Penn Foster : Medical Billing & Coding Reviews

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Anonymous (In Progress) on July 13, 2016 (email verified)

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Pros vs Cons-- my eyes This is my personal review-- Please read from start to finish if you really want to get a grasp on the pro's and con's from someone who has attended both regionally and nationally accredited schools. I heard of Penn Foster from a friend/ old co-worker in 2005. He was in his mid 30's and was in the process of graduating with his High School Diploma from PF- I will never forget his excitement! I guess for me this is what trigged my interest in this school. Although, I didn't have any plans on attending as I was naïve in thinking they only offered HS diplomas and was a student at a local community college. I still asked questions in conversations and he graduated and eventually became a master plumber-- as far as I am concerned this is not a career in which you need to have proof of a GED/ HS diploma ( training/ experience and passing the state exam is your real worry). Well, fast forward a couple years later... The year is 2008. I am working 60 hours x week in car sales, making great money within a declining economy. On top of my 60 hour work week, I was a full time college student and was wrapping up my freshman year in a Regionally accredited school. Life was hectic and to add to it, I found out I was pregnant with 3 years before getting a degree in a promising career. I knew that 60 hours a week wasn't going to cut it once my baby was born- I needed something with flexibility. Although I wasn't into medicine- I knew that the medical field was a field in which there would always be work. So I did my research and decided that I would take an online course in Medical Billing and Coding-- I picked Penn Foster. I was really excited at first as it was self-paced-- my plan was to do 2 hours of work each night and finish ASAP. The advisor I spoke to advised that I could finish as quickly as 3 months and my tuition payment was only $80.00. He told me all of my assignments would be completed online and that my books would be mailed to me. Everything sounded great even though I knew that they were Nationally accredited, it was ok. So far everything was all good. I received my first set of books which consisted of a hardcover Medical Terminology text book (with a CD-ROM) and 3 paper backed books that looked like they were printed from home and used legal sized glossy card stock as the cover. Yes. Plain old white books with green letters. I figured, Ok, next month I will probably get more REAL text books. Following month was the same. In my minds defense I thought- the program was inexpensive and as long as I was learning that is what mattered most- right?!?! Did I mention that this was a time when the economy was in the slums? You guessed it- the dealership I worked for was going out of business. I had completed 50% of my studies and had been on time with every single payment but still owed a hefty chunk of change. ****** UNTIL PAYMENT WAS MADE IN FULL I WOULD RECIEVE MY DEGREE************ Understood. I spoke to the advisor I had been working with all along, he was always eager to help in the beginning but then I soon realized when money became a factor he was then snooty. Money brings out the worst in people. ********* I never met, spoke, emailed and or received an instructor in the 2 months I studied with PF but still I obtained an 100% as all the exams were open book. My plan was to bring my cheat book to work and consider my self a professional! <--- Sarcasm. I stopped going and figured since I was already paying for it and was going to have a debt either way I might as well do some extra curricular reading should the time and money be available in the future. Now lets fast forward to the year 2016. I decide I want to go back to PF... I have 50% completion and over 50% paid. I called the school as I was still able to log onto my account. The advisor told me that I could not complete my Medical Billing and Coding course as it has been too long and that the medical field is always changing-- understood. Although, I am not a professional in the medical field nor an instructor, I would a assume an entry exam would be applicable in this situation... they don't offer that. All is owe is $264... they said pay that off and you can enroll in anything and pay full tuition. I completed over 10 courses for their general education pre req ( although admission rep said there would be none) Communications, customer service, patient interactions, etc. (NOTE: Medical Billing and Coding is a profession in which you are at the computer 100% .. software was not yet covered and neither was ergonomics......... No discounts- no transfer of internal credits- nada! The basics of customer service and/or communications are pretty transparent and include very subtle changes. I offered to pay the $264 towards my new course study but they refused and stated I would have to pay the $264 and there is also a down payment for the next course.... What this institution has at heart is finances not education. I have studied both regional and nationally courses and in each there is the ability to return and continue education. Penn Foster does not offer this. The material is low budget and even someone who can't read can pass. There is something for everyone and I don't knock any type of education as I believe our minds should always be stimulated. Please! Do your research on your field and ask several businesses across the nation if they would accept a diploma/degree from PF and/ or any other institution be it regionally or nationally. Time is more valuable than money- don't invest in hypocrisy. Your life, your future. GED Courses: Several states are now offering government GED courses in which you will walk away with a HS DIPLOMA!! Some facilities that host these classes are local High Schools, Libraries and churches. Some even offer an online option. If you have the courage to start something- do it right. I will start off using the rating system provided by onlinedegreereviews.org Technolo

