Medical Coding From Home?
If employed and telecommuting from home, it requires a boss who knows how to manage telecommuting employees
effectively. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and can present unexpected challenges.
Medical Coding and Telecommuting from Home
Only trusted employees with a strong background may be permitted to work from home. With the right strategies
and security measures in place the company benefits and so does the employee. However, they expect that the
employee taking home their work is experienced in all necessary procedures and has good knowledge of HIPAA rules
and regulations, and other applicable laws.
As Diana Ennen of Virtual Word Publishing has put it so
"Learn how the Pros have done it to help avoid
Many facilities, and more importantly HIPAA, do not oppose medical
coding and billing tasks done from a home office setting, if it is properly set up for this specific
What About HIPAA Rules?
As long as certain safeguards are in place, and there is a data backup plan, disaster recovery
plan, and emergency mode operation plan, HIPAA has no objections to medical coding staff working from
home. However, HIPAA requires the same level of privacy protection and theft security as in any other facility;
this includes the patient's health records.
Ever changing and new federal laws, such as HIPAA, and those regarding electronic
claims submission make it a bit more difficult to take medical billing work home. However, many have
overcome these unique challenges as they arise, and are following their dream working in a career they absolutely
CMS and OIG
CMS (previously HCFA) and the Office of Inspector General (OIG) are also constantly concerned about compliance
issues with medical coders and billers that work from home. Very strict guidelines should be hammered out before
health care providers ever allow employees, or hired independent contractors take patient sensitive information
from their medical practice. Ensure the confidentiality (who can see the information), and integrity (record is not
be altered in any way) of the information at ALL times.
Implementing Security Rules
Medical coders working from home must take great care when taking protected health information (PHI) out of the
physician's office. Taking home patients protected health information requires solid training and understanding of
potential security issues, and knowing what information is protected. No one else, except those authorized, is
allowed to see, read, discuss, copy, or intercept the medical records while being transported to, from, and back to
the medical office, and being processed in the home office.
HIPAA Security Presentation to American Hospital Association
Protecting Personal Information
Understanding uses and disclosures of protected health information is key to working from home. Information that
- Patient name
- Diagnosis and history
- Procedures performed
- Medications prescribed
Therefore, when a person carries home any part of a patient's record, these documents must be protected! This
includes not only the above information, but also any other data collected for the completion of health insurance
claim forms, such as additional patient information, copies of insurance cards, and superbills (encounter
To fully comply with HIPAA, all medical coding and billing professionals with their own business need a Business
Associates Agreement. Also, they must be compliant with the new HITECH Act and understand the
HIPAA Administrative Simplification Security Rule, which falls under the Administrative Safeguard Standard
(Information Access Management).
Oh... and remember: While there will be tasks that are challenging and
rewarding, there always are some that are boring and tedious. If you work from home alone (in your own home office
or business), guess who has to also do the boring and tedious tasks?