Medical Billing and Coding: Can It Be Kept Simple?

Medical Billing and Coding: Can It Be Kept Simple?

There’s a lot of worry amongst those in the healthcare, medical billing and coding, and insurance industries regarding the new medical coding system, ICD-10. The ICD-9 coding system, which is now close to 40 years old, has approximately 14,000 codes. ICD-10, which launches on October 1, 2015, offers over 68,000 codes. That will be a massive increase in terms of identifying codes, and it will not be one that will occurred gradually. We go from 14,000 to 68,000 codes officially on October 1.

However, hospitals, medical practices, insurers, coding and billing companies, and others have been preparing for the transition. Still, many feel as if disaster is around the corner as they envision a major slowdown on the part of billers and coders adjusting to the new system, confusion amongst healthcare professionals, and huge numbers of rejected claims from payers.

Whether or not medical billing Armageddon will occur on October 1, 2015 is yet to be seen. What needs to be asked about the new system is will it become so complex that no one will be able to effectively utilize it?

Planning and Implementing

If you have not been planning for and are not presently implementing those plans for the changeover, then you are behind. However, it’s not too late. If you have a medical practice in order to prepare, you need to do one of two things. If you are keeping your medical billing and coding in-house, then you must start training those people for the transformation now.

If you outsource your medical billing and coding, then make sure that the company is prepared for the change. If you are going to outsource this service, then try to find a medical billing and coding company that is presently utilizing both coding systems. Some are doing this in order to make the transition less choppy, as they submit medical claims with both the ICD-9 and ICD-10 codes.

Consider Specialty Providers

Another way to easy the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 is to hiring a medical billing and coding company that has experience in working with healthcare providers in your specialty. Doing so means that you’ll have coders who already know how to successfully complete the claim form for your area. This is more important than ever, since the new codes are expansive in terms of how they document specific injuries and illnesses. Thus, if you’re a neurologist and a coder has already been working within that field, they will have less of a learning curve on October 1.

Not Simple

Medical billing and coding has never been simple, and it is about to become more complex than ever. However, medical practices that simplify their process by working with a company that specializes in coding and billing will make their lives a bit easier. Along with the services they provide, such companies are useful resources of information, continue to develop their expertise in the field, and can offer a lot of support during this major changeover.

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