Many Ambulatory Surgical Centers have clinics located in rural and metropolitan areas. While this allows their patients easier access to their ASC it, may create some medical coding difficulties for the centers themselves.
It is extremely important to maintain medical coding consistency within your umbrella of surgical centers. Inconsistent medical coding typically indicates that some medical coders are billing out incorrect medical codes, or they are under coding, which prevents ASC’s from being reimbursed the full amount warranted. If these inconsistencies persist, auditors may find it necessary to investigate the facilities and increase claim denial.
Fortunately we have discovered four important secrets to maintain medical coding consistencies:
- Consistent Trainings- Because most Ambulatory Surgical Centers have clinics in both rural and metropolitan areas it is extremely important that your medical coders are receiving adequate training. Many medical coders that are hired on have different backgrounds and if you strictly rely on your medical coders’ previous experience, inconsistencies will persist. Create a training manual for all of your clinics to help your medical coders know how your ASC practices medical coding.
To keep your medical coders on the same page it would be a good idea to hold frequent meetings. To ensure each clinic is receiving consistent trainings hold these meetings with the entire flock of medical coders your ASC has employed. Each clinic can be tapped into these meetings through a conference call or any other adequate source of technology.
- Self-Audits- To avoid RAC or OIG audits, why not routinely audit your own ASC? Use one of your employees to check on some of the work your medical coders are doing to ensure consistency and accuracy. I’m not saying to check every single medical code your ASC is billing out, but have some sort of randomized inspection system in place to maintain consistency. At Aviacode we have an entire team of Quality Assurance (QA) Coders that make sure everything is coded clean before it goes out.
- Efficient Software- Implementing some sort of medical coding software such as, the 3M encoder, ProCoder, or others can greatly benefit medical coding consistency and efficiency. It helps guide your medical coders through the coding process to ensure accuracy, and it will help save time allowing your medical coders to efficiently increase the number of medical codes submitted.
- Partner with an Outsourced Medical Coding Company- Implementing these suggestions might feel a bit overwhelming. Your company may need to hire more employees to make this process manageable. If this is something your company can’t afford to do, it might be a good idea to outsource a portion or all of your medical coding. Outsourcing your medical coding could really benefit your ASC. Most medical companies utilize the secrets of consistent medical coding, which means you won’t have to worry about implementing them. Usually medical coders within medical coding companies are highly trained, and the better companies will require their medical coders to be certified by AAPC or AHIMA. Because of their thorough training process, these medical coders will typically be able to get more reimbursement for your ASC. The top medical coding companies will have managers that audit their medical coders routinely to keep accuracy rates high. Innovative medical coding companies will utilize medical coding software to maintain efficiency, giving your Ambulatory Surgical Center a quick turnaround.
If you decide using your own medical coders is the right approach for your ASC it is important to implement each process. It’s a slippery slope; if one step is neglected, you’ll soon be back to ground zero.
If you decide outsourcing is the right fit for you, take some time to research medical coding companies, because there may be some differentiators that make some companies better than the others.