Health Information Management

Tip of the week: Recognize coders' worth during times of regulatory changes

HIM-HIPAA Insider, November 20, 2007

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Although coders are among those most responsible for a hospital's financial health and quality data, fewer than one-third feel "very respected" in their organization, and one in five feels not respected at all, according to a survey of 226 readers. The survey also found that fewer than half of the respondents feel only somewhat respected.

And because coders aren't likely to stand on their own soapbox, HIM directors can do it for them, says Rita Scichilone, MHSA, RHIA, CCS, CCS-P, CHC, director of practice leadership for the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). "They can help raise awareness that this is a very special job that requires a very special skill, and that it usually requires a credential with continuing education requirements," she says.

Consider the following other ways to support coders in your hospital:

  • Use the hospital's newsletter to highlight coding audit results, a reduction in unbilled accounts, or coding staff involvement in a chargemaster update or documentation improvement program
  • Set aside a special recognition week to explain the coder's role to others in the HIM department
  • Be cognizant of your role as a liaison between physicians, nurses, and other staff and coders, when necessary, to assist the coding process

This tip was adapted from the December 2007 issue of Medical Records Briefing. For more information, click here.

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