October 07, 2009
When you become a coder or biller, you have a commitment to this profession. It doesn't matter if you're new and you've been one for one day or if you've been a coder or biller for 40 years. We have over 900,000 providers who depend on us for their income and livelihood. We are in charge of more than $2,000,000,000 of healthcare dollars and with that comes a commitment to do what is right. To do what is right, medical coding and billing requires us to follow certain values and we must always stand ready to defend those values at all costs by setting the example of commitment to do what is right.
These values that I am referring to are Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Integrity, Courage and Honor.
Loyalty: Loyalty is an intangible bond that is based on a legitimate obligation. It entails the correct ordering of your obligations and commitments. A medical coder or biller forms a bond and obligation to the provider, the patient, the patient's insurance company, the rules, regulations, guidelines, and the law. That bond and obligation is to ensure that the provider is paid correctly for the services that he or she renders to the patient. Our bond and obligation is to ensure that the patient's information that is given to us is true, accurate, correct and protected. Our bond and obligation is to ensure that the laws, guidelines, and regulations are enforced. By using high moral standards, we can avoid conflicts regarding to whom or to what we have committed our loyalty.
Duty: Duty is that which a person is bound by any natural, moral, or legal obligation to do or perform. It is the obligation to do something and that something is the right way our job is to be done. It is also a task that one is asked to perform or a task that we know must be done. Duty is doing what should be done and when it should be done without being asked or told to do it. It is a personal act of responsibility, accomplishing all assigned tasks to the fullest of your abilities, a willingness to accept full responsibility for your actions, and meeting all commitments. When you provide your services to your provider, your duty is to submit a claim that is clean, true, accurate, correct and to see the claim processed correctly through to the end.
Respect: Respect is high or special regard/esteem. It is an act of giving particular attention and consideration to yourself and to others around you. Respect is the regard and recognition of the absolute dignity that every human possesses; it incorporates diversity and compassion. The respectful person assists and supports those in need. In order to receive respect, you have to give respect. You treat people with respect and those people can be depended on to give respect. Respect cannot be given to you as it must always be earned. You earn respect by setting and maintaining high standards, keeping to the limits of your training and making sure that what we all do is right and according to standards, guidelines, policies, and laws. To be successful in medical billing, we must respect one another, trust one another, and to do our absolute best in everything we do.
Selfless Service: Selfless service means to put the accomplishment of the mission ahead of individual personal desires. Selfless service leads to teamwork and unity of effort. When you work for a provider you are part of a team. You serve the team with the work you do. When you help your teammate get the job done without gripes or delays, you are practicing selfless service. Selfless service is your path to posterity. When you are gone, what will live on are the memories that others hold of you and the lessons you have taught others through your words, actions and deeds. Each of you will leave a legacy of some kind. By your words and actions, others will know what your values are. When you are gone, others will know you based on what you stood for.
Integrity: Integrity means possessing high personal moral standards and honest in word and deed. Integrity demands action in support of ones decision to do what is right. Integrity requires responsibility. Persons of integrity acknowledge their duties and act accordingly. No person of integrity tries to shift the blame to others or take credit for the work of others. It requires that we explain that our actions are the result of that decision so that our motives are clear and easily understood. When you know who you are, what you value, what you will do, and what you will not do, career decisions become simpler.
Courage: Courage means doing the right things in spite of the danger. Courage means doing things we are afraid to do. Courage is facing your fears and getting the job done. Courage means we keep trying when we fail; we never give up. Courage is a quality of mind that allows us to meet danger or adversity with calmness and firmness. Courage is self-control. Courage is learning from our mistakes (getting up after we fall, etc.) and trying again. Taking action means not only that we do something, but also that we do all that is required to achieve the objective. If you take action, you may at first fail or only partially succeed. But if you persist, you will succeed at last. But remember, above all, you must act. There are some who will say they can do something, or say that they will do something. But there is a very old saying that still holds true today: "Actions speak louder than words." In other words, once you've decided what is the right thing to do, "Don't just talk about it, do it!" Having courage means that we learn from our mistakes and improve in areas where we don't do well. It means that failure doesn't discourage us. Failure can be the road to success, as every attempt gives us experience and improves the odds of our success the next time. When you make your decisions, make courageous decisions. Remember that you will live the rest of your life with the consequences of your actions. If they are courageous actions, you will have personal honoreven if you fail. But you will live with sadness and disappointment if your actions are not courageous, for you will always know you could have done better.
Honor: Honor is about doing what's right, in spite of opposition. Honor is about our conduct. We must live our values to consider ourselves honorable. Honor has to do with what is in the "general interest," not the personal interest. We say that honor is achieved by living by a code or a set of high moral values. Moral values are values that are good, that are right. Each of us developed a set of values. Your values came from your family, your church, your school, or others who deeply influenced you. Those who do what is right achieve honor. The first step in being honorable is realizing that it is up to you to be so. Honor is taking responsibility for all your choices and actions, and the results of those actions. It is an honor to be a part of the medical billing and coding profession. Doctors depend on us for their livelihood and to submit their claims in a timely manner. They depend on us to follow up with an unpaid or denied claim. It is up to us to help prevent fraud and abuse and to protect the privacy of the information entrusted to us. If you did your job according to your training, per published rules, regulations, policy and laws and you remained within those boundaries, you have no reason to fear an audit or an inspection. You can welcome it and hold your head high, knowing that your honor has not been compromised. If you allow your honor to be degraded, then you have every right to fear what may lie ahead of you.
When you become a medical biller or coder, you accomplish all tasks thoroughly, efficiently and quickly. You accept all of your responsibilities, even when not assigned them. Within your specialty, you hold yourself responsible to be aware of everything that occurs and to take positive action to correct what is wrong or improve that which needs improvement." You don't accept, "That's the way we always do it". You need to counter with "This is how this is supposed to be done." You also don't accept "I heard&" or "Someone says&" without having them provide you with valid proof. You stop the rumors before they get out of hand and you maintain control over your surroundings. YOU can be proud for joining such a proud and honorable profession and be proud of yourself.