Medical coding is the most critical stage in the medical billing process. Maintaining accuracy is imperative in this step to avoid denial of claims. Most of the time errors in coding happen due to several reasons – from improper knowledge to common mix-ups. No matter what the reason is the consequences of wrong coding is always severe. Some of them include:
- Risking Patient Heath
Incorrect codes can have dangerous consequences on a patient’s health. Errors in medical codes can change the medical information on the claims. This would mislead the future physician of the patient. Therefore, this can lead or wrong diagnosis of the patient and consequently wrong medication.
- Affecting Reimbursements
Coding errors would lead to claim denials and hence, directly affect the process of revenue cycle management. Over time, the denied claims would stack up till they are corrected and resubmitted. This delay in submission of clean claims would cause financial instability for the medical practice.
- Dwindles Quality Patient Care
Improper billing can pile up the administrative tasks for medical practitioners. It would affect their focus on the primary responsibility of rendering quality patient care. With the increasing burden of handling medical billing damages, medical staff would fail to provide patient satisfaction.
- Increasing Potential Legal Issues
Medical practices must face legal issues if they code inaccurately. Since these coding errors have the potential of directly affecting the patient health, the medical coders responsible for such errors would be charged with a monetary penalty or even may have its license revoked.
Prevention of Medical Billing and Coding Errors:
The severe consequences of incorrect coding can be prevented by:
- Hiring experienced medical billing and coding staff and training them regularly to keep their coding knowledge up to date.
- Performing quality checks to verify the medical data collected and entered in the claims.
- Following an end-to-end, streamlined and robust medical billing and coding process to decrease coding errors.
- Investing in a medical billing software to automate and increase accuracy and efficiency of the medical billing process.
- Outsourcing medical billing services to experienced medical billing companies, enabling healthcare providers to leverage on their experience and expertise to maximise revenues.
As preventing inaccurate billing and coding leads to improved reimbursements, medical practices must leave no stones unturned to make medical coding accurate.