The demand for Medical Coders and Billers is increasing all over the world day by day. However, medical coding is a competitive field, and to succeed, you must possess a number of critical skills. These professionals are responsible for assigning the proper codes to patient records, submitting claims to insurers, and ensuring that payments have been made. Because of the complicated nature of medical coding, it can be daunting if you are new to the field. Coders have to be familiar with several coding systems, such as the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT), International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10), and the Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS).
Here are some tips to help get you acclimated to your new role:
1. Don’t hesitate to ask questions
You must be able to keep a sharp mind and never lose your concentration while working to ensure that every detail, down to the tiniest piece of coding, is correct. If you are new to the job, don’t hesitate to ask questions. The more experienced employees can probably do things very quickly, but as a new employee, you need to learn the drill. Here are some questions to ask:
- What are the standard procedures at this office?
- What is the flow of documents before and after they land on my desk?
- What are the most common codes seen here?
- What are the common procedures that have multiple codes?
- Whom do I ask if I am not sure of a code?
2. Study existing records
See if you can come in a few minutes early or stay a little late. Ask your seniors if you can see a selection of encounter forms and insurance claim forms to see how they were coded. See if you agree with how they are coded, and if you don’t, ask your senior. This is especially important for the most common procedures, since you will be coding them often, and you want to be sure you are doing it correctly.
3. Avoid errors and missed items
Having a bill denied or rejected is time-consuming and costly for your employer. Take steps to avoid errors by checking your work carefully:
- Check all of the simple information, such as patient information, provider information, and insurance information. It’s very frustrating to have a claim denied due to a simple mistake in these areas.
- Double-check all of the billing information, such as ICD, CPT, or HCPCS codes. Make sure the modifiers are not conflicting. Make sure you have entered all of the digits. Make sure your CPT and ICD codes aren’t contradicting each other.
- Watch out for procedures that appear in the description, but are not circled on the encounter forms, such as injections, x-rays, and labs. If they are not circled, you will need to communicate with the physician about whether the services were provided, so that you can bill them.
4. Be efficient in the use of your time
- Time is money, and your employer will want you to work efficiently to complete as much coding as possible each day. Try these tips for more efficiency:
- Many coders find that it is helpful to have two screens or a split screen. This way you can keep your work open in one screen, and use the other screen for your reference materials as you look up codes and do other searches.
- Code look-up sites like http://www.findacode.com/ may be helpful to keep open throughout the day.
- Ask your supervisor or other seasoned employees for their best short-cuts and time-savers.
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