Risk Adjustment

COVID-19 Coding Operations Update

As COVID-19 has shut down the in-person operations of businesses across the globe, the pressure is on for risk adjustment vendors to remain stable and shift their coding operations to a work-from-home setting. While many vendors are not set up in such a way to easily make this transition, Episource has been able to quickly and seamlessly migrate our global teams to work from home with no impact to quality or deliverables.

 

Timeline & Outcomes

 

On March 23rd, local governments in the three cities where Episource’s coding operations are located announced a 21-day lockdown, effective March 25th. Over the next 48 hours, IT, Administrative, and Operations teams worked tirelessly to convert 700+ coders to work from home to ensure the continued delivery of existing projects.

The flexibility and scalability of Episource’s robust coding solution comes from our use of employees rather than contractors. As of April 15th, we have enabled 751 coders to work from home, completing 19,079 charts daily and more than 275,000 charts since the beginning of the March 23rd work-from-home order.

 

In order to support the transition to a remote workforce and planning for contingencies, we have taken the following steps:

 

  • Administered a plan to ensure all home-based coders maintain compliance standards with our secure work environment.
  • Established a 24-hour helpline for remote coders to address technical issues.
  • Established a process for all Team Leads and Managers to maintain constant contact with coders to support and monitor their work.
  • Implemented a solution to provide quality control feedback and respond to clarifications via intranet and secure modes of communication.
  • Initiated HR-led virtual engagement programs to help coders stay connected, including stress management support and coping with home confinement.

 

Data & Security Controls

 

Throughout this migration, Episource continues to maintain the same strict remote security and data controls:

  • Employees provided with Episource-hardened systems, including current operating system security updates and anti-malware software. This is in addition to security measures, such as inactive screen lock and system shutdown, screenshots disabled, program install/uninstall restricted, etc.
  • All employees continue to receive HIPAA, FWA, and General Compliance awareness to handle PHI securely and maintain confidentiality.
  • All employees have signed NDA & HIPAA confidentiality agreements.
  • All systems are hardened, i.e. restricted internet via cloud-based firewall, USB, encrypted and locked hard drives, blocking local storage of any data.
  • Workflow tool requires multi-factor authentication (MFA) to authenticate, access, and code charts, i.e. unique credentials and OTP via email that can only be accessed via Episource-provided systems.
  • All remote system logs are managed and monitored via a cloud-based firewall (endpoint installed on all systems) for remote users.
  • Hardened Episource systems have endpoint firewalls to restrict internet access, i.e. healthcare and client sites for performing essential duties.
  • All data in transit and at rest is encrypted. No data will be downloaded/stored to local systems.

 

Next Steps

 

In the event that current guidelines are extended, Episource has secured 800 additional workstations should it become necessary to bring on more at-home coders. While a great deal of uncertainty remains as to when workers across the globe will be able to return to “business as usual,” Episource is uniquely positioned to handle the coding volume many other vendors may struggle with as a result of COVID-19.

Our large team of coders makes it very easy for us to take on new coding projects with short notice—as soon as a new client is able to provide us with charts, we are immediately able to begin coding. Interested in working with us? Contact us today.

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