Munson Health
Susan’s Story

CODE BLUE: Medical Coder Lives Her Dream Near Lake Michigan

Corporate downsizing is a story that Michiganians know all too well and it is one that changed Susan Pilon’s life - for good. A 24-year career in Flint ended abruptly, leaving the former information technology worker with no job and decisions to make for her family of five.

Pilon’s fond childhood memories of weekends in Elk Rapids inspired her to strike a new career path northward as a medical coder, a career choice that is in high demand all over the country.

'I decided to take this somewhat scary experience and turn it into something good, into something I really wanted to do," said the water and outdoors enthusiast. "My sister is a nurse, but I knew I wouldn’t be a good hands on clinical person, so I worked on my health information technology degree."

Changing federal guidelines mean the field of medical coding is exploding. Current national figures show there is a 30 percent job vacancy rate for the position, said Gena Culver, RHIT, medical records manager for Munson Medical Center. "Coders are special in that they enjoy medicine, but not needles, and are excellent investigators who paint a picture of what happened to the patient in the hospital using codes," said Culver. "It is a great career choice and especially rewarding because we directly contribute to the financial success of the hospital."

Pilon agrees. "Munson is different than other employers because it’s a caring place that is run well," she said. "You feel valued at all levels, you feel like you matter, and you know they’re not going to let you fail."

Although the initial shock of losing her job was difficult, Pilon now relishes her new career and her downtown Elk Rapids loft next to the harbor she loved as a little girl. "Living and working in such a beautiful place is a dream come true," she said. "Munson has helped me realize that dream." Read More Employee Stories