Chhoda Reveals the Top Skill Required by Medical Coders

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Medical coders are an integral part of a clinic’s cash flow system -- they monitor unpaid debt, manage a practice’s claims, and file reimbursement requests as quickly as possible. Electronic medical record (EMR) expert, Nitin Chhoda, said that while most practitioners value a coding specialist’s speed in submitting claims, a superior code of ethics is far more valuable, especially when working with an EMR.

physical therapy billing and coding

Staff members need to know that patient data can only be released to clients if they submit a written request and gossip won’t be tolerated.

“Coders work with sensitive and confidential information,” said Chhoda. “Patient privacy is protected by law and any disclosure, even by chance, could easily land a clinic in an expensive lawsuit. Coding specialists work with integrated EMRs as part of their daily tasks and are privy to a wide variety of private patient data. An impeccable code of ethics is one of the most important skills coders bring to the job.”

EMRs provide coders with the tools to hasten reimbursement requests, track and monitor claims, and contact patients about balances that are owed. Access to medical, financial and insurance data about each patient is part of the job, and Chhoda noted that clinicians should develop a strict code of behavior, put it in writing and ensure that each staff member comprehends it and the ramifications for violations. (To learn more about EMR system that is integrated with billing and coding services, visit here).

Chodda said it’s essential that clinicians ensure that all staff members are aware of privacy laws and the consequences of releasing client information improperly. Staff members need to know that patient data can only be released to clients if they submit a written request and gossip won’t be tolerated. No patient information encountered within the confines of the practice is to be shared, not even with co-workers, unless it’s in the line of duty.

Even a seemingly innocent comment can set the stage for litigation through a violation of administrative, case, common or statutory law. Depending upon the type of suit that’s filed, financial penalties can range from thousands to millions of dollars, in addition to jail time. The clinician and coder can be held responsible. The loss of reputation and clients can be so severe that a practice never recovers.

A coding specialist’s job is to file accurate and timely reimbursement claims and an EMR provides the tools to accomplish that task quickly and efficiently. Coders have access to a tremendous amount of protected personal data and the potential to run afoul of the law, even accidentally, is great. It’s far more important for clinicians that their coder possesses superior moral and ethical standards than warp speed typing skills.

Chhoda’s office can be reached by phone at 201-535-4475. For more information, visit the website at

Nitin Chhoda PT, DPT is a licensed physical therapist, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and an entrepreneur. He is the author of "Physical Therapy Marketing For The New Economy" and “Marketing for Physical Therapy Clinics” and is a prolific speaker, writer and creator of products and systems to streamline medical billing and coding, electronic medical records, health care practice management and marketing to increase referrals. He has been featured in numerous industry magazines, major radio and broadcast media, and is the founder of Referral Ignition training systems and the annual Private Practice Summit. Chhoda speaks extensively throughout the U.S., Canada and Asia. He is also the creator of the Therapy Newsletter and Clinical Contact, both web-based services to help private practices improve communication with patients, delivery better quality of care and boost patient retention.

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