We have high regard for doctors who take care of the most complex machine in the world-the human body. Doctor’s job is to interpret and diagnose problems in our body which is a complicated job. Though not doctors, the health information technicians like medical coders also have complicated jobs as they are required to have a strong understanding of various medical diagnoses, treatments and procedures. Medical coding to a beginner is like learning a new language. It is difficult in the beginning, but as you start practicing it, it gets easier. The Medical coding field requires an eye for detail, organizational skills, medical terminology knowledge and understanding of human anatomy. To gain a foothold in this profession you can follow these tips:
Analytical thinking helps: Using logic and thinking analytically helps in connecting pieces of information and drawing conclusions. This is very much needed for medical coders, as they have to decide on the accurate code for a patient’s medical procedure from thousands of codes available.
Understanding complex language: People in Medical coding services have to read physician’s notes and then apply codes for the diagnosis and treatment given to a patient. So, it is of great importance that you understand the medical language and analyze the complex health records of patients.
Code only what is needed: A doctor documents all the services, tests and treatments provided to the patient accurately as performed with all the necessary details of patient’s symptoms, complaints, injuries and illnesses. The Medical coding jobs are required of documenting all these details with appropriate and accurate codes while maintaining consistency with the doctor’s notes. It is the responsibility of medical coders to not deviate from what the doctor has documented.
Coding in correct order: Care has to be taken in not just coding all the procedures but, putting those codes in correct order. Always mention the code for the specific reason for the patient’s visit as the first code. There may be existing symptoms or diagnoses or multiple procedures performed but, always adhere to the correct order of coding.
Update your knowledge: For an accurate insurance claim, it is of utmost importance that you keep updating yourself with the changes happening in Medical coding services, follow the annual coding changes and adhere to the standard coding guidelines.
Using appropriate modifiers: Some of the Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) codes require use of the modifiers. These modifiers are codes consisting of two digits, two letters or two alphanumeric characters. The modifiers provide further information on the service provided to the patient. Adequate care has to be taken by the medical coders in using the appropriate modifiers. Remember that all modifiers cannot be used with all CPT and HCPCS codes and inappropriate use of procedure code modifiers can result in the reduction in payment or delay in claim procedure.
Never do overcoding or undercoding: As the insurance claims depend on the medical coding jobs, it is vital that necessary steps are taken to avoid overcoding or undercoding.
Over coding refers to coding procedure which leads to higher payments by the insurer which could be considered as fraud and have legal and financial implications.
Under coding refers to non-inclusion of codes for services provided and thereby leading to lower payments by the insurer which results in financial losses to the healthcare provider.
Medical coders have great importance in the health care industry, especially in claiming insurance. In this scenario, it is helpful to remember the above mentioned tips and follow them to become a successful medical coder.
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