How to Beat the Medical Coder Shortage

Recent years have brought rampant upheaval throughout the entire U.S. healthcare system–and especially in the medical coding industry. A recent statistic from the American Hospital Association showed that 18% of billing and coding positions remain unfilled due to a lack of qualified candidates. 

Shortages don’t stop at coding, however. The whole healthcare industry is suffering from hiring gaps of practitioners to physicians to pharmacists. Some of the reasons for these gaps include:

  • Sickness (COVID-19 and other ailments)
  • Veteran coders struggling with burnout
  • The Great Resignation
  • Not enough skilled and qualified coders coming into the profession
  • Hospitals lacking in-house coder education
  • Hospitals running too lean
  • Baby boomers 

The news isn’t great; the impact of the medical coder shortage is expected to get worse, before it gets better. The American Hospital Association projected that among healthcare white-collar administrative professionals, medical records, billing, and compliance are the fastest growing sectors at 13% by 2026, which could mean a larger hiring gap. Recent reports reveal “the global medical coding market is expected to grow from $14.33 billion in 2021 to $15.85 billion in 2022 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.61%. The medical coding market is expected to reach $23.73 billion in 2026 at a CAGR of 10.62%.” 

Healthcare leaders and executives need to act quickly to avoid the coding backlog that could result from lack of talent in the coding sector. These gaps can also lead to lack of process oversight, increased compliance risk, and an increase of risk of audits and fines from CMS. Hospitals and healthcare organizations stand to lose millions of dollars in unbilled charges if they don’t find a resolution to this.

The options available to healthcare organizations include:

  • Do less with more–which means spreading staff thin to cover the bases. This could lead to staff burnout and less productivity, as well as inadequate deliverables. 
  • Outsource to a company that has an overseas resources. This could immediately fill any gaps with qualified, professional staff without the budget expenditures necessary to have them in an office space at your organization. 

Outsourcing to a company that has overseas resources helps organizations recalibrate their medical coding productivity and elevate overall revenue cycle performance. Pena4 supports all healthcare settings, including acute care hospitals, critical access hospitals, long-term and skilled nursing facilities, ambulatory surgical centers, and medical practices and clinics. In many organizations, Pena4’s solutions can yield up to 60% in savings compared to hiring coding specialists in an onsite setting. 

Pena4’s solutions can also assist with:

  • Minimizing disruptions from lack of staff
  • Eliminate redundancies to capture added revenue
  • Around the clock coverage to avoid disruption and downtime


Let Pena4 help you create a customized coding solution for your organization to achieve operational goals and KPIs. Schedule a call with Pena4 today to see how they can help you.