A talented, qualified, and diverse workforce is the cornerstone for any business in the US today, and healthcare is no exception. In 2021, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are approximately 39,900 health information open positions. Projected to grow at a 17% increase through 2031, the profession has a tremendous need to develop talent now. Today’s healthcare system concerns include critical staffing shortages across the continuum of care, including coding professionals. An aging profession, new reimbursement models, ICD-10-CM implementation, workforce reductions, inability to train new coders—the reason may vary, so call it what you want, but the bottom line is that experienced healthcare coding professionals are hard to find.
The challenge to find experienced coders predates many of the reasons listed above. It’s been brewing for years. Now the industry finds itself in a predicament. It wants experience, it needs experience, but how does it afford the time, training, and oversight needed to develop coding talent? How does a new coder get experience, if no organization will hire them because they don’t have the prerequisite two years (or greater) of experience? Many coders graduate from two-year, four-year programs or a coding bootcamp each year. The industry is often saying this is not enough specific training to develop coding talent.
Being a coder in today’s healthcare environment is no walk in the park. Annual code updates in two different code sets, ICD-10-CM/PCS and CPT. Quarterly updates to official coding guidelines. Add in the complex coding requirements such as risk-adjusted methodologies, MS-DRGs, APCs, CC/MCC’s, quality measures and a coding professional is expected to have a knowledge skill set that is hard to match.
To compensate for the shortage many organizations and providers augment their coding staff in a variety of models such as outsourcing to a vendor, adding part-time or PRN workers or adding remote workers. Organizations may opt to outsource their pre-bill reviews and annual quality reviews. There is no cookie-cutter approach to solving the current staffing problem. The goal is to create a model that works for the organization and complements revenue cycle processes.
Creating an on-the-job training program seems like a simple solution, but it is extremely difficult. Organizations struggle to find quality candidates to place in or manage the program. The training required didactic learning, job shadowing, internal quality assurance reviews, and one on one feedback sessions.
At CSI®, we have developed solutions to assist you in creating an on-the-job training program to fit your needs. You provide the staff (or let us help recruit staff) and we provide the rest. We provide didactic learning, job shadowing, quality reviews, progress reports and feedback sessions. A program designed for your specific need; inpatient coders, outpatient surgery coders, ED coders or even risk adjust coders.
Because coding accuracy, productivity and expertise are pillars of any program’s success, let our qualified, experienced subject matter experts provide the heaving lifting. Our approach to coder development is a multi-faceted strategy that includes coding, clinical documentation integrity and risk adjustment into a collaborative educational experience. A quality educated workforce is a game changer for any organization. Creating an engaged worker is a must. Let CSI® provide the edge to your workforce.
Meet Our Experts
Lou Ann Wiedemann, MS, RHIA, CDIP, CHDA, FAHIMA has over 30 years of industry experience. Her extensive knowledge of ED and Outpatient Surgery Coding as well as data analytics has given her a unique perspective that she utilizes to mentor the next generation of coders.
Donna Walters, RHIA is an inpatient coding expert with over 30 years of experience in trauma, NICU, ICU and surgical coding. Donna’s extensive knowledge of ICD-10-CM Official Coding Guidelines are unparalleled. Her ability to relate to coders and how they think is instrumental in providing pre-bill reviews and one-on-one feedback.
Jennifer Arend, MSHI, BS, RN, CCDS, CDIP, CCS, PMP brings a wealth of knowledge regarding clinical documentation, processes, and documentation improvement. Jennifer is a one-of-a-kind talent that provides that perfect complement to coder training.