Medical coding has emerged as an instrumental part of the home health value chain. As industry regulations surrounding Medicare and Medicaid payouts are increasingly tied to how care is coded, agencies must efficiently and accurately track operations in order to gain revenue. Inefficiencies or inaccuracies can lead to regulatory scrutiny, billing challenges, and fiscal troubles for an agency, creating an operational climate where efficient medical coding is a major priority.
Looking at medical coding as part of the value chain
Medical coding is not just a tedious data entry task. Instead, it requires skilled, detail-oriented professionals who can accurately document key data and identify how to categorize that information within the ICD-10 coding regulations. A report from the Journal of AHIMA and Elsevier explained that the rapid growth in the home health sector – something that is driven by a rapidly aging population – is creating new demands for care improvements and regulatory scrutiny. This is putting more pressure and demand on home health medical coding teams as they serve as key cogs in the revenue chain.
According to the news source, medical coding professionals are running into significant pressure due to rapidly changing regulations that force them to constantly adapt their operations. Furthermore, value-based payments are disrupting the sector and problems with errors, fraud, and abuse are pushing regulators to take a closer look at home health operations. All of this adds up to a need for significant advances in the coding sector to ease the burden facing home health workers and streamline operations to ensure billing and coding don’t become a bottleneck.
If home health agencies are becoming more dependent on coding as part of their revenue creation strategies, they must also consider putting resources into improvements.
Streamlining medical coding
Medical coding is becoming a priority across the home health industry. A study from the Office of the Inspector General pointed out that, in the immediate future, the agency will be putting an emphasis on the National Correct Coding Initiative and working with states to ensure they are implementing the strategy effectively. This strategy comes after the agency recognized major problems with fraud in the industry and is implementing greater controls and balances within the sector to ensure payment processes are handled accurately and efficiently.
This type of pressure underpins the medical coding demands facing home health agencies. Home health agencies are tasked with finding and keeping qualified, certified medical coders who have experience in the ever-changing home health regulatory environment.
HEALTHCAREfirst can help
Inaccurate coding can slow reimbursement, drain administrative resources, and result in lost revenue. At HEALTHCAREfirst, we serve as an extension of your team and work hard to optimize cash flow for your agency. We understand how important it is to maintain operations, so we treat your revenue cycle management activities with the highest level of diligence and priority. More agencies trust HEALTHCAREfirst with their home health medical coding and are confident that while they focus on patient care, our coding experts are focused on the speed and accuracy of their claims. Contact us to learn how we can help your home health medical coding efforts today!