan Baty, however, recognizes that she is not one of those people.

    “I found myself wanting and needing a new career that was enjoyable, fulfilling and paid well,” Baty says. “I did some research and decided that medical coding looked like a perfect job for me.”

    This is definitely the part of healthcare that they don’t make TV shows about, but everything a physician does is translated into a five-digit code number, so the doctor can bill and the insurance company can pay. There are thousands of these codes—CPT codes for procedures, ICD9 codes for diagnoses. Medical coders read the documentation from the physicians, and then assign the proper codes.

     “It takes precision and attention to detail,” Baty explains, “and it’s not for people who get bored easily!”

    She chose to study coding in the Medical Office program at MHCC—and drove 32 miles each way to attend—because it offered a deeper dimension than other programs elsewhere.

    “What I really liked about the program,” Baty, who now works mainly at home, says, “was that it gave me a strong foundation in all aspects of medical office work, not just the bare bones of coding. I think I’m a better coder because MHCC emphasized communications skills as well as basic pharmacology and medical law and ethics. At the end of the program, I earned a position with Oregon Health & Science University’s professional services coding department. I have been with them for two years, and still love my job. It’s challenging, fun, pays well and keeps me excited to work every day.”

    The five-digit code for that is h-a-p-p-y.

    For more information on the Medical Office program, please visit mhcc.edu/medicaloffice.