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4 ICD-10 Staffing Strategies

Chelsea Rice, for HealthLeaders Media, October 21, 2013

Healthcare providers need an ICD-10 strategy that includes adequately training medical coders and retaining them in their jobs. With an already extremely low unemployment rate, ICD-10 coders will be very much in demand.

With the ICD-10 deadline a year away, hospitals and health systems are ramping up their staffing strategies to hire, train, and retain their medical coding workforce in time for next year's transition. But there are challenges to retraining a coding staff onto a system that's more complicated than the previous one, and to keeping those coders around once they're trained and in demand.

In September, the American Association of Professional Coders released its 2013 Healthcare Salary Survey, which reflected a rise in medical coder employment and a steady pay increase over the past three years. Certified professional coders (CPC) have a 1.7% unemployment rate, nearly half the rate last year.

With the shift to ICD-10 coming next year, providers need to have a plan so that they adequately train, but don't lose coders. Four steps are essential.

1. Manage productivity expectations

Angie Mannon, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Inova Health System in Virginia spoke with me about the strategies Inova has implemented to prepare its coding staff of approximately 120 for the ICD-10 deadline. Mannon is in charge of hiring and retention strategy.

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