Your agency relies upon accurate, efficient home healthcare coding for every service you provide. It’s more important than ever to maximize productivity for your coding processes. Therefore, coders should avoiding these common habits that could hurt your agency.
1. Failing to Use Resources
After a short time, coders begin to memorize basic codes. They may not ensure that the coding is specific to each patient. Falling into the routine of coding strictly from memory can lead to poor habits. Coders may see the same types of records each day. However, if one patient has something a little different, but the coding doesn’t change accordingly, then there is a problem. This practice can easily lead to repeated coding errors, a reduction in reimbursement, and potentially lower quality of care for the patient. In addition, it’s important that coders are continuously trained on the latest regulations that may affect their coding. Many home health associations offer coding training and education to assist in keeping up with coding updates.
2. Utilizing Home Healthcare Coding “Cheat Sheets”
Home healthcare coding “cheat sheets” are often created to help coders assign diagnoses more quickly. These unofficial resources can become outdated or lack the specificity to make a correct diagnosis; yet coders may continue to utilize them. While it’s good to have resources at their fingertips, coders shouldn’t completely rely on the cheat sheets. Remember…regulations change, and patients are all unique. It is vital that coding is done specifically for each individual patient so nothing is missed or mistakes aren’t made.
3. Succumbing to Quota Pressure
If a coder is faced with mounting quota deadlines, s/he may spend less time reviewing the proper documentation. S/he may also forego using official resources to allocate codes. When coders are overwhelmed, the likelihood of errors increases. Many agencies choose to work with a third party home healthcare coding vendor. Their team of experts’ sole focus is on an agency’s coding speed and accuracy, while the agency can allocate more resources to patient care.
In conclusion, it’s important to catch unsatisfactory coder habits sooner rather than later. As a manager, you can support your team by addressing systemic problems at the root of the cause, help them understand areas needing assistance, and offer solutions. Oftentimes, you can spot these habits via quality review. By training coders to avoid home healthcare coding from memory and regularly refer to coding guidelines, it’s easy to prevent problematic coding habits before they have a chance to form.
The HEALTHCAREfirst Difference
Is your home health agency struggling to meet its workload, losing money due to poor home healthcare coding practices, or in need of coding help? We can help! Reach out to us to learn more about our home health coding services provided by certified, expert home health coders.