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How to Ace Your Inpatient Coding Job Interview

Inpatient coding is a profession that is in high demand at hospitals.

Patients who enter a hospital for treatment are considered “inpatient” once their stay is over 23 hours.

At that point, inpatient medical coders, either on the hospital’s staff or contracted through companies like AMN Healthcare Revenue Cycle Solutions, identify and document patients’ treatment using medical codes so that the insurance company can fully reimburse the hospital.

Medical coders are part of a growing profession that is integral to the healthcare system.

“The profession continues to increase, especially following COVID, because when COVID hit, hospitals were in tough shape regarding inpatient treatment,” said Susie P., director of recruiting for health information management/clinical documentation integrity (HIM/CDI) in AMN Healthcare's Revenue Cycle Solutions group. “They stopped making appointments for people to come in, have surgeries and spend the night. Because of this, many inpatient coders retired or left their jobs. As hospitals return to normal patient caseloads, demand for coders is very high.”

Becoming an Inpatient Coder

Inpatient coders who want to work in a hospital must be certified through the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), which offers online coding education, training, certification and credentials. Once accredited, inpatient coders must fulfill a continuing education requirement each year.

To work for most contract companies, inpatient candidates will need two to three years of coding experience, to pass a test, and to participate in a telephone interview with the contract company recruiter. Most candidates do not have to interview with the hiring hospital. In those rare instances when they do, Susie works with candidates to prepare them.

Most coders work remotely and get paid well, especially with years of experience and working in a large hospital. If working for AMN Healthcare Revenue Cycle Solutions, full-time inpatient medical coders receive benefits.

The job benefits include paid time off, medical insurance and access to education.

“Revenue Cycle Solutions has an education team that works with inpatient coders to help them obtain skills they might not have or have to sharpen,” Susie said. “Also, some of the education we offer qualifies as free CEUs. That’s money in coders’ pockets and a benefit they won’t find at most contract companies.”

4 Tips to Ace Your Inpatient Coding Job Interview

With 18 years of experience, Susie has conducted many interviews for inpatient medical coders. Here are her top tips to help candidates ace an inpatient coding job interview.

1. Be prepared to answer questions.

Some of Susie’s favorite questions to ask candidates include:

  • What specialties have you coded, and which ones do you feel most comfortable doing? Experience with different specialties such as trauma, orthopedics and births will stand out for an inpatient coder.
  • What types of hospitals have you coded for? Larger hospitals usually offer more coding variety, and that experience appeals to hiring hospitals.
  • What hospital systems have you used to do your coding? Hospitals will want to know if you have experience using their coding system.
  • How many years of coding experience do you have?
  • What are your credentials?

2. Come to the interview with an updated resume showing a detailed snapshot of your experience.

The resume should show that the candidate’s background is inpatient, has ample experience as an inpatient coder, and highlights where the candidate has coded.

3. Convey your passion for being a coder.

Recruiters want to know the candidate is excited by the job and that they strive to be meticulous.

“Candidates see everything that happens to a patient, the bad and the good,” Susie said. “They code charts of death, they code kids and they code cancer. They have to know every specialty that somebody can go through, and then they have to understand patients’ history of health. I’ve been impressed by candidates who told me that although they didn’t want to be a doctor, they got into coding because they have a passion for healthcare.”

4. Do some research about the contract company.

Susie said that when candidates show interest and discuss what AMN Healthcare Revenue Cycle Solutions offers, they are typically communicating that they want a home for their skills.

Once the interview is over, the candidate is expected to fill out some forms and then take the coding test. If the candidate passes the test, Susie will discuss employment opportunities.

“We definitely value our candidates,” she said. “We want to keep our candidates long term, so we want to make sure everybody coming on board is qualified. That way we can also give proper customer service to our clients. I want to work with candidates for a long time because I really enjoy building relationships with them.”

READY to advance your career in inpatient coding? SEARCH current coding jobs, apply online, and AMN Healthcare’s Revenue Cycle Solutions team will help get you on your way! 

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