How to Lose a Medical Billing Job Online

social whoopsiesToday, thanks to the popularity of the internet, sprawling social media landscape and the ubiquity of the camera phone, pretty much everything about our lives are online somewhere.  Do you remember any of the pictures and comments you posted on  The Internet does!  This is why for young adults working on their medical billing online degrees in hopes of landing a good paying career, the following information is critically important.

We all have already been told that Internet etiquette suggests we post nothing in public areas (think Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) that we wouldn’t want our granny to see.  Or, if you prefer, don’t do anything online that you would be too embarrassed to do in a public place.  But carry this logic a step further to consider the availability of your online behavior to the hiring manager you may interview with for a job.

Hateful comments, lewd behavior, nude photos, photos of alcohol or drug use posted on social media can be all it takes for a hiring manager to drop your resume like a hot potato.  Even strong political or religious posts or comments can be negatively viewed.

Similarly, for those already gainfully employed as a medical billing or coding pro, online activity can torpedo your job.  For example, blowing off steam about your boss to your sympathetic friends could potentially be seen by coworkers or, worse yet, your boss.  Then there’s also the tale of the medical billing manager who called in sick but really went to the football game and posted pics smiling at the fifty yard line.  HR saw the posts and you can guess what happened.

There are plenty of other ways to screw up your career through undisciplined usage of social media.  Check out this article from Business News Daily for the comprehensive list of social media mistakes that will ruin your career.

Certified Nurse Assistants Widely Valued

awards for certified nursing assistantsSome careers more than others earn workers special recognition from society at large.  Of course all work is honorable and every person’s efforts and contributions add something to society.  But there aren’t many fields as universally valued as the healthcare field.  Ask anyone who has lost their health and they’ll tell you that health is the number one most important thing in life and that all other happiness flows from being free from physical pain and suffering.  So it follows that those who help people return to healthy conditions, the doctors, nurses and certified nurse assistants, earn the gratitude and admiration of society on a daily basis.

It is not surprising then to see the multitude of results returned from a simple web search for “nurse assistant awards”.  The preponderance of results illustrate the extent to which certified nurse assistants are making a difference in all the communities they serve.  Here a few examples of certified nurse assistants recognized for their contributions and excellence all across the United States.

Saint Louis, MO
Seminole, OK
Anderson, TX
Tallahassee, FL

And the list goes on and on.  Perform your own search to see just how many people are making a difference studying to become certified nurse assistants and then making their mark on one of the world’s most important and meaningful careers.

Medical Billing and Coding Classes Tackle ICD-10 Upgrade

The Federal government has mandated an upgrade to the processes involved in medical billing and coding to improve such things as fraud detection/prevention, reimbursement accuracy and data collection needed to support the new ACA-driven healthcare system.

A recent Congressional panel included Panelist Sue Bowman, MJ, RHIA, CCS, FAHIMA, AHIMA’s senior director of coding policy and compliance.  Ms. Bowman urged Congress to avoid any further delays (ICD-10 implementation has been postponed for almost 6 years already) and allow the US to keep pace with other industrialized nations who adopted ICD-10 years ago.

“With ICD-9 deteriorating, we’re getting less and less information from [patient and physician] encounters. We’re getting less information about what’s being treated. So many disparate procedures are lumped into a single code,” Bowman said.

Small physicians’ practices are concerned that the costs associated with implementation will be prohibitive and devastating to their businesses’ profitability.  In the video below, we hear from one such doctor who voices the concerns of small and often rural practices such as his own.

coombsFrom our perspective, the best hedge against the upheaval that will come with the rollout of this new protocol is having well-trained medical billing and coding specialists on staff who are trained to operated according to these new guidelines.  Medical billing and coding classes at Allen School Online have been preparing the next generation of professionals in the medical billing industry to great effect.

Nursing Assistant Degree – Your Ticket to Low Taxes and Less Traffic Congestion

nursing assistant degree When you’re stuck in a dead end job, you may wish for the ability to change your surroundings.  You may wish to move to a place where it is easier and cheaper to live.  However, in a dead end job, it is hard to make enough money to make any changes to your surroundings.  You may be stuck living in a high tax state or a state with horrible traffic congestion making your commute to said dead end job all the more emotionally taxing.

On the other hand, if you have a good job, like the kind you’d qualify for once having earned a nursing assistant degree, you can exert far more control over your situation.  Get that nursing assistant degree and you’ll be earning a significant amount more than you would be working in foodservice or retail.  And with that extra money, you could move to a state with an overall lower tax burden so you’ll keep more of what you earn.  Plus, given that there are plenty of good jobs in nearly every US market for people with nursing assistant degrees, you could elect to begin your career in an area where there isn’t a ridiculous amount of traffic for commuting.

So how would one go about locating the perfect location with low state tax burdens and acceptably painless commutes?  Glad you asked.  Here are a couple of articles to help point you in the right direction.  Here’s a piece that shows what states pay the highest state taxes (to be avoided) and another piece that shows the ten worst commute corridors (also to be be avoided).


