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Emory Physician Group Practice Celebrates and Prepares Its Coders 

Emory Physician Group Practice Celebrates and Prepares Its Coders 

Georgia’s largest healthcare system embraces the new face of healthcare and prepares its staff for change.

Emory Physician Group Practice (Emory) encompasses 2,000 providers, more than 39 specialties at more than 80 locations, six hospitals, and at least 130 medical coders. This healthcare system supports its medical coding professionals, and is leading its clinical and business staff into healthcare’s future: the value-based payment model. Let’s look at how they honor their coding professionals and help them prepare for an evolving healthcare industry.

Establishing Georgia
Medical Coder’s Day

Emory’s Coding Education Department worked with Governor Nathan Deal’s office to designate May 19, 2016, as Georgia’s Medical Coders Day. Emory was thrilled to receive proclamation from the governor, recognizing coders across the state of Georgia for their invaluable support to physicians, care teams, insurance payers, and patients.
Bridging the Provider – Coder Gap
Emory’s Coding Education Department strives to create a strong partnership among providers, coders, and clinical departments by serving four key functions:
1. Coding to capture true patient acuity
2. Documentation improvement
3. Strategic initiatives
4. ducation engagements
Since its inception in 2013, the department has supported multi-specialty service lines ranging from primary care to surgical services. Service lines were created
to standardize revenue cycle processes by allocating designated resources for
success: Coding Educator and Revenue Cycle Analyst.
Since the inception of the Coding Education Department, they have focused on design, development, and integration of future healthcare reimbursement models.

A Timeline to Help
Revenue and Patient Care

In only a few years, Emory has launched programs and educational improvements to help employees transition through healthcare changes. Here are highlights of what they have accomplished for coding and healthcare professionals:
The Coding Education Department is created to assist providers, coders, and clinical departments with coding/documentation needs.
Professional Medical Coding Curriculum (PMCC) is launched under guidance and leadership of Donna Beaulieu, CRC, C-CDIS, CPC-I, CPMA, CPC, CEMC, CEDC, CFPC, CCP-P, CRP. To date, 175 students have successfully completed the coding course, which is offered at no cost to Emory healthcare employees as part of their professional development.
Specialty-specific ICD-10 readiness documents are created and deployed to providers via faculty meetings and published on Emory’s website. A successful transition to ICD-10 was realized with no loss in physician and coder productivity.
The Coder Development Program is launched to enable coders to become highly specialized in multiple specialties and reduce the need for external coders. This monthly program brings in keynote speakers who are world-renowned faculty physicians from Emory School of Medicine. Coders who attend earn free continuing education units from AAPC.
Emory Coding University is deployed. This is an online platform of coding- and documentation-related webinars created by the Coding Education Department (short videos: 10-15 minutes).
The Provider Shadowing Initiative is initiated for continued ICD-10 support. Coding educators observe provider workflow to ensure services rendered are documented and coded accurately.
Weekly coding lab sessions are initiated to partner front end (operations) and back end (account receivables) coders with coding educators to resolve coding-related denials at a patient account level.
The Coding Education Department is redesigned to prepare for the Ambulatory Clinical Documentation Improvement initiative while partnering with physicians and care teams.

Leading Clinicians and
Coders into New Payment Models

With the movement towards value-based reimbursement models and a strong emphasis towards better population health management, the Coding Education Department has partnered with their physicians, care teams, coders, and care coordination centers to assist with patient acuity capture.
The Ambulatory Clinical Documentation Improvement initiative was launched to ensure accurate coding/documentation and predictive analytics around population health management. Emory instills the following guiding principles for patient acuity capture:
1. Clinical Care – to capture pertinent diseases of each patient
2. Patient Stratification – to identify high-risk and high-cost patients
3. Care Protocols – to generate care plans to match patient healthcare needs
By capturing true patient acuity, Emory will be able to improve patient health outcomes while optimizing revenue streams — ensuring a win-win-win situation for their patients, providers, and payers.

Donna Beaulieu, CRC, C-CDIS, CPC-I, CPMA, CPC, CEMC, CEDC, CFPC, CCP-P, CRP, is assistant director at Emory Physician Group Practice. She is a member of the Atlanta. Ga., local chapter.
Hasan Zaidi, MPH, CPC, CEDC, CSPPM, is senior manager at Emory Physician Group Practice. He is a member of the Atlanta, Ga., local chapter.

Michelle Dick
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Michelle A. Dick, BS, provides writing and editorial expertise to clients. She is a freelance proofreader for Partners & Napier’s Vine Creative Studios and the owner of My Garden Gal, a garden maintenance and landscaping business. Prior to becoming a free agent, Dick was an executive editor for AAPC.

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