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What Will Home Health Coding Look Like in 100 Years?

Sometimes it is challenging to think outside of our decade much less outside of our century. What will home health coding look like in 100 years? This question is fascinating and jogged my imagination into high gear.

Home Health Coding Travels “Back to the Future”

Perhaps, the day will come when homecare providers travel home to home in flying cars. Or when robots take care of routine duties and send auto-reports to data review centers in high-rise towers. Is it possible that monitoring devices installed in homes will scan clients to check vital signs and ascertain the effectiveness and side effects of prescribed medicines? Imagine “drone-like” delivery gliders which drop medications into chutes, landing them directly into a home med-box where meds are sorted and dispensed.

Might sound far-fetched, but so would our current system to past generations. The first suggestion of anything like ICD medical coding, came in 1860 from Florence Nightingale. Then in 1893, Jacques Bertillon began a “baby version of coding,” which grew larger in content and more widespread. Consequently by 1900, the coding manual in use was a small, one-volume book. In its 6th revision in 1948, the content doubled into two volumes and became known as the International Classification of Diseases (ICD). ICD’s 9th revision occurred in 1975 followed by the 10th in 1990. Although many European countries implemented ICD-10 well over a decade ago, the U.S. finally transitioned to ICD-10 in 2015.

If the future of home health care and coding continues on it’s current trajectory from the past, we can only expect more change. Growth in coding complexity continues to accompany continued technological and medical advancements. As providers, we can certainly conclude that home health coding will be required. In addition, unless CMS goes bankrupt, reimbursement rates will depend on coding accuracy and speed and completeness will determine cash-flow rates.

5 Keys to a Bright Home Health Coding Future

Dreaming about the future and reminiscing about the past is fun. But, what you do now will lay the foundation for your agency’s future success. Five critical keys to maximizing reimbursements and keeping your operation “running smoothly” are:

  1. 1.100% correct and complete coding and documentation. Without highly experienced and dedicated coders doing the job, ICD-10’s 7 alphanumeric characters and penchant for detail results in expensive delays and denials. Without clinicians skilled in preparing the necessary documentation, coders can’t code accurately, completely or timely.
  2. 2.Detail the reasons for continued care in each recertification. Each element of care must be documented on the 60-day summary and backed up with solid  rationale. Furthermore, all goals must be specific, measurable and outcomes for the previous 60 days explained. Denials will occur if these recertification elements aren’t complete.
  3. 3. Maintain consistently high OASIS scores. An OASIS submission quality score of 70% is standard. But from July of 2016 onward, 80% is the rule. Thus missing this mark, means reduced compensation.
  4. 4. Keep other providers “in the loop.” Physician-sourced documentation must be consistent with your records. To keep everyone on the same page, quick communication is needed. Consequently, you may want to fax the initial OASIS to the physician to keep him/her fully informed from the beginning of care.
  5. 5. CMS coding changes MUST be kept up to date. Unfortunately, ICD-11 is already scheduled to appear in 2018. Remember, currently there are annual and triennial updates to ICD-10. Implementing all changes immediately helps prevent being “blind-sided” by penalties.

Conclusion For Your Home Health Coding Future

In the past, home health coding has gone through multiple stages, oftentimes involving dramatic changes. Therefore, more alterations will surely occur 100 years into the future. What remains the same, is the need for fast, effective coding that will boost your bottom line to its highest potential.

If you have any questions or need more information about outsourcing and/or documentation education, contact us today. If you are ready to give outsourcing a try, Kenyon’s Coding Plus program is a comprehensive approach that often boosts reimbursement rates by 29% to 48%.

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