Anonymous (Graduate) on April 3, 2016 (email verified)

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Medical terminology The worst educational decision I've ever made! Avoid avoid avoid penny foster!!!! Take online community college 2 credit medical language - it will be more beneficial. When I signed up I thought "self paced online course and I had a certain amount of time to complete the course" " cool right?" However, what they don't tell you is are going to write 250 words every week on a given topic such as lupus, opiate receptors, MS AND THEN REPLY 150 words to 3 different peers as long as you are in the class. So research takes time and then formatting your paper - so a lot of work for no credit hours or continuing education hours. Then you write s research paper. I had this class done within 4 weeks - I hated every minute - I wished I never enrolled - I tried dropping out but I already had two assignments done so it did not make money sense to drop out so I just kept on. Please do yourself a favor - RUN - do your research - and call your local community college! If I had known this I would have said no to penn foster. I took the medical terminology online class.

Anonymous (In Progress) on February 18, 2016 (email verified)

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Extremely frustrated I have been in the Medical Billing and Coding program since Sept 2015. In January I decided to dedicate my time to the program on a full time basis. They claim this is a self paced program BUT you are at their mercy when it comes to receiving your materials. I have been waiting for two weeks to get my books which are on back order. They claim its because they are waiting on the new 2016 material but we are in February. I would almost understand if this was January but the fact that we are in mid February still waiting on books that should have been ordered in December is unacceptable! I wish I could give this school a negative rating! I have lost critical time waiting on these books. Penn Foster was the least expensive school I found so I guess you get what you pay for! The only advice I can give is DO YOUR RESEARCH!

Anonymous (In Progress) on December 31, 2015 (email verified)

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medical billing/coding I've doing Penn Foster Medical Billing/Coding classes since June. Half of the stuff has nothing to do with billing/coding. I've had to wait for my books to be shipped. More than half of them have been back ordered. When I had a question for my instructor, I would write and it would be weeks before they got back to me. Then I after I do a project I have to write to the instructor to get my grade. One time they had wrote to experience works (that is who paid for my class), they had sent them a final grade on my final test. Which I had never taken and I had to call them to get it straightened out. I wish I had never started the classes.

Valeria887 (Graduate) on November 30, 2014 (email verified)

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Medical billing and coding online I am doing billing for OBGYN doctor for more then a year, but i need the certificate, that's why i enrolled in billing and coding classes online.The total program has 51 lessons, almost half of it is not about billing and coding! Its a lot of unnecessary material, which is good for managers, or somebody else only not for billing and coding. I didn' even get to coding classes yet, and i passed already 25 classes. It was about laws and ethics, maths, basic pharmacology, words and excell, stupid projects, english writing, punctuation and a lot more bullshit. I'm not saying that its not good to know, but you sign up to get classes for medical billing and coding!!! The only usefull lessons were body systems and terminology , which actually you'll have to know when you get to do billing. In general the program could be much shorter and not give you all this unnecessary study material. You'll waste a lot of time before getting to what you need to know, so if you find another school with a program which doesn't have all this extra material which you dont need, go with that one, dont go with penn foster

Anonymous (In Progress) on July 2, 2013 (email verified)

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Medical Coding and Billing I enrolled in the Medical coding and Billing Program with Harcum College. Approximately one month later I was surprised when I was getting my coursework from Penn Foster. That was a big deception. I paid my tuition in full and was told that I could work at my own pace. The introduction to the course was very long and repetitive. I must admit that I was working slower than I should because of pain in my hands. However, nine months later I was told to pay a extension of seventy five dollars to continue the program. I did pay the amount. I did not get my books upfront even though I paid my full tuition. The books were shipped to me when I was locked out of the program which are of no use. I was not aware that all those materials were included in the course and they withheld the books and shipped them when Iwas locked out of the program. They just left me without even saying a word. This school is a scam, waste of time and money. People beware, I have learned my lesson. Do your research before getting scammed like I did. Penn Foster do not care about us. They are just there for the money. It is a shame. I should take my money and attend a reputable institution.

