July 16, 2014
ICD-10 transition is going to have a major impact on many areas and organizations in the US healthcare industry. Considering the staffing issues and other challenges, small hospitals need to be well-prepared for the change. In order to avoid potential adverse administrative effects and coding backlogs, such hospitals need expert coders who can also act as project managers in the ICD-10 transition.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 21% of job growth is expected for coders and billers by 2020
Working in a small setting allows coders to become more proficient in denial management and process improvement
Small or rural hospitals are often the primary employers of skilled coders in their area. Small hospitals serve around 19% of Americans whereas, rural hospitals make up for almost half of the US hospitals
Coders as Project Managers at Small-sized Hospitals
Due to the lack of skilled resources, coders don the project manager’s hat in small hospitals. Apart from coding, they are also expected to perform other administrative support duties, viz., development of an ICD-10 project plan to ensure the readiness of the coding and billing team; coders can play a vital role as managers in small hospitals.
These hospitals need the trained coders to actively participate in rendering hands-on training, updating about the coding technology and assessment services for ICD-10 adoption to their billing team. Their active participation in conducting ICD-10 educational program will also ensure a smooth and effective transition.
The duty of a coder usually varies according to the size of a hospital or medical practice. Besides managing the billing team, procuring timely payments and ensuring readiness for ICD-10, coders in small hospitals need to split their time for various other tasks such as, scheduling appointments or even answering calls. It helps them gain the required experience to transition into management positions.
How can Skilled Coders Benefit Small Hospitals?
Hospitals do not get paid if the reimbursement responsibilities are not handled by skilled coders
Hospitals need experienced coding staff for handling the increase in medical procedures and to cope up with the demand for data collection and analysis
Well-trained coders can help small hospitals sail through compliance issues by ensuring timely payments
Irrespective of the benefits, it is becoming increasingly difficult to hire and retain skilled coders. Healthcare facilities across the US are feeling the pinch and necessary measures are being taken to retain these key members of the billing team. Recruiting strategies such as competitive salaries, work-from-home option, a low-stress work environment and flexible scheduling are being used by small hospitals to fill the vacant coding positions.
MedicalBillersandCoders.com offers effective coding and billing services to hospitals and practices across the 50 states of US. Coders and billers can use the MBC job board as a unique platform for finding a job in healthcare organizations. They can access the job portal, newsletters and industry updates available on their regularly updated website to gain relevant industry knowledge and job assistance. The company also offers an ICD-10 training guide to help coders prepare for the transition.