The HRS Story

Rooted in the beginnings of code-based reimbursement and driven by an entrepreneurial spirit, HRS is the embodiment of its slogan—Coding Elevated. HRS has participated as coding has evolved from a data-driven exercise to a revenue-generating necessity.

In 1978, former HIM director Wendy Coplan was the associate director of the Maryland Resource Center (MRC). The MRC provided data to Maryland’s Health Services Cost Review Commission, which set rates for all payers in the state. The commission’s method for setting those rates utilized a relatively new pricing methodology—Diagnosis Related Groups (DRGs). Wendy’s experience working with data that fed prospective payment systems led her to be chosen as an ICD-9 instructor in 1979, the same year that ICD-9 was adopted as the standard for morbidity and mortality in the United States.

In the midst of these experiences, Wendy saw how healthcare reimbursement was changing. Costs were rising rapidly, and payers were pushing back against medical inflation. Grouping technologies were keeping Maryland’s costs in check, and it wouldn’t be long before regional and national payers adopted prospective payment systems to control costs. The days of providers getting paid based on charges were numbered, and that meant coding would become more important, and more complicated. Coding was moving from the basement to the boardroom, and a higher level of knowledge and expertise would be needed.

Taking a cue from her father, who had started his own business, Wendy opened HRS in 1979. The original HRS service focused on helping hospitals reduce their extensive coding backlogs. Tens of thousands of uncoded medical records at a given hospital had become the basis for reimbursement, and hospital needed a team of coders to code them all. As one HIM director told another about her service, HRS grew steadily, expanding from Maryland, Virginia and Delaware, into New York and elsewhere.

In 1987, the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) Convention came to Baltimore, HRS’s home base, and Wendy decided to exhibit at the show. HRS was exposed to a national audience and began experiencing increasing demand not only for coding services, but also for their auditing and consulting services. HRS hasn’t missed an AHIMA Convention since, except for the year disaster struck the Coplan family.

Wendy’s husband died suddenly, leaving her widowed with two young daughters. Wendy determined that family must come before growth. In a time when HRS could have been expanding rapidly, she deliberately kept the company small so she could balance the needs of her girls with the needs of HRS clients.

Knowing personally the struggles of single, working mothers, Wendy regularly donated to AHIMA merit scholarships, hoping to help women in situations similar to her own. In 2009, in honor of HRS’s 30th anniversary, Wendy endowed an AHIMA Foundation scholarship in her name for single parents.

Wendy’s way of balancing business and family would have an enduring effect on the culture of HRS. The company stayed in business by behaving small. They provided, and continue to provide, personal attention and service to clients. Wendy and other HRS professionals are eminently approachable; they are flexible and can change course quickly based on clients’ needs. Perhaps most importantly, HRS strenuously avoids the “cookie cutter” approach to client challenges. No one provider is the same, so every HRS solution is unique to the client.

Today, HRS is a national HIM consulting and outsourcing company, specializing in coding integrity, revenue cycle and workflow process improvement, and ICD-10 implementation and training. Its clients range from large urban multi-facility healthcare organizations and academic medical centers to smaller community and rural hospitals.

HRS is again poised to help the healthcare industry in an uncertain time. As hospitals, group practices and payers prepare for ICD-10, HRS’s 30-plus years of experience provide an unmatched historical perspective and an understanding of how organizations can be ready for ICD-10 by the October 2015 implementation deadline.

After more than 30 years in business, HRS has truly elevated the practice, and the results, of coding. What can HRS do for you?