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5 Ways Checklists Help You Code Better

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  • February 25, 2019
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5 Ways Checklists Help You Code Better

Pilots do it. Bird watchers do it. Even surgeons are starting to do it. Are you taking advantage of checklists to help your medical coding and billing?

Rocket Scientists Use Checklists

Coding can be – as the saying goes – more complicated than rocket science.  Not only are you translating a provider’s impressions, judgments, actions into reportable ICD-10, CPT, and HCPCS Level II codes, you’re adding to a patient’s lifetime record. Here are five reasons adopting checklists can help you improve your medical coding accuracy and reimbursement:

  1. Checklists assure your claim is complete – They remind you of additional characters,  action and add-on codes, and modifiers that should be reported. A large number of rejected claims are simply because we forget a detail.
  2. Checklists fight distractions – Interruptions by coworkers, providers, and patients can derail your train of thought enough you might skip a step and submit a claim in error.
  3. Checklists standardize your claims – Payers have specific elements they want reported. Your checklist will help remind you who wants what when specific claims are constructed.
  4. Checklists enforce compliance – Are there quality measurement codes required for physical therapists, for example? Checklists can alert you to the all-important federal tracking codes. They can also assure you prepare files being shared properly.
  5. Checklists improve communication – Research shows that in operating rooms where checklists have been adopted, providers, nurses, and other staff communicate better as they are all fulfilling the same script.

There are a lot of resources about checklists on the Internet and in your bookstore. Try out them out where you need the discipline, and if successful, expand. And, if you want your manager to see you as the expert and innovative employee you are, do a show and tell.

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Brad Ericson
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Brad Ericson, MPC, CPC, COSC, is a seasoned healthcare writer and editor. He directed publishing at AAPC for nearly 12 years and worked at Ingenix for 13 years and Aetna Health Plans prior to that. He has been writing and publishing about healthcare since 1979. He received his Bachelor's in Journalism from Idaho State University and his Master's of Professional Communication degree from Westminster College of Salt Lake City.

No Responses to “5 Ways Checklists Help You Code Better”

  1. Oathwell says:

    Absolutely, that is what we do at Checklists ensure standardized practices.

  2. Karen Roth says:

    I’ve been hooked on checklists ever since reading “The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right” by Atul Gawande. Coding is the perfect venue for their use!

  3. Lee Ann Cooper says:

    It would be very helpful. Have there been checklists developed for IP coding?

  4. Lee Ann Cooper says:

    It would be very helpful. Have there been checklists developed for IP coding?

  5. Lee Ann Cooper says:

    A checklist would be very helpful. Have there been checklists developed for IP coding?

  6. T Thivierge says:

    OMG!! There is a lot of bad coding out there but the claim SOMETIMES gets paid but not at proper revenue rate. Sequencing dx and CPT counts , modifiers on correct CPT, not adding dx . codes cause medications are this and that and history codes added when addressed. Or listing 1 dx code when doc has assigned more than 1 diagnostic code is what some coders do.

  7. Winda F Hampton says:

    I absolutely use a checklist and I have advised others to do so as well.

  8. Kristina B. says:

    Anyone have an example of a checklist they can post?

  9. Rachel says:

    I’d love to see an example too please. I’m only taking the Practicode right now, but it would be great to start out with a good habit. I checked online for ideas but nothing specific is jumping out. Thank you

  10. Judy Perkins says:

    How is a check list different from an audit sheet? Is there an example I can look at somewhere?

  11. Anna Mae Melchiorre says:

    I do not see any replies to the above comments/questions etc. Has anyone responded to these requests?
    Thank you