With immense coding and billing changes happening this year, it is time to adhere to all the changes. As a hospice coder, this is the correct time to get updated with all the changes to stay compliant rather than waiting to see what CMS does next in relation to hospice coding.
Follow these basic tips to ensure that you are Medicare compliant along with other regulations:
- It is essential to start training now. CMS has already announced the potential changes and all the clarifications for coding further in 2014 in the hospice payment rule, so it should not be felt that these guidelines are still not in effect. In fact, you need to comply immediately with these guidelines as CMS has already made it clear that the guidelines are based on existing policy and requirements.
- Start to amend and draft policies and procedures. Initially, deciding on patient condition to report principal diagnosis will be tough and your staff will require some help. Although documentation may vary for patients, having a common set of rules to enable them to decide on how to pin down multiple conditions will be helpful for them.
- It is important to train your staff based on the new policies and procedures to stay updated, otherwise they won’t be able to function properly. It is essential for hospice managers to gather information and educate staff regarding coding and billing.
- Taking the decision on whether to hire or train coders has always been a big deal for hospice. With the budget around along with low Medicare payment, not to forget the 2 percent sequestration cuts. So investing time and money on this area which might not be of much significance can keep some organizations thinking. Although it is not important for hospice to use certified coders, one cannot tick off the idea completely.
- Preparing for ICD-10 transition is important now. Experts say that agencies that were never efficient with ICd-9 will have a hard time adopting the new changes for ICD-10.