What does the changing coder landscape look like?

More and more, hospitals are challenged to recruit, train and retain medical coders. Coding backlogs, payment delays, claims denials, compliance audits and even fines from CMS are some of the repercussions of this changing landscape.

This infographic details how three organizations are managing staffing challenges and coding overload with help from 3M’s outsourced coding services.

Navigating the changing coder landscape, Part 2:

How three organizations are managing staffing challenges and coding overload with 3M outsourced coding services

  • The current state of medical coding

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates medical coding jobs will increase by 13% from 2016 – 2026, with an additional 27,800 new medical coding jobs expected by 2026.

    The demand for coders, combined with a lack of qualified candidates, have contributed to why 31% of health care leaders report staffing challenges, and why 80% of hospital leaders are considering revenue cycle management outsourcing.

    By outsourcing their medical coding with 3M, these three organizations have successfully navigated the changing coder landscape.

  • Icons symbolizing coding technology, skilled professionals and turnaround time

    Hospital one

    Location: Southwestern U.S.
    Type: Academic, multi-hospital integrated delivery network
    Annual admissions: 200,000+
    Beds: 5,000+ 

    Difficulty recruiting, training and retaining. High employee turnover. Scheduling conflicts. These internal issues resulted in low staff productivity, inability to handle coding volume and an opportunity to improve coding quality.

    “Even when you educate from within and grow your own coders, that doesn’t mean you can keep them.” – Hospital coding director

    To handle the volume of coding support needed, this organization successfully deployed outsourced facility, professional and specialty coders, as well as experienced auditors from 3M.

    What benefits has the organization seen?


      • Quality and turnaround time expectations were achieved
      • Access to a wider range of skilled professionals than was available locally
      • Quick adoption of new coding technology
  • Icons representing coding consistency, improved turnaround time and reduced backlog

    Hospital two

    Location: Southwestern U.S. 
    Type: Specialty hospital with multiple facilities
    Annual admissions: 13,000+ 
    Beds: 400+ 

    Changing Medicaid payment models, the ICD-10 transition and seasonal fluctuations were straining processes, causing backlog and threatening this hospital’s productivity. The hospital needed additional coding support.

    However, recent state regulations prohibited overseas outsourcing. The organization either had to recruit an internal coding team or find a domestic outsourcing vendor. Two dedicated coders from 3M were assigned to code outpatient surgeries. Supplemental coding support from 3M allowed the hospital to get back on track without having to recruit, hire and then terminate temporary personnel.

    What improvements has the hospital seen?


      • Consistency in coding quality
      • Improved turnaround time
      • Reduced backlog
  • Icons representing an education program, identifying resources and work processes

    Hospital three

    Location: Southern U.S.
    Type: Multi-hospital organization
    Annual admissions: 150,000+
    Beds: 4,000+ 

    Challenges with unbilled revenue and coding quality sparked the need for an improved coding quality program. This organization recruited a new coding director through 3M’s outsourced coding services to help.

    The new 3M coding director transformed operations by:

    As the relationship between 3M and this organization grows, the current coding staff continues to undergo performance improvement education. 3M continues to supply outsourced staffing to help the organization reach the goal of elevating its current operations.

      • Identifying needed educators, auditors and additional coders
      • Implementing a more robust quality and education program for existing coding staff
      • Standardizing work processes to lower DNFB days

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