Caryl Serbin, president and founder of Serbin Surgery Center Billing, suggests the following five ways ASCs can improve their coding.
1. Get comprehensive operative notes from physicians. Getting paid depends entirely on the thoroughness of the physician's operative notes. Assist physicians in understanding that their operative notes are "the prime pieces of information that allow the ASC to determine its charges," Ms Serbin says. "If it's not in the operative note, it didn't happen, even when we know it did."
2. Hire certified coders. Experienced certified coders are still a rarity at ASCs, but if they are used, they could possibly increase revenue by 5 percent, if not more, Ms. Serbin says. ASCs have to be prepared to pay more for these highly trained employees. Depending on the geographic location, an experienced certified coder is usually paid at least $5 to $10 more per hour than uncertified coders.
3. Don't hire inexperienced coders. Even when certified, new entries to the profession often do not have sufficient experience in many specialties. When Serbin Surgery Center Billing hires its own certified coders directly out of school, 100 percent of their work is monitored for a minimum of six months, as a precaution, Ms. Serbin says. ASCs usually do not have the appropriate personnel to do this, so hiring an experienced certified coder is the best idea.
4. Get existing coders educated. Existing coders at the ASC can get certified by attending evening, weekend or even online courses. The ASC may want to underwrite the cost of these courses if the coder promises to stay for an agreed-upon length of time following certification.
5. Consider outsourcing the coding. Coders in an ASC are often distracted from their work by other duties, such as reception, insurance verification or filling in for a colleague on vacation. In contrast, a billing company uses experienced certified coders who are dedicated to coding.
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