While the technology has unquestionably been at the forefront of the rapid changes in any organization as it provides a low-cost, ubiquitous tool for facilitating business transactions through the use of electronic media to engage in the purchase and sale of goods and services is far from new. This paper argues that the separation or the relocation of the coding function out of the HIM department into the Revenue Cycle Management is justifiable as it provides the organization a coding control mechanism, optimization, and efficiency.
The coding control mechanism is arguably the single most important element in the facility’s financial operations as it will speed up the billing process. According to Lila Mayer, RHIA, the regional director of coding for Banner Health–Western Region in Greeley, CO, there is indeed an improvement in the effort to streamline the financial efficiencies when the coding was brought in the financial fold as it heightens communication in the revenue cycle. Also, by bringing coding under finance provides a CFO a flexibility to have control over financial operations from beginning to end.
Coding, being the last step before an account is billed makes sense to include it under the financial umbrella as they share the same interests and functions. Another benefit of the split up of HIM and coding departments is optimization. Having separate departments will enable the said departments to focus on their real functions. This is perfectly illustrated in the case of St. Francis, the separation of the coding and HIM department allowed them to pinpoint the cause of the significant backlogs in coding and revenue cycle.
A separate coding department permits the coders to act as functional experts in the area. Lastly, with the coding department working with other departments like finance and accounts receivable establishes an efficient revenue cycle goals and priorities. This move is also, in a way gave HIM professionals a better opportunity to talk about compliance, data integrity, and risk management. And when efficiency is achieved in the departments, the over-all productivity of the organization is also increased. With increased productivity comes a better profit and patient-customer mileage.