September 14, 2009
5 Minutes with
BC Advantage (BC): Tell us about your background and how you got started in the industry. Darlene Boschert (DB): I was working in retail when I lost my first husband in a car accident. We had a two year old son and I needed to make enough money to support him. We had been in the Air Force for eight years, six months before the accident so we did not have much money and just a small amount of life insurance. I decided to I needed a new career. My Dad loaned me the money to take a short course at a local vocational school. I was lucky and got a job for a local teaching hospital. After a few months, doctors started asking me to transcribe at home. Before I knew it, I had four girls working out of a spare bedroom in my house. Well, to make a long story short, we ended up renting some office space.
One of my neurosurgeon clients asked me one day if I would do his coding and billing for him and he would even give me his computer to use. Well, I did not know a thing about coding or billing but being the person that I am, I told him "of course I would do it". I had a younger sister that worked in the business office for the same hospital and it turned out that one of my part-time transcriptionists was really a coder and biller for a nearby children's hospital. So that is how I began. I hired her full time and my business kept getting bigger all of the time. But bigger is not always better.
After about eight years I was going nuts. One of my biggest orthopedic groups told me that he was moving to South Carolina. Again, I opened my big mouth, and asked if he would consider taking me along as his business manager since I was so familiar with the way he liked things done. When I went back to my office, a CPA called and wanted to know if I wanted to sell my business. So a month later, we sold the business, our house and were in South Carolina. After 12 years, I decided I needed something more. So I put my resume on a recruiting page and I was in Florida within two weeks as a transcription instructor which turned out to be a coding instructor. Within 7-1/2 years, I helped build that school from one small campus to three. It was great. I was promoted to Vice President of Allied Health. Now, here I am again going nuts and needing more time to do something for me. I have been on the AAPC National Advisory Board, National Speaker for the AAPC, The Coding Institute, Synergy 360 and many more. I also do audio conferences for BC Advantage and several other companies. I think BC Advantage has always been one of my favorite magazines. They really have the best deals for your CEUs. I have written several articles for them also.
My goal now is to be able to do more live conferences, audio conferences, workshops and articles. I also have done many CPC and CPC-H review classes. I am a CPC, CPC-H, CPC-I, CMC and CMT.
BC: You've been asked to write a coding workbook - how do you know where to start and do you foresee any challenges that you might face throughout the time that it takes you to complete it? DB: Yes, I am writing a coding workbook. The best place to begin is at the beginning. Where do you start when you start to code? I will write it from the beginning of the body system to the end. I think the biggest challenge I will have is putting too much into it. I have so much to share. I believe that "if you pay it forward"; it will come back to you.
BC: Mentoring others within our industry is quite a responsibility - what does this do for you? DB: When I help others, I feel as if I have given that person a way to get that light turned on and keep it on. I love teaching other people. When you share your knowledge, it gives you a special feeling inside and that is the feeling I get every time I help someone.
BC: Holding several industry certifications you obviously have a passion for self-improvement and further education. What would you say to someone who says that their employer doesn't require a certification so therefore they don't want to get one? DB: I would tell that person that they might not always be with that same employer. Certification almost always will get you more money, not that money is everything but in today's economy, who doesn't need more money? There will also come a time soon, when you must be certified to handle any medical claims. So I would tell them to get prepared now before the ICD-10 comes into play. Once you learn one system, you can learn another. And don't give me the excuse that you can't teach an old dog new tricks. There is not a day that goes by that I do not learn something.
BC: You started an AAPC local chapter in Newport Richey 4 years ago - why and what are the challenges of taking on such a project? DB: I just helped with it. Pat Oldfield, who is a friend of mine, did most of the work. The biggest challenge in a new chapter at that time was getting the people there and getting the word out. The AAPC has helped tremendously with that. Also guest speakers are sometimes hard to get. If you get a chance, help your local chapter on a subject you are very familiar with. You won't get up there and falter. If you do, pick yourself back up and keep going.
BC: You teach workshops around the country for several industry associations, what's the best way to get the topic across to your class so that they understand? DB: I think the best way to get my classes to understand is by involving them in the discussion, get them talking and thinking, illustrations, hands-on and whatever I need to do to keep their interest. I always tell them a lot about personal experiences I have had in the medical field about the subject I am teaching. I even bring along props when I can. I have contests going on all day long. I keep them involved.
BC: What do you most enjoy about your career? DB: As you can tell from this article, I love to talk. I love to talk about coding. It gets me excited and keeps me alive.
BC: Where do you see yourself in 5 years time? DB: I still see myself telling the world about what a great career this is. I would like to continue doing the conferences, doing some remote coding to keep my skills up and to continue telling the world about the wonderful world of coding.
BC: What advise would you give someone who wants more from his or her billing/coding career? DB: I would tell them to get out there, get all the experience they can, and get every coding certification they can get, even if it is not their particular specialty. You never know when you might need it. It also looks good on your resume. DON'T LET ANYONE OR ANYTHING HOLD YOU BACK.
BC: Anything you would like to add? DB: My only thing I would add is get out there and do it. ONLY YOU CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN. Don't let anything hold you back. I forgot to tell you, that I did remarry when my son was three to the most wonderful, understanding man in the world. I also lost my only son to a blood clot that went to his heart and killed him in his sleep. That was only 3 years ago. I also survived a massive car accident last year in which I should not have gotten out alive. So don't tell me you can't do it. If I can, anyone can.