Medical coding errors can produce some of the most serious consequences for hospitals and health care organizations. By not providing acceptable medical documentation, medical coders can put their medical practice at risk for incurring unnecessary expenses in fines, receiving delayed reimbursement, and negatively impacting patient care.
When coding errors happen repeatedly, it typically reflects that the health care organization in question is not investing enough time, energy, or revenue into ongoing training in this arena. Continuing education in this respective area ensures that health care environments everywhere employ professionals that uphold compliancy and safeguard profitability.
Some organizations outsource medical coding to expert service providers in the field, while others employ in-house staff members to fulfil these important duties. Regardless of which route your organization takes, it’s important to keep in mind the following when it comes to coding errors.
Negatively Impact Patient Care
Mistakes such as incorrectly coding a diagnosis, charging a patient for a treatment that never happened, or even spelling a patient’s name wrong can be detrimental. All of these are examples of things that can be avoided by not rushing through the coding process.
Break Your Bottom Line
Providing incorrect coding and billing information, especially to insurance companies, can cause claims to be denied or delayed. Over time, this can create an unforeseen gap in revenue, which can also lead to poor long-term profit margins.
Lead to Fraudulent Penalties
If coding mistakes are a regular occurrence, your practice and providers may be responsible for paying fines and facing federal penalties for fraud and abuse.
Even the smallest medical coding errors can create a heap of havoc in your health care organization. It’s important to regularly assess your revenue cycle, coding protocols, patient satisfaction, as well as the ongoing educational opportunities that are given to medical coders on staff. The more you set your coders up for success, the more your organization will flourish.
Taking the time to ensure that you aren’t rushing through one of the most crucial aspects of operating a medical practice will bring forth many rewards including, but not limited to, boosted workplace morale, happier patients, and a more financially sound institution.
As humans, it’s in our nature to make mistakes – no one is perfect. Something you can do to lessen your chances of making a coding error is to make a checklist of common mistakes and mentally navigate through those mistakes and their ramifications before they are made. A good example of this would be to double-check diagnostic and procedural codes, as well as patients’ names and other personal information to make sure they correctly align with the services at hand. Additionally, you should stay informed with the most up-to-date U.S. Department of Health & Human Services laws and regulations on billing and coding.
More information regarding ongoing training for Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) code, ICD-10, and Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) Application Summaries and Coding Decisions, and other medical coding courses can be found online through various health care credentialling organizations such as AAPC and AHIMA.
Learn More About Advanced Care Hospitalists (ACH)
ACH is a Lakeland-based hospitalist group providing comprehensive patient care in community hospitals across Central Florida. Our providers are highly skilled, board-certified internal medicine specialists who are available around-the-clock to meet the care needs of patients from hospital admission through discharge. Post-discharge from the hospital, we continue overseeing patient care for 30 days.
We’ve found that continued care coordination ensures more accurate medication reconciliation, improved compliance with discharge plans, better scheduling of follow-up visits, and fewer hospital readmissions. Our providers do everything in their power to make sure our patients receive the compassionate and comprehensive care they need to promote healing and prevent a second hospital admission.
For more information about our services and our practice, please contact Advanced Care Hospitalists at 863-816-5884 or fill out a contact form online.