Interview with a Clinical Coder at IGT-3-Codex

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Katie Kelly is a B2B Marketing Consultant with 15 years experience and founder of No Wanky Bollocks.

This week’s interviewee is John A. Skelton III, esquire. Chairman of the Bored at IGT-3-Codex Ltd, Bassist and Punk Rock and Heavy Metal Stalwart.

1. Biggest mistake of your career and how you fixed it?

There have been plenty of mistakes, especially financially. The problem is not making the same ones over and over, learn from them. The art of negotiation is still an art I am trying to perfect. Every contract is different and in a new location so overheads like taxes, bills, accommodation, subsistence, fuel and the like have to be taken into account before deciding on a daily rate. The solution to this is to know how low you will go and stick to it. Then everything above that is gravy. There are also agents, who are after a piece of the pie too. There is a mastery to breaking a deal with an employer, agent and yourself that takes time to learn. It comes down to what you think you are worth, not pricing yourself out of the market and reputation. Don’t live beyond your means, refine your attack and move forward.

2. A light bulb moment?

Being in a job where nobody knows what you actually do when you explain it, is actually a niche market.

My job mainly consists of reading through patients’ medical records – documents which list their hospital stays, from admission to discharge – and converting the information into alphanumeric codes using the ICD-10 and OPCS-4 classifications that the NHS then uses to set resource management targets and receive reimbursement for treatment and care. Rules can be very complex and strict; it’s essential to keep up-to-date with policies and procedures.

That was the light bulb moment, right there. The interpretation of medical diagnosis/procedures into financial data is a refined art don’t you know? Now, of course, private and public sector bodies are finally cottoning on but they are still way behind the curve when it comes to the importance of Clinical Coding and its financial ramifications to trusts around the country. Part of my job description was passing my National Clinical Coding Qualification which made me a professional with letters after my name. It was a hell of a lot of hard graft, and with that, I had a second light bulb moment. Self-employment. Six years later the business is still going strong and I wouldn’t have the experience that I have now if I’d stayed in full-time employment. Two light bulb moments…what a lucky man!

Tip for tomorrow?

Know your self-worth, Keep your dignity and check your ego. Life’s not all about work or how much money you earn?


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