Updated: May 3
Hello Faithful Reader,
I hope this edition of the Black Bird’s Eye View finds you well and in good spirits. I am well. Last month I introduced you to Delphine Godly Sellers, one of the owners of Urban Community AgriNomics (UCAN) out of Durham, North Carolina. Urban Community AgriNomics's mission is to improve the health and wellness of the Durham community. Their programs provide education on healthy lifestyles, seed-to-table food preparation and preservation, and hands-on STEM and agricultural skills. They empower Durham families with access to resources to grow healthy food using sustainable practices in a supportive environment.
My purpose for introducing you to Mrs. Sellars was a hope that she would shed light on the importance of being self-sustaining as it relates to the food we put in our bodies. She did just that.
Now I'm switching lanes. I am taking the time to consider alternative employment during a pandemic. The ideal situation would be to work from home. I pondered which career is rarely in jeopardy…a career that will allow individuals to work from home. What I came up with is this: Why not become a Certified Medical Coder?
Medical Coders have job security because the Medical Coder writes the "receipt" that reflects how much the physician is paid. Medical Coders must be able to read the physicians note and pull from the records all the words that translate to payment to the physician. As long as people go to the physician to get treatment, there will be a need for Certified Medical Coders because the information the Certified Medical Coder retrieves from the medical records reflects the amount of money a physician is paid.
This month I am pleased to introduce you to someone who just so happens to know all about how to become a Certified Medical Coder, Camille White-Jackson, aka Mrs. Jay. Mrs. Jay is the Curriculum Director and one of the Founders of Absolute Medical Coding Institute (AMCI). I took the time to have a conversation with Mrs. Jay because I believe that now, more than ever, it is important to reconsider how we make money. It seems to me that the safer bet would be to figure out a way to make money from home and still be able to maintain our households.
I am always interested in learning how people end up doing what they do. I asked Mrs. Jay to tell me her AMCI story. She informed me that she decided to enroll in a two-year institution to study to become a Certified Medical Coder. She went on to explain that she was never confident in the way that her instructor taught the course. She felt as though major pieces were missing. Her instructor assured her that she had all the information needed to pass the highly competitive CPC Exam to become a Certified Medical Coder. She hesitantly moved forward with her decision to schedule her Exam date. On the day of the Exam, she understood why her instructor referred to the Exam as fast-paced. Students were allotted 5 hours and 40 minutes to complete the Exam which consisted of 150 questions. That translated to answering questions posed as lengthy scenarios in 2 minutes and 30 seconds each. She took the test and failed. It was the first test she had ever failed a test in her adult life. Rather than have a pity party or simply give up, Mrs. Jay gave herself three weeks to develop her test-taking technique that she felt would assist her in passing the CPC Exam on her second go-round. During the three weeks, Mrs. Jay developed study material and techniques that would later become trademarks of AMCI:
Key Word Concepts
CHUN, an acronym for Circle, Highlight, Underline, and Notate.
These techniques helped her find the correct information in the scenarios on the CPC Exam to be able to look up the codes in the CPC manual and answer the questions on the CPC Exam accurately and quickly. The second time around was the charm because low and behold, using her techniques, Mrs. Jay passed the CPC Exam and contributed passing it to the test-taking techniques she created
(Mrs. Jay took the CPC Exam in 2014, became an instructor in 2015 CPC-I, and an AAPC approved instructor in 2019.)
Naturally, I asked Mrs. Jay how she went from passing the CPC Exam and becoming a Certified Medical Coder to teaching individuals how to become a Certified Medical Coders.
She told me that it was not her idea. She said it was not like she woke up one day and decided she wanted to be a founder of an online institution that taught people how to code. She said it was her peers. Word had gotten out that she passed, and everyone wanted to know her secret. One thing leads to another, and before she knew it, her peers were coming to her home, and she was teaching them her techniques, and one after another, they passed. One day one of them told her that she really had a knack for instruction and that she should probably teach, and that is how AMCI was born.
The foundation of AMCI is built on giving. Initially, AMCI gave away a course on YouTube. It was an entire comprehensive Medical Coding course to prepare individuals to take the CPC Exam. Thousands of people from across the United States and abroad took that course and were passing the CPC Exam in droves.
I asked Mrs. Jay if there were prerequisite to enrolling in the AMCI CPC course. She informed me that no diploma or degree is required. People from all walks of life have taken the course from individuals with medical degrees to people with varying degrees to people who have yet to obtain their high school diploma. She told me that the live course and the lectures in the course are simplified and teach Diagnostic coding, Procedural coding, Business of Medicine, Medical Terminology & Anatomy, as well as Test Taking Techniques.
When asked what inspired her to be an entrepreneur, Mrs. Jay shared with me that
She does not think anyone can inspire anyone to become an entrepreneur. She believes people are born with it. Most entrepreneurs who build from the ground up are passionate about their vision. They tend to have strong people skills, strong work ethic, are creative, competitive, self-starters, disciplined, and confident people. She believes that you cannot be inspired to have those traits because those traits are natural...they are innate. Being an entrepreneur is just how I am wired. Like most true spirited entrepreneurs, she had several businesses until she found the right fit.
“I graduated in 2000 from the University of Pittsburgh with a BA in Communications. I began my degree in 1982. I fooled around for five years. Then life happened. I got married and had children. When my children were all school-aged, I got a job at the University of Pittsburgh as a secretary. I finished my degree utilizing the employee educational benefits and worked my way up to Assistant Director of Student Activities. That is when the Entrepreneur spirit kicked in.
Entrepreneurs that I respect, Larry Page of Alphabet/Google, because of the work environment he created for his team. He cares about his team. When you take care of your team, your team will take care of your company. I respect Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, for amassing such wealth and how he gives back to the community, including communities that do not look like him. I ultimately want to create a foundation where I can fund people who have limited education to obtain Medical Coding Certification, acquire meaningful careers, and after they become successful, they remember to help at least one person. I admire Madame CJ Walker. Although she did not develop Glossine hair treatment, she made it better. She made it better with her work ethic/passion/grind and commitment to her team. MCJW created an empire that benefited not just her, but her community in a multitude of ways. The most important aspect that I admire is her integrity. She had a “The Truth is what it is, and if you don't like it, keep it moving.” attitude. She had no time for things off the agenda. I am kinda like that also.” -Mrs. Jay
And finally, I asked Mrs. Jay the same question I try to ask everyone I have these types of conversations with:
If placed in a position where you could speak to the masses without any communication barriers and bestow three jewels upon the masses...that is... tell them three things that would better Humankind...what three thoughts would you share?
To which she responded:
With anything that you do, it is OK to grind. If fact, I think grinding is good. Think about it, if it is easy…then, that means anyone can do it, and that decreases the value of what you are doing. So, it is OK to grind and work for your vision.
Do not follow the opinions of others. Follow the facts. People who follow opinions tend to go in circles. When facts are followed people tend to get to the point
Shine. Shine no matter what. Make your creator proud, whoever your creator is. Show your best. Be your best. Never worry. Be positive. Be great. Show love. Be present. Just shine…no matter what.
OVERVIEW: Medical Coders are in demand and are considered Essential businesses. There are no prerequisites to becoming a Certified Medical Coder. The conversation and information shared by Mrs. Jay prove that you can have a professional career and earn a professional salary if you take the necessary steps to obtain a certification in medical coding. That right there alone is more than enough reason to consider becoming a Certified Medical Coder.
I hope you enjoyed this most informative conversation with Mrs. Jay of Absolute Medical Coding Institute. Until next time Stay well.