This is post 10 of a 10 post series on the top 10 reasons you should consider outsourcing your coding.
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical coders are considered health information technicians. Health Technicians hold at least a certificate in health information technology or medical coding. The BLS has also reported that medical coding companies like Aviacode or any healthcare provider prefer a medical coder to have a certification which makes them marketable and more valuable.
Who cares if your medical coder is educated? Having a basic understanding of ICD-9 and ICD-10 will allow them to perform at the level they need in order to fulfill their role, right?
At the center of the revenue cycle there is medical coding. Without it, nobody makes any money ever, period. With a medical coder, companies now have the ability to take their clinical documentation and insert the proper ICD-9 or ICD-10 codes that will allow for proper reimbursement from the payer.
According to Payscale.com the average medical coder makes $37,884 annually. If you add on the costs associated with that the number can reach over $50,000 for a fully burdened medical coder on average. The cost to employ a medical coder, even fully burdened can pale in comparison to the opportunity cost of hiring a medical coder who is not highly educated and dedicated to their trade.
There are two extremely important opportunity costs associated with medical coders.
If a medical coder gets lazy, or is not truly educated on how to code for certain documentation, they become a liability and no longer an asset to any healthcare facility. The loss of time, revenue, and potential legality issues with non-compliant coding could potentially be the end of any healthcare facility. The most common instance of this comes when medical coders become complacent in their medical coding. They see the same charts over and over again. They see the same diagnosis, same procedures, and they copy and paste old codes, assuming they are the same thing. This is extremely risky and could cost your business a lot more than $37,884.
If a medical coder is educated and experienced they can maximize revenue and minimize compliance issues. This is the sign of a great medical coder. You will be hard pressed to find them, as they are in short supply nationwide and the shortage is expected to grow as ICD-10 looms.
When looking to outsource your medical coding, the central focus should be the quality of the medical coders you are looking to work with. Most outsourced medical coding companies have a dedicated page on their website that talks about their coders, like this one here: Medical Coders. After reading about their coders and you still don't feel comfortable, ask to interview a medical coder, meet them, find out their experience level, understand what makes them tick. There is no reason to settle for a non-compliant, non-experienced medical coder.