by Pamela J. Haney, MS, RHIA, CCS, CIC, COC
There is a perception that some employers are hesitant to invest in training their coding team for fear they will leave after achieving additional skills. The alternative is to not invest in the coding team and risk poor quality coding and lower productivity which will impact revenue.
I suggest there are several ways in which investing in your coding staff will benefit your facility:
1. The coder’s role in revenue cycle means they have a direct impact on your facility’s bottom line. Ensuring you receive every reimbursement dollar you are entitled to depends on accurate and complete coding of the medical record.
2. The coding systems are complex and recently became significantly more so with the advent of ICD-10. The guidelines and codes change yearly. Coders need to be up to date
3. Audits have become frequent and more aggressive. The quality of your initial coding may send the auditors elsewhere looking for easier targets. When you have an audit finding, your staff should know enough to be able to challenge the results where appropriate and effectively respond.
4. Training is a great way to instill loyalty in employees. Coders are lifelong learners and appreciate employers who will help them out. Keeping your coding staff engaged in training and education keeps their skills fresh.
5. Training can be the employee benefit that brings top skilled staff to you. Coders love to learn, it’s in our nature. An employer that understands that about coders and invests in their Coding Team’s knowledge and skills may have an advantage over other employers, especially in our current environment where skilled coders are in high demand.
The bottom line is how can you, as an employer, afford not to train your coding staff? Make it a win-win situation and commit to training your coding staff. I hope you agree: the benefits outweigh the risk.
Pamela J. Haney, MS, RHIA, CCS, CIC, COC, is the Coding Trainer Lead for the “American Apprenticeship Grant Program” at the AHIMA Foundation funded by the U.S. Department of Labor. While Director of Training and Education for Libman Education, Pam was responsible for the writing and/or development of online and instructor-led courses in health information management and medical record coding. An experienced educator, Pam serves as faculty and advisory committee member for medical coding and HIT programs, and has over thirty years experience as a Director of HIM and Coding Services. She is an AHIMA certified ICD-10 trainer and received the 2013 AHIMA Triumph Award in the Mentor category. Pam was a beta tester for the AAPC CIC™ exam and one of the first to receive the CIC™ certification.