Medical coding is a chore, but it's a necessity for any practice. It's a record that insurance companies can easily understand, allowing them to reimburse you for your services. Without coding, practices wouldn't have a viable revenue stream.
However, hiring an in-house coder isn't always necessary—many are choosing to outsource medical coding services to a medical coding company instead. Using one is simple: you send a patient's electronic health records to the medical coding service after a patient visit, and they'll send the relevant ICD-10 codes back to you for billing purposes. To learn three ways this can benefit your practice, read on.
1. Reduces Operating Expenses
One of the problems with hiring an in-house coder is that certified medical coders are quite expensive. There's currently a shortage of medical coders in the workforce, which drives up their salaries. When you add in the cost of salary, benefits and payroll tax, an in-house coder can be a significant part of your practice's operating expenses.
When you outsource to a medical coding service, you don't have to worry about paying for benefits or payroll taxes. They're taken care of by the company the coder works for. This saves you money along with simplifying the business side of your practice. In addition, you don't need to worry about providing office space or equipment to an in-house coder.
2. Improves Coding Accuracy
The majority of medical coding services perform regular audits on the codes that their employees submit. This allows them to catch errors quickly, and it also allows them to dismiss medical coders who are making errors frequently.
Most physicians simply don't have time to audit codes that are sent to insurance companies, so they often don't know that anything is wrong until insurance companies begin denying claims or start a chart audit. When you outsource your medical coding, you can rest assured that there's more than one pair of eyes on the codes that are being sent back to you.
3. Faster Turnaround Time
For a practice with only one in-house coder, you're stuck if they take a vacation or if a backlog of charts needs to be coded. You won't be able to receive reimbursement until codes are sent out, so this can significantly impact your revenue.
Outsourcing your medical coding needs avoids this problem since they have an entire team of medical coders working on charts. If one of the team members is sick or goes on vacation, someone else will simply take over. You'll be able to have a more steady revenue stream due to the improved turnaround time for codes.
Hiring an in-house coder has some benefits. For example, you're better able to communicate with them if they're in your office, and they're able to watch your patient visits to determine if things aren't being charted that could be coded. However, outsourcing your coding needs to a medical coding service makes sense for most practices—the cost is significantly lower and they're almost always just as accurate.
To learn more, contact a resource that offers medical coding services.
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