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Edward’s Big Transition: From Building Homes to Credentialing Providers

After several years in the military I returned to where I started and found myself building residential homes by hand. I discovered the healthcare industry while seeking relief from the searing heat here in Tucson, Arizona and, trust me; it was not a difficult decision to make when I was offered a temporary position with Cigna Healthcare. I thought, hmmm, work under the sun in 100+ degree temps or work in air conditioning sitting in front of a computer, calling colleges and hospitals and making requests for information in order to verify if a doctor is really a doctor? It was a no-brainer! And so I learned how to credential providers and left my hammer and nails behind me.

Building a Reputation as a Medical Coder

Over the years I worked my way through several different roles in the industry. Fast forward 16 years to 2011 when I was knocking on primary care doctor office doors trying to teach CMS’s Risk Adjustment payment methodology and why documentation is key to everything. As I was doing this work in the community I had a nagging concern that my credibility in this role might be questioned because I had no credential and I wanted to change that. After earning my CPC credential from the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC®) that year, things did change. I felt more confident in myself, in my knowledge, and in my ability to share that information. I continued to work closely with many providers across southern Arizona and over time built my reputation in the provider community.

The Importance of the CPC Credential

The experiences, roles, and the relationships I have had all contributed to the growth of my career over the years. But, truly, earning the CPC credential played a bigger part in my career than I could ever have imagined. Not too long ago I was tapped on the shoulder to become the Director of Business Operations for one of the nation’s largest Federally Qualified Healthcare Centers. It was unexpected and quite an honor.

A Word of Encouragement

If I have one observation to share it is that you just truly never know what great opportunities lay on the other side of that hill you’re climbing. Never stop improving!

Edward Van Riper, CPC
Director, Business Office Operations
El Rio Santa Cruz Neighborhood Community Health Center

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