TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY
Special to the Times-Tribune
Dr. Matthew Christopher, of Christopher Chiropractic in Williamsburg, was recently recognized as a Certified Chiropractic Professional Coder by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC).
Coding professionals play a part in the medical billing process. When a patient is seen by a health care provider, a coder is the person that assigns a code to each diagnosis made by the provider and another code for any procedures or exams performed during that office visit. These codes are the primary way doctors’ offices and hospitals communicate with insurance companies about a patient’s condition and treatments. Christopher, who serves as the practice’s compliance officer, says that correct coding is essential to avoid billing insurance companies improperly, but in some cases it also ensures that an inaccurate diagnosis code does not adversely affect the cost of a patient’s health insurance in the future.
According to the AAPC’s website, the organization was founded in 1988 to elevate the standards of medical coding by providing training, certification, ongoing education, networking and job opportunities. Currently, the AAPC reports a membership base of 116,000 individuals worldwide, of which more than 83,000 are certified. The association’s medical coding certifications are nationally recognized by employers, physician societies and government organizations such as the Center for Medicare and Medicaid.
Regarding the accomplishment, Christopher said, “We live in an age when officials say that prosecuting providers who abuse the insurance system is one of the best investments we can make as a country. This is because for every dollar our government spends investigating health care fraud and abuse, the American taxpayers get seven dollars back from providers who are not playing by the rules. This AAPC certification process is one component of Christopher Chiropractic’s ongoing efforts to ensure that our coding, billing and compliance standards are as stringent as our standards for patient care, but I would not say that our attention to compliance makes us unique. We are part of a much bigger movement of chiropractors and medical professionals across the nation who are working to create a culture of compliance that will help us to provide better patient care for years to come without bankrupting the American health care system in the process.”