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Reasons why most skilled nursing settings need coding assistance are abundantly clear. Even the most experienced MDS Coordinator or a staff member who has become coding certified in the last year may not understand the minutiae of the code and the magnitude of coding to reimbursement and survey outcomes. Here’s a short list of potential errors to consider:

  1. Coding diagnoses as acute and not capturing the seventh character.
  2. Admitting and primary diagnosis codes not reflecting the reason for skilled nursing care.
  3. Putting diagnosis codes on UB-04s that haven’t been undated to current conditions or current skilled services being provided
  4. There are 80,000 codes on purpose! ICD-10 was expanded for specificity.
  5. Utilizing unspecified codes because clinical staff hasn’t reviewed to be more specific
  6. Forgetting to re-sequence codes on readmission
  7. Not reviewing, capturing and updating codes after Interdisciplinary Team (IDT) meetings
  8. Skipping physician treatment documentation when coding

Coding assistance is a click away through the HCCS SNF/SWB Hotline. Beginning October 1, Coders and MDS Coordinators will know assistance is available. To submit a question to the Coding Experts, simply access at

For the per question rate of $ 50.00, HCCS provides certified coders seven days a week for a quick response. If you have been asking for help, now you demand it with experienced coders having your back!

Don’t you have enough things to worry about without fretting about coding?


Kerry Dunning

Written by Kerry Dunning

For over 30 years, I have specialized in post-acute consulting services, with a specialty in Skilled Nursing (SNF, SNU, PPS and CAH swing beds) including Medicare compliance audits, MDS training, providing mock surveys, 5 Star training, and other Quality Measure improvement.

Healthcare Coding & Consulting Services

(a.k.a. HCCS)

This blog is an extension of our uncompromising values and dedication to our clients, staff, and the HIM industry as a whole.


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