3 Reasons for Older Workers to Embrace Medical Assistant Training

older nursing assistantTaking medical assistant training with the Allen School is a good strategy for young people who wish to embark on a lifelong career in the healthcare industry.  However, for people 50+ years old, taking medical assistant training is also an attractive option.  A recent USA Today article reporting on an AARP survey illustrates why folks in the middle of a lifetime can benefit from a significant career change, leaving behind work in wholly unrelated fields in favor of medical assistant training and other healthcare related jobs.

It is not a secret that the employment market has lately favored the younger worker for his/her willingness to work for less, leaving many middle aged workers unemployed for long stretches of time thanks to the economic downturn.  The AARP survey of 2,492 people, ages 45 to 70, who had been unemployed at some time during the past five years showed that people who were unemployed for a longer period were more likely to take a job in a different occupation than those who were unemployed for a shorter time.  Careers in medical assisting are a good choice for more seasoned workers looking to transition into a new field and here are three reasons – based on the AARP survey data – why this makes sense.

1)  Better Pay – 51% of respondents to the AARP survey said they earn more in their new jobs than their old.

2)  Better Work Environment - About half (49%) of re-employed workers say their working conditions at their new jobs are better than the jobs that left them behind

3) High Job Availability – 71% of the respondents said the biggest barrier to landing a new job is that there are none available; 60% reported the need to stay in the area where they currently live; 57% said that employers think they’re too old.  The medical field is one of the most robust sectors of the economy and will remain so for at least a decade according to US Dept. of Labor statistics and there is a need for healthcare in all 50 states.  Older workers beginning new careers in this exciting field can easily find work wherever they live and there are always positions in solid supply.

If you’re an older worker considering a new career path to get back into the workforce, medical assistant training could be the option for you.


Tax Deductions for Nursing Assistant Training School Expenses

Tax Deductions for Nurse Assistant Training SchoolYes indeed, that dreaded time is rapidly approaching us all again.  Tax time.  That time of year when – in a furious run up to April 15 – we all freak out trying to find receipts, make accurate calculations, gather our tax documents and get it all ready to report to the IRS.

If you were enrolled in nursing assistant training school at any point in 2014 (or any post-secondary educational institution) you’re probably eligible for some tax deductions related to your studies that can help lower your tax liability.  It could even help increase your tax return!

But you have to be careful to make sure you’re taking deductions you’re entitled to and avoiding ones that you’re not entitled to.  Now, as a lowly blogger, I am certainly no tax expert.  Nor is the Allen School Blog making any formal financial recommendations to our readers.  That said, I will point you toward the following page from the tax experts at Intuit’s TurboTax tax preparation service.  They have put together a rather exhaustive list of what you may be able to deduct and what common deduction mistakes to avoid.  The TurboTax article answers important and pertinent higher education tax questions as:

  • Which expenses qualify?
  • What if I receive grants or scholarships?
  • Who qualifies?
  • How much can I deduct?
  • and more!

Read it and get the most out of your tax return this year!  Whether you’re enrolled in nursing assistant training school, online medical coding classes, medical assistant training or any other higher educational endeavor, remember, April 15th is the deadline for filing so get a jump on it by starting today!

(Full disclosure: This blogger has been using TurboTax for years with positive results.)

The Bug Infecting Medical Coding Online Students

Infected Browsers Ailing Medical Coding Online StudentsYes, cold and flu season is still lingering with the unseasonably cold weather here in the Northeast.  So it may be true that students studying medical coding online with Allen School could be fighting off aches, coughs, sneezes and all the misery that these wintertime ailments bring.  But that’s not the kind of bug we’re talking about today.  We’re talking software virus “bugs”.

Almost as misery-inducing for the medical coding online student is the computer virus.  Once infected the online student’s computer will be just as knocked out and immobilized as the student would be if infected with influenza.  Particularly vulnerable to infection and hacker attack is the web browser.  Yes, the browser, the vehicles we all use to surf the net – Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, etc.) represent a way in for malicious hackers to infiltrate your machine, often rendering it unusable.

We know that all browsers are susceptible to infection particularly well because of the Pwn2Own Hacking Competition wherein hackers gather to (legally) exploit the weaknesses in all internet browsers.  The browser companies sponsor the event as a way to learn where vulnerabilities lie in their products and (hopefully) make them stronger and more secure for users like students of medical coding online and other internet denizens.

Security website Threatpost reported on this year’s competition winner, a Korean hacker named Jung Hoon Lee:

“The story of the day was Korean researcher Jung Hoon Lee, who worked alone under the name lokihardt and earned the single highest payout for an exploit in the competition’s history, a staggering $110,000 in just two minutes.

Using more ht2000 lines of code, Lee was able to take down both stable and beta versions of Chrome by exploiting a buffer overflow race condition in the browser. He then used an info leak and race condition in two Windows kernel drivers to secure SYSTEM access. The standalone Chrome bug fetched Lee $75,000 while the privilege escalation bug scored him another $25,000. To finish it off Google’s Project Zero, as it usually does when Chrome is hacked at the event, paid Lee an extra $10,000.”

