Best Practices to Onboard New Remote Medical Coders & Auditors

Best Practices to Onboard New Remote Medical Coders & Auditors

The onboarding process for new remote medical coders and auditors plays a pivotal role in their future and success. If the organization does not invest time to properly train them in the company’s policies, the new hire – and ultimately, the organization itself – is being set up for failure.

What Should Happen Before the Onboarding Process Starts?

remote medical coder

Before the candidate is interviewed and hired, they need to complete a coder assessment. These assessments evaluate the candidate’s coding skills and accurately place them in the appropriate position. They also help identify any additional training the new hire may need.

Our coder assessments test new employees on ICD-10-CM/PCS guidelines and coding scenarios, CPT surgery (facility coding), CPT surgery (ProFee coding, plus E/M), medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, and pharmacology.

What Should Your Onboarding Process Include?

remote medical coder

The most important item to note about the onboarding process is communication. Communication is key to ensuring the new hire understands the organization’s policies and procedures from the very beginning.

And that communication should start before the new hire’s first official day of work – and even before they formally accept an offer. Throughout the entire background screening and assessment process, hiring managers need to openly communicate status updates on where the candidates are in the process.

Then, kick off the onboarding process as soon as they accept the company’s offer.

Touch base with the new hire at least a week prior to their official start date to set up a “Welcome Meeting.” This meeting should discuss what they can expect on Day 1, such as the company orientation process. Even before Day 1 arrives, the new hire will have a clear picture of their manager’s and the company’s expectations.

The first official start date for any coder or auditor will be busy – so that’s why it is important to include a detailed agenda with a timeline of events and meetings. This helps the new employee grasp what they can expect to work on while they adjust to the new setting. Ideally, the agenda maps out the new hire’s first two weeks, but, at minimum, it should include the first few days.

The first day needs to include a thorough orientation with the Human Resources (HR) department. This meeting covers the employee handbook and company policies (if one is available), detailed information regarding the benefits offered by the company, productivity expectations, auditing processes, and any additional company policies. Any necessary new hire paperwork should be filled out and submitted at this time. If the company conducts an employee evaluation process, it’s a good idea to show the review form to the employee, so they understand on which points they will be evaluated.

remote medical coder education

Depending how large the organization is, the next several days may include various meetings with IT support, education, marketing, and more. But, it is essential that the new hire receives the required education they need to complete their job at the beginning of the onboarding process. This may include training in ICD-10-CM/PCS or CPT guidelines if they’re crossing over to a different field of coding, or more focused coding refreshers for specialized practices.

After the employee is settled and adjusting to their new position, it’s a great idea to schedule a check-in with them around 30 days post-start date – both from the HR department and the new hire’s manager. The check-in is designed to assess how the new employee is doing, see if they have any questions, and welcome them again to the team.

coding accuracy

Launch a coder mentorship program to develop a new hire’s skills. Coder mentoring helps the new employee apply their knowledge in the field while being guided by an experienced coder or auditor. During the coaching sessions, they receive feedback on their work and gain confidence in their selection process. To see the impact of an effective coder mentoring program, download our Coder Mentoring Case Study.

Perform compliance audits to ensure the new remote medical coder and auditor maintains the organization’s coding quality standards. This should be part of the onboarding process, as well as a regular occurrence within the organization. At YES, we conduct an internal audit every month to confirm our coders’ and auditors’ level of accuracy stays at 95% or above.

As part of our internal audits, five random cases are selected per remote medical coder or auditor. The audit process is collaborative, as its main objective is to further the education of our team members.

internal audits for remote medical coder

“As a result, our coding and auditing team members understand this is an exercise that ultimately supports their personal development and growth,” says JJ Crumbley, Director, Project Management & Operations. “A foundational pillar at YES HIM Consulting is continuing education and the investment in the next generation. Our goal is to invest and train our team members so they have the skill set and knowledge to further their careers, and respect them so they stay with our company for many years to come.”

What Makes YES Different Than Other HIM Companies?

The company culture, benefits, and communication set YES apart. Our priority is our people. We believe “it takes a village” to succeed. So, we invest in our team members and foster a “YES Village” mentality, even in our remote settings. This includes team-building activities and comprehensive benefits, so everyone knows they’re appreciated and feels connected.

Our benefits, which start on Day 1 of employment, differentiate YES from other HIM firms. Our team members are rewarded with competitive hourly pay (based on national data), rather than a per chart basis. Health benefits include medical, dental, vision, short-term and long-term disability, and much more. Our team members have paid vacation time and paid sick time, in addition to prescheduled holidays off. They don’t have to worry about fighting over who gets major holidays off, since it’s already been scheduled for them.

Since education is the cornerstone of a successful remote medical coder and auditor, our team members regularly receive our in-house education courses with pre-approved CEUs. Our Education Catalog includes the quarterly and annual coding updates, our Refresh With YES specialty courses, and client-requested education. Not only are the courses themselves paid for by YES, but we also reimburse our coders and auditors for their time spent completing the training.

Our coders and auditors are evaluated on their quality and accuracy, rather than the number of charts coded or reviewed. YES team members also have the opportunity to cross-train from coding to auditing, or outpatient to inpatient, and vice versa. We reinforce the YES Village mentality by fostering collaboration between team members, including setting up question queues where they can reach out for support if they’re coding or auditing a difficult case.

Unlike other HIM companies, YES provides the computer equipment, software licenses, and coding tools our coders and auditors need to perform their daily tasks. We established downtime procedures if our clients’ systems are unavailable, so our team members don’t miss out on pay.

If our company culture and benefits sound like a good fit, consider joining our team. We have a list of open remote medical coder and auditor positions available on our Careers page. Review the openings and submit your resume.

Nikki Trowbridge

remote medical coder

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