Not All Remote Coding Opportunities Are the Same

C. Matheson, RHIA, CCS Careers 1 Comment

Medical Coding Contract Jobs

Remote coding job opportunities have increased significantly over the last several years, and these opportunities show no signs of slowing down. The number of all professionals who work remotely (including those in the medical and health sector) grew by 118% last year, according to an analysis by FlexJobs. Those specifically in the medical and health sector experienced a 68% increase. Global Workplace Analytics' studies found that on average, a telecommuter is college-educated, 49 years old, earns an annual salary of $58,000, and works for a company with more than 100 employees.

With ICD-10 finally rearing its head this year, outsourced coding firms have recruited a large number of remote coders to assist with the transition. In addition, many organizations are considering remote coding options to attract the best and brightest coders.

But what does it mean to work as a remote medical coder outside of a traditional hospital setting? Many coders work for contract firms, forgoing stability in lieu of a flexible work schedule. On the other hand, some coders prefer full- or part- time employment working for an outsource vendor within a more stable environment. Let’s review the pros and cons of contract firms and how they compare to MRA’s remote workforce.

The Pros of Working with a Contract Coding Company

Working for a contract coding firm has many benefits. Contract firms usually engage coders on an as-needed basis, which means there is far more flexibility. Coders have the ability to decline an assignment if they choose to do so. This arrangement is particularly valuable for those who have other work or family obligations.

Another benefit to working with a contract firm is that coders gain exposure to various hospital and physician environments. This provides them with a big picture view of the industry, and it gives them experience working with a variety of different service lines, policies, and record types. This experience can be incredibly valuable in terms of furthering one’s career or deciding one’s next career move. Being exposed to many clients can also bring with it valuable networking opportunities that coders might not have otherwise had when working for a single client or within a single setting.

The Cons of Working With A Contract Coding Firm

Although there are many advantages to working with a contract firm, there are also several disadvantages that coders should consider. First, traditional contract firms can be unpredictable in terms of work volume. Coders don’t necessarily know what to expect from day-to-day. Work volume can fluctuate constantly, leading to unpredictability in schedule and pay. Contract firms also have an abundance of employees, so when work volume is low there is sometimes not enough to go around.

Second, it may be difficult for coders to maintain ongoing lines of communication with the contract firm.  The harsh reality is that coders may not be able to get assistance from the contract firm when they need it most. For example, some coders become frustrated when they can’t connect to a hospital’s VPN to log-in and begin to code.  The contract firm may not respond quickly, or at all, leaving the coder between a rock and a hard place trying to get his or her work done.

Another disadvantage is that when added to one’s resume, contract work may reflect poorly on one’s ability to maintain a steady job. That’s because contract work usually requires coders to work in multiple facilities for shorter periods of time. This may stand out when applying for a permanent position because most facilities look for coders who have spent a couple of years at one position gaining experience.

MRA: A True Remote HIM Employer

MRA prides itself on truly nurturing the remote workforce with which we’ve worked so hard to build a relationship over the past 30 years. Although MRA’s remote coders work in a virtual environment without four walls, the company has a strong reputation of stability. Why?

MRA hires for present and future needs. When we hire a coder, not only do we not look at where we will place them immediately , but also where we can place them in the event hours or demand changes.  We feel it is important to have a backup plan for all positions so we can best meet our client’s needs and diversify coder exposure.

In addition, most of our clients are large reputable hospitals. This means that job opportunities are more stable. It also means that coders have an opportunity to be exposed to a variety of different records.

Our reputation as a top-notch coding outsource firm allows us to grow and bring on more clients, all of which is good news for the coders we hire and work hard to retain.

Interested in learning more about MRA’s workforce? Click here >>

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