December 18, 2014
5 Minutes with
National Risk Adjustment Expert (HCC, CDPS, & Hybrid models), ICD-10-CM, Coding Education, Health Leadership & Education
BC Advantage (BCA): Can you tell us about yourself and how you got started in the healthcare industry? Brian Boyce (BB): I started out in Aeromedical Evacuation in the US Air Force. I always liked biology and the idea of going into a field where I could learn to help people was exciting to me. I moved into physician practice management in the civilian sector and then into coding, and coding instruction, and then risk adjustment.
BCA: You have over 15 years of experience in Healthcare Operations and Physician Practice Management; how has that helped you in your current job role? BB: I believe my prior military experience helped fine tune my leadership skills. I have managed and developed the operations of hundreds of physician practices. I also managed health centers for other outpatient services, to include coding and clinical services for both profit and non-profit organizations. After many years of managing people, developing processes, and solutions, I decided I should be doing this for myself, which helped me to create ionHealthcare.
BCA: Since you are a certified instructor what is the number one thing you tell your students who are studying to become a certified coder? BB: I tell a student that gaining a first coding credential is not the final step toward a career in healthcare, but actually the first step. There are many specialties and subspecialties and additional credentials that they might desire beyond basic coding and there will always be more to learn.
BCA: With the ICD-10 implementation set back until October 1, 2015, did that affect your business and or teaching methods? If so, can you tell us how? BB: Yes, and no. We were ready for ICD-10 from the start, so the delay has hindered us like many others who were ready to move. We specialize in diagnosis coding, so the delay perhaps did not hurt us, but it is frustrating because it means another year of lacking specific information on patients that we were ready to communicate through ICD-10 codes. As far as teaching, ICD-10 is something we incorporate in small doses to new students, but it really is its own stand-alone course. We teach standard and customized boot camps, as well as a basic course in anatomy and physiology picked specifically for the coding professional to be paired with these courses.
BCA: You have nationally approved certifications through AAPC and AHIMA for ICD-10 Trainer; is there a difference in the 2 certifications? If so, can you help us understand how each has helped you in your career? BB: Those two certifications are basically equal. The AHIMA one was offered first, so I pursued that one because AAPC had not unveiled their plan for trainers in the field at the time. If one specializes in diagnosis coding, as ionHealthcare does, it certainly helps to be an ICD-10 trainer as well.
BCA: What lead you to become a certified ICD-10 Trainer and Ambassador? BB: The fact that we specialize in risk adjustment that specifically involves diagnosis coding. I have always believed in educating myself so that I can help others learn, understand, and grow.
BCA: You are the CEO and Proprietor of ionhealthcare, LLC. What is your main focus and goal for the years ahead? BB: We hope to expand our services to health plans and other organizations in chart review for risk adjustment purposes, we also help them with their predictive modeling, and education in risk adjustment. We hope to expand our educational services in PMCC courses; affordable online CEU's for certified coders, and other courses. We have a very large volume of coders across the nation desiring to work for us, due to our good reputation. We hope that reputation will gain us even more clients so that we can build an even stronger presence in risk adjustment services.
BCA: Since your company offers a variety of products from Risk Adjustment to ICD-10-CM Readiness, how hard/easy would you say it is to keep your information current on the different topics? BB: The relationship between risk adjustment and ICD-10 is very easy. Risk adjustment involves diagnosis coding and this is complimentary to ICD-10. Risk adjustment itself however changes from plan to plan (Medicare HCC, HHS HCC, Medicaid CDPS, etc.), and these change yearly, so keeping on top of those requires more work.
BCA: With all the accomplishments you have achieved so far in your career, which has meant the most and why? BB: Educationally, one of my proudest certifications is my certificate in clinical bioethics, because I am very interested, and committed to ethical, safe healthcare delivery. Actively, I would say that starting my own company has been a proud accomplishment.
BCA: Is there anything else you would like to add? BB: Yes. One of the biggest threats to the coding industry is the increasing offshoring of coding work. This takes away jobs from companies like mine, as well as everyday coders who work here in the U.S. Other countries, like India for example, have a strong governmental push to gain business from the U.S. to help their own small businesses. Companies here can become interested in offshoring work because of pricing, but quality of that work is often not up to par. Also, HIPAA does not apply to other countries, so we are pouring hundreds of thousands of private health information data into outside countries with little to no protection. Coders and executives should carefully consider these options, being sure to weigh and monitor the risks.