Welcome to Review of Optometrys new, monthly column dedicated to medical coding. Coding Abstract will be unique and unlike any other offering. Heres why:


Clinical Care + Coding

First and foremost, this column will be closely tied to the disease state featured in that months issue. Our profession has come a long way in developing and providing a high level of care to our patients. That said, we often dont understand the nuances of appropriate medical coding so as to translate this care effectively into proper reimbursement.

This column will answer that need. In each issue of the magazine, this column will complement a clinical feature article by focusing on appropriate coding for that particular disease state.

So, when you finish reading the issue, youll know how to properly diagnose, treat and code the condition.


The Team Approach

Second, rather than relying on a single authors opinion, weve put together a team that knows coding inside and out. The members of our team represent all corners of the country. Well follow the highest level of peer-review standards in our coding articles to deliver a consensus of reliable, factual, referenced information.

Let me introduce the rest of our team:

David Mills, O.D., M.B.A., of Providence, R.I., is an assistant professor of ophthalmic business and management policy at New England College of Optometry. Dr. Mills also serves on the Rhode Island Board of Examiners in Optometry.

D.C. Dean, O.D., is in a multi-doctor medical billing specialty private practice in Albuquerque, N.M. Dr. Dean is a frequent lecturer, author and consultant on medical billing for optometric practices.

Laurie Sorrenson, O.D., is in a group practice in Austin, Texas, and is also the practice management course master at the University of Houston College of Optometry. Dr. Sorrenson lectures extensively on practice management and clinical topics.

Rebecca Wartman, O.D., is in private practice in Asheville, N.C., and is a past president of the North Carolina State Optometric Society (NCSOS). Dr. Wartman currently chairs the NCSOS Third Party Committee.


Practical, Proper Coding

Finally, well show you how to code better. Many myths, opinions and bits of hearsay influence doctors methods of medical coding. I often hear people applying methods that they have heard second-, third- and fourth-hand, without actually knowing whats appropriate for where they practice. This is unsettling, unsafe and unnecessary.

Our goal is to show you how to code properly and mitigate any risk you might face. You work hard to provide the highest standard of care. This column will complement your efforts by accurately translating the clinical standard of care into language that your third-party carriers understand and will pay for.

Take note: We will not present strategies for coding just for the sake of higher reimbursement. We will simply and factually present proper coding standards for the standard of care. However, many O.D.s dont code appropriately for the care they currently provide, so that may indeed result in higher reimbursements and higher income.

Our objective is pure and simple: to teach you how to get properly reimbursed for the high level of care you provide to your patients, while minimizing your risk. We look forward to your comments and criticisms as we move forward with this exciting column.

Next month: Dry Eye

Dr. Rumpakis is the clinical coding editor of Coding Abstract. He is the president of Practice Resource Management, Inc., a consulting firm in Lake Oswego, Ore., and is a frequent lecturer on medical coding, management, and clinical care.

Vol. No: 145:01Issue: 1/15/2008