As we mentioned in part one of this blog series, your number one job as a medical coder is to make sure you get your doctor paid for the services he or she provided. During this post, we’ll cover your number two job.
The Priorities of Medical Coding
The average coder believes that their biggest job is to increase revenue. While that’s a wonderful trait to have, you need to keep in mind that before that your job is to protect your providers and protect the licenses of your providers. What I mean by that is that coders need to represent codes as factual stories of what happened with your patient. They codes are all based on facts. In other words, if it’s not documented, it should not be coded.
Your doctors have to document to the finest degree so that you can actually code to the highest level of specificity. You want to be confident that if your practice or clinic or hospital gets audited — and it’s about when they get audited, not if — that they know you as the medical coder are not fearful at all for any mistakes because you have coded factually.
So, again, your number one goal is to protect the licenses of your providers and your job number two is absolutely to achieve maximum reimbursement from the payers (insurance companies). You’ll be doing your job if you’re coding to your highest level of specificity and coding using your mastery of the medical coding guidelines.
The Power of Medical Coding
Your knowledge is where the money is at. But while you’re sitting there doing your job on a day-to-day basis, you don’t initially realize just how much revenue you’re driving into the company because all you do is code. The truth is, you’re not some innocent little coder, you know, just doing your little job and making sure you’re making your managers proud. You know your accuracy. You know the impact on revenue that you’re having at your practice, clinic or hospital.
Wherever it is that you work as a medical coder, your doctor is going to pay a visit to your office manager at some point and they’ll say to them, “Hey, I’ve been doing the same amount of surgeries, the same amount of patients, the same hospital contracts, the same insurance payers… how is it that we pulled in an additional $160,000 in revenue this past quarter? What on earth changed?” Then your manager responds to him or her and says “the coder” and that’s it! It’s not until then that you know your true value.
As a medical coder, you are the pulse of the company. Without you coming in and doing your job on a daily basis, no one (not even the doctor) has a job, so take pride in that and know the big deal that you are in the company.
Stay tuned for the third part in this blog series, where we’ll cover the difference between medical coding and billing.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in March of 2019. It has been updated for accuracy and clarity.