Find Your Routine: Know Your Client Workflow
When it comes to coding and documentation, finding your own rhythm can lead to positive results. For our series, Find Your Routine, we interviewed our most productive coders and asked them what steps they take to find a rhythm that works for them.
This week, we talked with Tilina Sablan, RHIT, CCS, Coding Specialist with Health Information Associates, about the steps she takes to find her routine.
Q: Describe in detail your daily routine.
A: First thing in the morning, I check both my client e-mail and HIA e-mail. If there is anything administrative related that needs my attention, I take care of that right away. Next, I look at any pending charts that are outdated and need to be reviewed and I follow up on those. Since I am in touch with CDI a lot at my current client, I also like to check that e-mail first thing.
Finally, it’s time to start coding!
I begin with the discharge disposition in PowerChart, then I abstract the attending and consults. I go through the workflow that the client provides. Every client is different, so I find it important to get to know your client and their workflow. This ensures I don’t miss anything that needs to be coded. From there, I open 3M and review CDI notes to get a glance at what kind of chart I will be coding. After reviewing, I will go through their final notes. From there I go into PowerChart and review entire the H&P to get admitting diagnosis, then ED, discharge summary, consults, op notes, progress notes, etc. After reading all of that, I go back to the discharge summary to make sure I got the correct principle diagnosis and secondary diagnoses – making sure I’ve captured everything. My client uses CAC system that I do use; however, if I’m not sure if it’s the right code, I will use The Coding Tree. If there are some codes that they are suggesting for me, I will look up those codes to verify and be sure that they are appropriate secondary diagnoses to report.
If I know there is a chart that I will have questions on, I open SharePoint and put in the main terms or terms that will help narrow down the search. I read what relates to what I am coding to familiarize myself with the chart I am about to code. This all helps to make sure I am selecting the correct principle diagnoses.
If I still have a question and don’t find a similar tip, I will save all the notes and send my questions to Sharepoint so our HIA Education team can provide that extra help and clarity.
Q: How do you maintain your routine day after day, week after week?
A: I make sure to do things that encourage me to focus. In the beginning of my work day, I like to listen to the radio and morning talk shows until about 10 a.m. – it helps get me motivated for the day. Depending on what charts I get, like new moms and babies, I try to attack those by spending less of my coding time. This allows me to spend longer on those charts that require more time, like longer length of stays
Q: What techniques have you found to minimize distractions?
A: In the morning, I make sure to keep my water and a snack nearby so I don’t have to get up and then get sidetracked. Just being ready for the day and prepared to work is the best tip I can give. I must keep my phone around me for my kids, but I always get in that work mind set and have what I need to attack my work day and prepare to code.
Q: What are the productivity goals that you set for yourself? And how do you track them?
A: I feel that productivity is a never ending challenge and I am always striving to improve. I always want to make the most of my day – finishing that last record or trying to fit in one more chart before the days end. I also found the speed-reading tip and action plan very helpful. Another trick I use is writing down tips and coding shortcuts on digital sticky notes on my desktop (example below). This prevents me from having to go online and research the same thing twice – it’s just right there in front of me.
Q: What motivates you the most? Positive feedback from managers, self-motivation by reaching personal goals, financing incentives? Or other?
A: Positive feedback from managers and self-motivation works best for me. I love getting positive feedback from clients – that motivates me the most. I like to hear that I am doing a good job, and any constructive feedback.
TIP: Use digital sticky notes on your desktop to write down tips and coding shortcuts. Below is an example of Tilina’s:
This would be considered a “mechanical” complication of the stent graft since the MD states it is a fracture of the endograft and it is folded over on itself. I would change T82.898A TO T82.598A for Other mechanical complication of other cardiac and vascular devices and implants, initial encounter. I did not use “displacement” because the surgeon did not state that the graft was displaced, only that it collapsed upon itself causing obstruction.
We interviewed our most productive coders and reviewers, asking them what steps they take to find a rhythm that works for them. This week, we talked with Valerie Abney, CDIP, RHIT, CCS, about the steps she takes to find her routine.
Osteoporosis alone is responsible for over a million fractures every year. Stress fractures are not as common but they do occur. There are more than 1 million total joint replacements in the U.S. each year, so there was a need to create codes for injuries that occur around or near the prosthesis. These are called “periprosthetic” fractures.
Back in April, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) published a report detailing its findings from a review of two groups of high-risk diagnosis codes, acute stroke and major depressive disorder. The objective was to determine whether selected diagnosis codes submitted to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for use in CMS’s risk adjustment program complied with Federal requirements.
There seems to be differences of opinions on the issue of a 40w0day gestation Can you clarify if P08.21 should be assigned for 40w0day infant or if it would not be assigned unless the infant’s gestation age was 40w1day or greater?
Coders may find situations where a patient is documented as meeting SIRS or sepsis criteria, or has some clinical indicators reflective of possible sepsis, but the physician never documents sepsis as a diagnosis. Should the coder always query for sepsis in these instances?
In this example, would it be appropriate to code the complication code T82.03XA, Leakage of heart valve prosthesis, initial encounter as the principal diagnosis over the HFpEF (heart failure exacerbation) code?
We interviewed our most productive coders and reviewers, asking them what steps they take to find a rhythm that works for them. This week, we talked with Kerry Atkins, CDIP, CCS‑P, COC, CPC, CPCO, CPMA, CEMC, COBGC, RMB, Physician Services Consultant at HIA, about the steps she takes to find her routine.