The takeaway message from this interesting slice of high tech intrigue is this: MAKE SURE YOUR ANTI-VIRUS AND FIREWALL PROTECTION IS UP-TO-DATE AND FUNCTIONING PROPERLY!



Repetitive Stress & Dragon Slaying Injuries Can Cost You a Nursing Assistant Job

Nursing assistant certification is like slaying a dragonSay what bloggerman?!?  Let me explain!  Liz Ryan, CEO of Human Workplace, a human resources industry think tank recently published an interesting post on LinkedIn.  (Editor’s note: If you’re not using LinkedIn for your career development, you’re missing out!)  Liz explained the two most costly mistakes most people make when searching for a job.  As a recent recipient of nursing assistant certification from the Allen School, you should sit up and take note because you’ll have lots of opportunities to go to job interviews with your newly earned credential.

The first of Ms. Ryan’s two costly mistakes is what I like to call a “repetitive stress injury”.  No, not the dreaded tennis elbow or tendonitis.  I am talking about the mistake many job seekers make of building one résumé and then using it to apply to all the jobs they wish to interview for.  This is a big mistake.

Ryan says, “You have to customize your résumé to showcase your stories and experiences that are most relevant to the specific job you’re applying for.”

Certainly core pieces of your résumé  can be repurposed from one opportunity to the next.  However, key pieces of it should be modified and slanted specifically to address functions relevant to the specific job you’re applying for. 

“You’ll change the summary at the top of your résumé every time you apply for a job, to make it clear to your hiring manager that although you’re good at lots of things, at this moment in time you’re conveying your expertise in one area in particular — the one your manager is most likely to care about,” writes Ryan.

The second mistake according to Ryan is the failure to share your dragon-slaying stories.  Ryan explains that all companies have typical challenges and pain points which they experience day to day.  Ryan says to have your “dragon-slaying stories” — instances where you overcame particularly vexing or challenging problems — ready to share with hiring managers. “Develop your Dragon-Slaying Story list,” advises Ryan, “and focus on Pain rather than the bullet points in a job ad or your own done-to-death list of Skills!”

Take these two simple but important pieces of advice to heart and you’ll avoid two of the things that regularly cost candidates the job.

Online Medical Billing Classes Unimpressed by New Record

snow doesn't impact medical billing classes onlineDid you know that you don’t have to live in the NY Metro area in order to take online medical billing classes with the Allen School?  Yep, its true!  You could live in Albuquerque, Alabama, Alhambra or even Alaska and earn your certification as a medical billing and coding professional with Allen School Online from wherever you happen to hang your hat.

If where you happen to hang your hat happens to be in the City of Boston, MA, then some congratulations are certainly in order.  It seems that along with the last snowfall in Beantown, fell the City’s record for snowfall which as of this Sunday reached 108.6 inches for the Winter 2014-15 season, topping the earlier record of 107.6 inches set in 1995-96, according to the National Weather Service in Taunton.

That’s a lot of snow for Bostonians to dug out of and trudge through on their way to school, work or both.  But not if said Bostonians were studying online medical billing classes online with Allen School.  Those students would be far less impressed with the record snowfall because they’d have much less need to get out of their houses for school.  Instead, they could simply whip up another batch of hot chocolate, flip open the laptop and get right to work studying for a new and exciting career while they wait for the valiant men and women of the Boston Public Works department to plough, shovel and salt the roads.

So the bloggers here at the Allen School Blog offer congrats to Boston on setting this impressive record.  Online Medical Billing Classes however, remain unimpressed!

Salary Negotiation Tips for Post-Healthcare Training School Job Hunt

post-healthcare training school salary negotiationSo you’ve completed healthcare training school at Allen School and you’re ready to look for your first job.  Or perhaps you finished healthcare training school some years ago and you’re looking for a position with a leg up now that you have some practical work experience to put on your resume.  Either way, negotiating your salary with hiring agents is always a tricky task.

The old axiom dictates that “he who answers first, loses in the negotiation” with respect to how much the job will pay. They will surely ask you what you’d like to earn.  Answer with a number lower than they were prepared to pay and you’ve beat yourself out of some money.  So how do you get them to tell you what they are prepared to pay without coming off confrontational or difficult?

There are several strategies you can use to try and get the hiring agent to let you know what the job pays before you reveal what you need to earn.  There’s the Noel Smith-Wenkle Salary Negotiation Method which provides strategies to avoid ever giving your number first.  Then there’s the Jack Chapman Salary Negotiation Method which has a technique known as “the flinch” which is pretty clever.  Learn more about both these methods as well as plenty of other salient salary negotiation tips at this excellent post from

Then get out there and get paid as much as you’re worth for having completed healthcare training school.

The Noel Smith-Wenkle Salary Negotiation Method