How your Patients are Affected by Improper Medical Billing and Coding

As a physician, you already know how the right medical billing and coding can affect your practice. What you may not think about is how your patients might be affected by it. Improper medical billing and coding can have devastating consequences for them in a number of ways, and here are just a few of them.

Economic Hardship

It’s extremely important that your medical coding functions be as accurate as possible; otherwise, the odds of a claim being denied greatly increase. A common error involves a diagnosis and treatment code mismatch, which can leave patients responsible for all or part of a bill that they hadn’t otherwise counted on paying.

In some cases, additional medical bills may even result in bankruptcy. In fact, a study performed by Harvard University showed that 62% of all personal bankruptcies are a result of medical bills, and that 78% of those who file have some form of health insurance.

Time and Frustration

Even if your patients are able to effectively resolve the issue of improper medical coding without paying out of pocket, there will likely be a great deal of frustration involved. Resolving these issues could require people to spend hours on the phone, often with multiple entities. They may also need to submit additional documentation or even hire a medical billing auditor to assist them.

In the meantime, they are unable to enjoy valuable personal or family time, and may even see their productivity at work suffer. Some will face collections actions and need to seek advice from an attorney. When the problem escalates to this level, the amount of frustration your patient faces is enormous, particularly if he or she must also take time off from work in order to get things settled.

Lack of Trust

Trust is an important factor in any doctor-patient relationship. That trust you have worked so hard to establish could instantly be destroyed should one of your patients become a victim of upcoding. Upcoding occurs whenever the patient is billed for services he or she did not receive, or for ones that are more extensive than the ones that were performed.

Regardless of the amount of medical billing and coding knowledge your patient has, upcoding mistakes are very likely to be discovered. When that happens, the odds are very high that your patient will feel violated and no longer wish to seek care from you. You could be subject to fines and penalties from Medicaid or Medicare as well.

Patients who are negatively affected by improper medical billing and coding may have a less-than-favorable view of your practice. As a result, they may decide to look for another health care provider, and may also be unwilling to recommend you to others. The best way to ensure accurate medical billing and coding is by partnering with Leeward Medical. We have extensive experience in a number of specialties, including acute care, dermatology, orthopedics, and podiatry, and offer a 99% accuracy guarantee.