5 minutes with ... Meera Mohanakrishnan

1. Tell us about your background and how you got started in the industry.
In 2002 I mastered in Biochemistry. By then I have prepared myself to transition into the work force through real-world experience. In the year 2002 - 2003, I worked as a lecturer in Biochemistry and Biotechnology.
I knew that I wanted to pursue my career in medical corporate field from my sophomore year in college. In 2003 I was called for an interview for the position for junior Medical coder. I then realized this is what the field I was always looking for.
Now after 10  long years Iam working as Service Delivery Manager for UnitedHealth Group.

2. What do you enjoy most about what you do?
I enjoy challenges which are why I frequently ask for the tough assignments. I don't allow myself to get complacent.
I enjoy writing articles too. I have written 6 articles for AAPC, 3 for Just coding.com, 2 for AHIMA and 2 for BC advantage

3. What do you enjoy the least?
It perturbs me the most when other people I work with don't meet their deadlines or deliver what they promise.

4. What are your strengths?
My strength is my flexibility to handle change. I like to work in a team and have been an active participant and organizer at several places. One of my greatest strengths is my good planning skill. This has always benefited me to set goals and achieve them.

5. What is your greatest weakness
I believe one of my weaknesses is my impatience. Whenever I work in a team and any of the team members dont perform up to the expectation, I get impatient.
I 'm displeased when my team doesn't take initiative, or do not own up. I have recognized it and working on it.

6. Describe a typical day in your work week
I manage the coding needs for our clients. I am responsible for meeting client requirements. I am also involved in training coders.
My day to day work also involves:
Manage deliverables
Keep my team motivated
Develop team members
Help my team members enhance their skills
Ensure the coding team operates like a well - oiled machine

7. Professionally speaking, what would you consider to be your most valuable asset?
I am a go getter. I have to mention that my positive attitude and approach to problems with logic and sound reasoning are the valuable assets.
I would like to reveal that my presentation skills are my added positive features.

8. How do you usually go about solving a problem?
When I have to solve a problem, I usually start by writing down as many ideas and thoughts as I can think of about possible causes and what are the possibilities in solving the problems. After I study these groups of problems and the different ways to solve the problem the real cause of the problem becomes readily apparent.

9. What do you think that billers and coders should be focusing on right now?
Medical billers and coders typically work in a corporate atmosphere. This career field is for someone who wants to work at least 40 hour works a week.
My advice to the Billers and coders who work in this industries are :
1. Adhere to compliance
2. Educate your physician on how billing and coding works. Plan a session with your Physician on billing and insurance guidelines updates at least once per year. This can prevent the physician to stick on to the compliance and be on a same page as the billers and coders. If this happens you can see wonders in reimbursements.
3. To stay with time, educate your self by attending seminars, research on various billing websites, read newsletters and enroll in forum.
4. Educate and develop each of your team member working for your client
5. Setting Goals are necessary for accessing self productive and progressive activities. Set a long term and short term career goals this will surely help you in achieving success in your career.

10. What is your greatest resource to staying ahead with all the changes that we face from year to year?
In an industry like Medical coding and billing, we are aware that guidelines and policies keep on changing every annually or quarterly. To make stay with time, I have enrolled myself in different billing and coding forums and subscribe newsletters.

11. In an ideal world what would you like to be doing right now?
It 's really been a good and pleasant life, rich in learning and experience, and the best is yet to come. Every experience in life is a message and a lesson in its own way. I wouldnt change a thing.
I am a strongly goal-oriented person. So I keep whirling over in my mind anything that seems to be keeping me from achieving those goals, until I find a solution. That is the part of my obstinacy, I believe.
I also like to make each person of my team to feel like a member of an elite team. I have recognized that if you let each team member know what you expect the excellence in their performance, If you work hard to set an example yourself and if you let people know you appreciate, care and respect their feelings and their opinion THEN you conclude with a highly motivated group, a team that is having fun at work because they are determined for excellence rather than brooding and cribbing over slights or regrets.

12. Anything you would like to add?
I do have a family who likes to see me after work and on weekends. They add balance and richness to my life, which in turn helps me, be happy and productive at work
Let me take this as an opportunity to thank my family especially my parents and husband for encouraging me in career as well as in personal life.

Meera Mohanakrishnan, MSc, CPC, CPC-H, CPC-P, Certified ICD  10 consultant
Service Delivery Manager  Medical coding - UnitedHealth Group