The back office of any medical facility must be streamlined and operating at full capacity for the facility to be successful. One significant part necessary for smooth back-office functioning is a medical billing and coding system. Medical coding systems translate patient’s records for insurance companies to use for reimbursements.
Of late, medical companies have been paying high fees to coding professionals for medical billing services. Why is this the case? This article demystifies the phenomenon.
Shortage of medical coding professionals
In the current medical industry, there is a shortage of professionals who can perform the billing and coding of medical facilities. As a result, medical practices are always looking for the services of said professionals. In addition, once attained, hospitals will look to retain their services providers for the long term.
If you are not aware, there were bidding wars in the past where medical facilities tried to argue out their case with better bonuses and other benefits to turn to medical coding professionals. According to research statistics provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary of coding professionals has risen and will continue to do so over the coming years.
Switch of coding standards
Coding standards are the measure to which all systems in a hospital or medical facility should adhere. Coding standards provide significant detail on the treatment, diagnosis, and outcomes that are to be found on the doctor’s notes, lab results, and recommendations.
There has been a switch in coding standards. ICD-9 was the previous coding system and only made use of 14,000 codes. Compare this with the newer medical coding standards, ICD-10, which has over 87,000 codes.
The switch to ICD-10 will further necessitate the need for coding specialists, as hospitals will need to stick to the new coding standards. This is with considering the number of health facilities against the number of billing and coding specialists available in the country.
America’s aging population
You might be wondering what an aging population matters when it comes to billing and coding specialists and services. But think of it from this perspective. With an aging population, the number of patients who will need to be tested and examined will increase significantly. In addition, there is the matter of insurance to be considered.
The increased demand for services will mean that coding professionals can charge more for every job they take.
The impact of the ACA
The Affordable Care Act, also known as the ACA, has been operational for a number of years now. The ACA makes it mandatory for medical facilities and hospitals to use medical billing and coding. This will have a positive effect, reducing the number of administrative-related cases as well as increase the efficiency of services offered to patients. More and more Americans will have access to insurance.
But for all of that to work, medical and coding professionals will need to be contracted.