Hospitalists cannot bill for everything they do, but they can document and code to obtain appropriate reimbursements. It is important for hospitalists to know the factors that influence coding to ensure accuracy and compliance.
The Society of Hospital Medicine developed the Clinical Documentation & Coding for Hospitalists webinar series (formerly known as CODE-H) to provide hospitalists with the latest information on best practices in coding, documentation, and compliance from nationally recognized experts, along with the opportunity to claim CME.
The Hospitalist recently spoke with Carol Pohlig, BSN, RN, CPC, ACS, course director of the webinar series and a coding and documentation expert at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center in Philadelphia. She was instrumental in developing the content in the series to ensure it was specifically designed to address challenges regularly faced by hospitalists.
What inspired the creation of Clinical Documentation & Coding for Hospitalists?
Providers are so busy trying to keep up with regulations for their institution, such as malpractice and quality issues, that the focus isn’t always on the documentation required for reimbursement. The creation of the series rose out of a need for providers to understand key issues related to documentation and billing and some of the hurdles that they need to overcome – or need to be aware of in the first place.
This series brings awareness and solutions to some of these problems. It is available on an ongoing basis, so viewers can move at their own pace. Given the wealth of information in the series, it made sense to create it in this format.
What are some common challenges that hospitalists encounter when coding, and how does this webinar series help to address these challenges?
Some common challenges relate to concurrent care or comanagement. Hospitalists are hired to be the gatekeepers – the ones overseeing patient care. When other consultants are on board, they wind up sharing responsibilities, which can muddy the waters at times, especially with billing and coding. It is important for hospitalists to understand their role in comanagement and, in turn, how the payers view their role.
We highlight everything – including requirements for history, exam, and medical decision making – and review each component in depth. We also discuss billing based on these key components or, when it is appropriate, billing based on time. However, when billing time-based services, you have to meet certain qualifications because it is different from the standard way of reporting, which is something we break down in the series.
Related to mitigating risk, EMRs and their copy and paste function is another topic we delve into. It’s easy to copy and paste and pull forward information from a previous note to help save time. However, it is important to understand what the ramifications are. Each of these copied and pasted encounters must be modified to make it applicable to the current day’s patient and ensure care is not being misrepresented.
Those are just a few of the items covered, but we believe that each of the eight modules in the series offers something unique that will help improve documentation and coding practices.
How can this webinar series go beyond the hospital medicine care team and more broadly affect the institution as a whole?
Hospitalists are often involved in a number of different categories of services, including observation and same-day admission/discharge. The series reviews rules and challenges specific to those sites of service, which on a broader scale, impact not only providers in other service lines but also those who work in the revenue cycle at the parent institution. How each of these parties understands the nuances explained in the series can directly affect the successful processing of the submitted claims.
In addition, interpretation of rules when it comes to coding and documentation can vary at a local level. We raise awareness of local interpretations to ensure everyone involved in the documentation and coding process knows things to look out for when reading rules. You might think it means one thing when, in reality, it could mean another. With this series, everyone involved with billing and coding can reflect on the implications that incorrect or inaccurate coding may have on their hospital.
Who would benefit from viewing this webinar series?
Although we primarily had hospitalists of all types – including physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants – in mind during the development of course content, anyone who works as a practice manager, biller, coder, or internal auditor has the potential to benefit from the series. If they understand broader challenges in coding, it could help them proactively prevent issues throughout the process with more accurate documentation that could reduce claims denials.
Let SHM’s Clinical Documentation & Coding for Hospitalists webinar series bolster your and your team’s accuracy and compliance. Individual and group subscriptions are available. For more information, visit hospitalmedicine.org/coding.