Medical coding has a tremendous impact on all sizes of medical practices. When done accurately, providers are promptly and properly paid, and patients understand both their healthcare costs and individual financial responsibility. When not done well, a practice’s efficiency, profits and patient satisfaction suffer greatly.
While some practices have decent coding procedures in place, almost every medical practice could improve its coding in some way. Here are five best practices that may help improve your practice’s coding procedures -- and its efficiency and patient satisfaction as a result.
Review All Denied Claims
When insurers reject claims, they have a reason for doing so. They may occasionally make a mistake and incorrectly reject a claim. More often, though, there is an issue that causes a claim to be denied. For example, it may be missing information, have insufficient documentation, contain a coding error or be submitted too late.
Denied claims should be addressed by having a dedicated person review them. Reviewing each one will ensure there aren’t any mistakenly denied claims, ones which your practice should be paid for. It also gives your practice a chance to learn and correct any mistakes that are causing regular rejections. If the same information is frequently being left off of claims, for instance, the person who reviews claims will notice and can then help your practice make any necessary adjustment.
Confirm Coverage Before Each Appointment
Sometimes, claims are denied because they’re either deemed medically unnecessary or aren’t covered under a patient’s current insurance. These are justified rejections, but they’re also avoidable ones. Simply confirming each patient’s current health insurance coverage before every appointment will greatly reduce the number of these types of rejections.
Explain the Claims Process and Treatment Costs
Because medical coding and claims filing are behind-the-scenes processes, most patients aren’t aware of how the processes work. In many cases, patients don’t even know what the services they receive are officially called or how much they’ll cost. All of this leads to a lot of frustration for patients, who have trouble budgeting for appointments and are sometimes saddled with large, unexpected bills.
Practices can eliminate a lot of the billing-related frustration patients experience by simply being upfront and honest. Simply explaining the claims process and treatment costs will help patients budget appropriately.
In some cases, practices may not be able to anticipate all costs that arise from an appointment, or they might not know what coverages a patient’s insurance offers. At the very least, however, practices can explain the process and update patients as they learn more about the potential expenses that a patient will be responsible for. Patients will appreciate the transparency, even if they don’t receive all of the information they want.
Take Continuing Education Seriously
At this point, practices have generally adjusted to the new ICD-10 system. Remaining current with changes in the industry doesn’t end with learning the newest system, though.
Medical coders have continuing education requirements, and these requirements should be taken seriously. Making sure all coders adhere to their CEU requirements and sending them to quality classes will help them keep up-to-date with any changes in the industry. They’ll be better prepared to address issues that arise, and they’ll be better able to keep your practice’s coding running as smoothly as possible.
Rely on a Professional Billing and Coding Service
All of this is a lot to keep track of, and most practices struggle with certain aspects of medical coding. For the best solution possible, outsource your practice’s coding needs to a service like M-Scribe. A professional medical billing and coding service, M-Scribe will take care of all your practices coding needs. The service’s experienced and certified coders will help you improve your office’s efficiency and patient satisfaction by handling the coding process so you can focus on providing medical care. To find out how M-Scribe could help your practice, contact a representative at either 770-666-0460 or firstname.lastname@example.org.