Anonymous (In Progress) on June 24, 2013

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Boo hiss Not what I hoped it would be. Graduated from Penn Foster. The diploma looks better in my scrapbook then it does on my wall. Does not push me through the employment doors. I have been unemployed for seven months after earning a piece of paper in medical coding and billing. Penn Foster does not tell you that you need to pay an extra 300.00 to sit for an exam and pay for extra books. Plus if you don't obtain a certification after test taking, your more than likely NOT to find a job!!!!!

Anonymous (In Progress) on July 31, 2012

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disappointed and annoyed I was pleased with this course until about 11 months in (the course is 15 total.) Out of nowhere the school added eleven additional study units to my course without notifying me at all or extending my deadline. When I called student services to find out why students weren't being notified that their workload had been increased by 25%, the response I got was "they'd have to send emails all day long." SERIOUSLY? It's amazing that they can send out automatically generated emails telling me about my progress, but you can't notify me of changes to my program outline. In addition to this, when it came time for me to start the first coding section the materials were on backorder, so I lost almost a week of study time! Every time I contact student or education services I get very little help or information. I am four weeks away from completing my course and don't feel like I will be prepared for a career in this field AT ALL. Any future courses I decide to take will definitely be done through another institution - there is a reason my Penn Foster's tuition is so inexpensive compared to other schools; sometimes you get what you pay for.

Anonymous (Graduate) on February 23, 2012 (email verified)

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Medical Billing & Coding Program Penn Foster will allow you to receive shipment of all your text books at once, and this makes moving at your own pace more feasible. It took me two years to complete the program, taking 2-3 extensions, for which I paid $75 extra per each one. Having had previous healthcare experience, some of the initial courses were redundant, however, they are necessary for those with no experience. The courses on medical terminology, anatomy & physiology, medical law & the actual coding courses were all very good and quite extensive. I found that reaching the instructors by email was better than via phone & they were always helpful & accomodating. My only question with this school, as a recent graduate, is how its diplomas are received in the work force. This program is NOT listed on the AAPC website or AHIMA website under accredited programs, so I am concerned as to how much weight this diploma will bear. Overall-the educational experience was good & it was a very expansive program.

Anonymous (In Progress) on December 23, 2011 (email verified)

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Medical Coding and Billing I finish one exam and have to wait for quite a while before the next lessons arrive. I have also found that they elaborate about working in an office, what to wear, etc. I worked in an office for 15 years, therefore it was very redundant. When it comes to the materials, they are very out dated.

Anonymous (In Progress) on June 21, 2011 (email verified)

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Less impressed each day Work at your own pace isn't completely accurate. You can only work at the pace in which they VERY SLOWLY send your materials out to you. Yes, you have the option to stare at your computer screen to read a PDF version of each book, but I just had an experience that has taught me it isn't very wise. I just took an exam (online). Two of the twenty questions did not pertain to the material in the unit I had studied. The tests are open book, but I couldn't reference any of the other books in regards to those two odd questions. I would have had to back out of the exam to do so. And as I said, they don't send out the materials quick enough for me, so I am forced to use the online books. I have finished complete courses before my books for said course arrive. I contacted the school about my exam grade (because the only error I got on the exam was due to one of those two questions that didn't belong). She told me I was to reference some number that must pertain to another book. I don't have that number anywhere on my end of the website. How would I have known two questions from another book would be on the exam I studied furiously for? Why wasn't I told ahead of time to have previous books handy, or that previous subject matter would be sprinkled in an exam? Why wasn't that number I was supposed to reference given to me BEFORE I took the exam (and why don't I have that number anywhere)? It's not just this latest thing that bothers me. I have found quite a few errors in the books I am using - and that's just the errors I have found! I'm supposed to be learning from them and I wonder how much of what I'm learning is wrong. I'm getting extremely nervous that this diploma won't be worth half a belch when I try to get a job. They aren't extremely bad (yet), but I have decided against using them to get my Associate's Degree in Health Information Technology. It's a shame. All it would have taken is a little more care and review of the materials (something they urge their own students to do).

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