The overall well-being of a home health organization is often dependent on the manner in which it manages coding. The efficiency of an agency’s medical coding gives a good idea of where that agency is headed. Therefore, by examining the ICD coding path that your homecare agency is presently on, you can recognize warning signs that, if unnoticed or ignored, could ultimately lead to “a crash.”
Below we present some “signposts” along the coding highway, which may indicate your coding is on the wrong path. Correct ICD coding connects excellent client services with faster cash flow and higher revenues. Unfortunately, the wrong path can take you in the opposite direction if too many coding problems persist. Join us on this highway as we offer advice on “how to get back on track” with your ICD coding.
Signpost Coding Path One: Managerial Overload
When managers spend time coding instead of managing, your whole organization suffers. Coding delays and denials due to untrained coders are bound to make managers uncertain and edgy. Managers then feel the need to double-check the codes assigned or complete the coding personally. This incredibly inefficient scenario leads to overwhelmed, overworked managers.
There are three obvious solutions to this warning sign. Switch to certified home health coders, re-train current coders until they can be implicitly trusted or engage a professional coding company. Keep reading as correcting the four problems below will automatically decrease your managerial overload issue.
Signpost Coding Path Two: ICD-10 Coding Confusion
Although the fear of transitional disruptions over ICD-10 coding implementation is past, the fact remains that ICD-10 is a large and complex beast. There are over 70,000 possible individual entries to choose from and up to 7 character slots to fill in. CMS demands full specificity on each entry, and a 70% OASIS integrity score is needed to avoid penalties.
The solution is using only ICD-10 certified coders who have proven years of coding experience. Other key factors to avoid confusion is to allow coders to be 100% focused, develop coding tools and implement CMS coding changes immediately.
Signpost Coding Path Three: AWOL Documentation
Both the accuracy, detail, and speed of claim submissions will suffer when required information is omitted from clinical documentation. When coders are left scrambling to find missing data, waiting for physician communications, and are forced to code from incomplete OASIS or care plans, valuable time is wasted.
The solution to correct documentation issues is to implement an intense training program and offer frequent reminders. Another important consideration is to improve communication between coders and clinicians so problems can be corrected quickly.
Signpost Coding Path Four: Missed Opportunities
Even if your aren’t seeing claims submission delays or frequent denials, are you maximizing your reimbursements for the services you provided? With incorrect, incomplete and inaccurate ICD-10 coding, leaving cash on the table, is huge missed opportunity.
The best way to maximize your reimbursements is to use only certified home health specific coders who understand our industry particulars. Their niche-area knowledge is the edge needed to boost your bottom line.
Signpost Coding Path Five: Never Up to Date
ICD-10 coding will not remain static and tools will be periodically updated by CMS. Unless you establish a process to become aware of and implement these changes rapidly, you will fall behind.
There are two possible solutions: sign up for CMS ICD-10 Industry Email Updates so your coders can quickly implement changes or outsource your ICD coding so this is never an issue.
Recognize the Signposts
Recognizing the signposts that your organization is on the wrong ICD-10 coding highway is the first step toward correction. Getting on the right path of maximum reimbursement requires efficient coding, accurate documentation and staff training.
Check out the Kenyon’s Coding Plus program. We provide constant coding excellence with outsourcing and can meet your documentation training needs. Contact us today to schedule a call.