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Meet Kimberly Sherman of Physicians Coding Services in Linda Vista

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kimberly Sherman.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Kimberly. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I started this business several months after having to leave my full-time job due to disability. I couldn’t handle a full day at the office, but I could do a few hours of work daily with rest breaks. My first and second clients found me online through Indeed and LinkedIn. I proposed a contractor relationship rather than employment, and they went for it. I then put an enormous amount of work and quite a bit of money into developing an online presence, but have really only found one client through the internet. About 16 months after starting the business, I lost my most important client in terms of income, and after three months of being unable to locate more business, I took a great, well-paying, at-home part-time job while I continued to operate my business.

I soon found that my work-load was too much, and decided to focus more on the employment. It was financially a better deal for me, and it had great potential. I was very satisfied with this job, and really it was the best job I’ve had in my field, other than working for myself. Over a couple of months, I ended my relationships with my “production” clients, at the same time that a consulting opportunity in physician education opened up through my business contacts. Since this is exactly the direction I want to go someday, I went with this, and so far it is a good mix between my job and some consulting work through my business.

I’m now in the process of redefining myself from a production worker to an educator and consultant in my field. It pays a lot more for the time I put in, works well with my need for flexibility, and it’s a lot of fun. I also get the recognition and appreciation as an expert in my field, that I have never been able to get from my employment. As an employee, I’ve mostly been treated like a cog in a wheel, expected to do my job perfectly while never recognized for my achievements.

I don’t know where the business side of the consulting will go. I’m cultivating this role at my employment, positioning to be able to possibly create a physician educator position for myself at that company, so consulting through my own business supports that. At the same time, I don’t believe I have the physical resources (because of health problems) to be able to run a full-time consulting business of my own, even if I could find a continuous flow of clients for this.

Having my own business has been a great learning opportunity for me, while being an employee has primarily been a way to get a paycheck. That oversimplifies, but is mostly true. Continuing with both activities part-time is still the best mix for me, because I have the security of paycheck every two weeks, while having the freedom, and a little money, to explore and delve into other areas of my field.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
My primary struggle has been my health. With good health and my former energy, I believe I could develop a thriving business that employs other contractors to serve many clients throughout the US.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Physicians Coding Services – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
My business provides medical coding services to physicians and other healthcare providers who bill medical insurance companies for their services. This is a broad and interesting area of work. It includes primary coding from medical reports – abstracting medical procedural and diagnostic codes from the physician’s office visit and operative reports – which is a technical skill that requires a lot of training, study, certification, and an excellent ability to read and comprehend difficult material, as well as constantly researching medical and coding topics online and in printed materials. It also involves educating those physicians on how to document their services more completely as well as efficiently for optimal reimbursement and compliance with federal policies and regulations. It may include teaching physicians how to code their own services correctly and compliantly. Another activity coder gets involved with is creating useful, easy to use coding and documentation tools for themselves, other coders, and providers.

Coding professionals must know the ins and outs of compliance with federal and state patient privacy laws, and be able to advise others on maintaining patient data security while working with their records across media, platforms, in the office, over the phone, etc.

There are many other activities that medical coders engage in. One of the most important, which is often overlooked, is mentorship through networking, offering internships, informal training, and career guidance.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
My plan for the future is to leave the production side of medical coding, and work in the consulting and education areas in my field. I believe I have much to offer as an educator, a more holistic approach to coding education for providers. Most physician educators give a talk and provide a written presentation to teach the subject, and then fly back home. On the other hand, I engage in a conversation with providers, to learn what they already know, what they need to know, and what they want to know. I answer all of their questions, and then recommend resources and reference materials for self-education, and most importantly, create customized tools for them to access when needed throughout their day. For example, I am developing online apps specific to their needs, that they can access quickly and easily with their smartphones, no matter where they are. Surgeons rely heavily on their phones for communication and organization while they move from one computer system to another throughout their day.

Putting their coding tools right on their phones fits perfectly with their working style. But, existing apps are not tailored to the needs of their specialty or subspecialty. An orthopedic surgeon who only operates on hands does not require an expensive, cumbersome app that was designed for all different medical specialties. I would create a simple app that is customized to that surgeon, with annual code updates.

I plan to continue moving toward a more educational role in my field, pursuing this goal both as an employee and a business owner.

Pricing:

  • Consulting and education rate, $35 hourly
  • Ask-A-Coder service (answer within 24 hrs), $20 per question

Contact Info:

Doctor examining glands of throat of patient

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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