Omega healthcare to hire 1,000 medical coders


The company with a 9000 strong workforce, expects to see a 30 per cent increase in its revenues accompanied by a substantial increase in its staff strength by the end of the FY16.

Omega Healthcare plans to hire and train over 1,000 medical coders in the next quarter. The company currently employs around 2,500 medical coders.

The healthcare BPO sector —which Omega Healthcare deals in – has seen a surge in business of late. This is because the US Healthcare System has begun the much-awaited transition from the ICD-9 to an advanced ICD-10 coding system. The new system is a part of the International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, under The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Omega Healthcare, with a 9000 strong workforce, expects to see a 30 per cent increase in its revenues accompanied by a substantial increase in its staff strength by the end of the FY16.

ObamaCare, the Act, which became a Law five years ago, provided access to insurance protection to a significantly higher number of US citizens. The Law has now made it mandatory to adopt ICD-10, from 1 October, 2015. ICD-10 will effectively address the limitations of ICD-9, the older coding system.

The latter, which is 30 years old, had outdated terms, besides being inconsistent with the current medical practices in the US. ICD-10 will have over 120,000 available codes, with flexibility to add new ones in comparison to the older system that had only 16,000 codes, with limited space for any addition.

Gopi Natarajan, co-founder and CEO, Omega Healthcare, says, “It is predicted that the adoption of this new coding standard will reduce a coder’s workload by half. However, the coders will need to be well trained before being deployed on the assignment. This has led to an increase in demand coupled with tremendous growth opportunities for skilled and certified coders.”

At present, India has more than 10,000-odd medical coders, of which Omega Healthcare employs one-fourth, across its three facilities — Bengaluru, Chennai and Trichy.

For the uninitiated, medical coding is the transformation of healthcare diagnoses, procedures, medical services and equipment into universal medical alphanumeric codes. The diagnoses and procedure codes are taken from medical record documentation, such as transcription of physicians’ notes, laboratories and radiological results. Medical coding professionals help ensure the codes are applied correctly during the medical billing process, which includes abstracting of information from documentation, assigning of appropriate codes, and creation of a claim to be paid by insurance carriers.

Last year, Omega Healthcare launched the Omega Medical Coding Academy (OMCA), which offers world-class training on medical coding to fresh life-science graduates. Till date, it has trained over 1000 certified medical coders, most of whom have been absorbed by Omega Healthcare.

The US Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS) predicts stable employment outlook for medical billing and coding specialists up to the year 2022. Currently, there is a great opportunity for coding specialists to pursue a career in healthcare BPOs.

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