A higher CMI corresponds to increased consumption of resources and increased cost of patient care, resulting in increased reimbursement to the facility from government and private payers, like CMS. We know that documentation directly impacts coding.
With the implementation of ICD-10-PCS more codes were developed in order to accurately report procedures. Spinal fusion coding is still a problematic coding issue and at times, even a coder’s nightmare. Coders often report only the code for the fusion thinking that one code would include all of the other procedures that are performed.
Answer: I would code 0HPT0NZ for removal of tissue expander from right breast, open and change 0HPT0JZ, removal of synthetic substitute from right breast, open, for removal of the acellular dermal matrix to 0HPT0KZ, Removal of nonautologous tissue substitute from right breast, open approach.
There are certain conditions that have instructional notes in the ICD-10-CM tabular/coding conventions that guide the coder in sequencing. This is especially true when the condition has a common manifestation or underlying conditions of a chronic disease. If there is a “code first” note in the tabular, the coder should follow this instruction and sequence the underlying etiology or chronic condition first followed by the manifestation as an additional diagnosis.
When it comes to coding and documentation, finding your own rhythm can lead to positive results. For our series, Find Your Routine, we interviewed our most productive coders and reviewers and asked them what steps they take to find a rhythm that works for them. This week, we talked with Meghan Schumacher, CPC, CPMA, Provider Coding Consultant at Health Information Associates, Inc., about the steps she takes to find her routine.
Last year, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) performed an investigation that found, “between 2014 and 2016, Medicare Advantage organizations overturned 75% of their preauthorization and payment denials upon appeal,” which is why, at HIA, we always advise our clients to engage in the appeals process.
There may be instances where a coder will suspect the patient has acute kidney injury (AKI), but the physician has failed to document the diagnosis. In another scenario, the physician may have made the diagnosis, but there is a question of clinical validity. In either case, a query would be justified.
Changes to CC/MCC designations included in the proposal could have a potentially dramatic effect on casemix. The presence of a major complication or comorbidity (MCC) or complication or comorbidity (CC) generally is representative of a patient that requires more resources.
How many times have you heard “it only takes one code to get the claim paid”? With the emphasis on the severity of illness and the move toward value-based reimbursement in today’s healthcare climate, it is more important than ever for coders to report all applicable diagnoses. There are three important pieces: what the provider documents, how to the coder interprets that documentation and codes it, and then how it is extrapolated.
The reimbursement landscape is already a complicated one – and the highly-complex claims denials process only adds fuel to the fire. A denied claim is one that has been determined by a payor to be in appropriate. Once a coding specialist amends the errors on a rejected claim, they can resubmit it for consideration. The time-intensive process has a significant impact on the cash flow for any setting in the healthcare environment. They are also very costly to appeal.
When a practitioner documents a diagnosis that does not appear to be supported by the clinical indicators in the health record, a coder has four choices: (1) Code the diagnosis; (2) Ignore the diagnosis; (3) Generate a query to confirm clinical validation of a diagnosis; (4) Follow the facility’s escalation policy for clinical validation.
A California-based healthcare services provider and several of its affiliates have agreed to pay $30 million to resolve allegations they submitted inaccurate information about the health status of beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage Plans, according to the Department of Justice.
Happy National Volunteer Week! This week we celebrate the impact volunteer work has on building stronger communities. We know that our staff have a positive impact while they’re on the job, and we are proud to share a few ways our #PeopleBehindTheNumbers are taking time to volunteer in their own local communities.
Scrutiny of coding compliance in the growing ambulatory surgical center (ASC) market has increased in recent years from both Medicare and private payers. This will only increase as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) moves towards value-based care.
Patients being admitted for acute renal failure due to dehydration have been happening for many, many years now. Typically what happens is a patient gets dehydrated for one reason or another. Once dehydration sets in, it can quickly start to affect many body organs. This can lead to acute renal/kidney failure/injury.
When it comes to coding and documentation, finding your own rhythm can lead to positive results. For our series, Find Your Routine, we interviewed our most productive coders and asked them what steps they take to find a rhythm that works for them. This week, we talked with Zahra Ghahremani, CCS, Coding Specialist at Health Information Associates, about the steps she takes to find her routine.
All queries require at least two elements – clinical indicators and a query question. Coders can also include multiple choice options for response or leave the query open-ended for a free text response. The order in which these elements are listed in a query is open to coder or facility preference.
Giving back is an important part of the HIA mission. Each year, HIA employees take a consensus and choose three National charities to support. Individuals can volunteer a portion of their wages to one of the three organizations. HIA Corporate will match each individual donation up to five dollars. We are proud to share with you our 2018 contribution totals combined with HIA matching funds.
One area that coders struggle with is when to report a separate condition code when an already assigned combination code includes the condition. For example, if an obstetric patient is admitted and delivers, and the physician documents “obstetric patient delivered with anemia,” should both code O99.02 Anemia complicating childbirth and D64.9, Anemia, unspecified be coded or should only O99.02 be assigned?
When it comes to coding and documentation, finding your own rhythm can lead to positive results. For our series, Find Your Routine, we interviewed our most productive coders and asked them what steps they take to find a rhythm that works for them. This week, we talked with Donna Cowan, RHIT, CCS, Coding Specialist at Health Information Associates, about the steps she takes to find her routine.
The key to choosing reasonable options for a query response is to remember that the query must stand alone. Any clinical indicators supporting the options must be included in the query itself. In this week’s Query Tip, we provide examples of two queries in which the options for response are not reasonable based on clinical indicators used by coder.