In my March 7, 2012, blog post, “What to do Regardless. 5 ICD-10 Steps to Continue.”, I suggested a one-year delay for ICD-10 would give providers the right amount of time to prepare, train and test. Perhaps Secretary Sebelius read my blog. Or perhaps not. Either way, a one year delay is the best solution for our entire industry; and TrustHCS strongly supports this recommendation.
So as you sit through a 30-day rain delay (comment period), go ahead and re-adjust your ICD-10 schedule and race-day strategy, with a 2014 checkered flag in mind. Here are some suggestions.
If your organization hasn’t started the race towards ICD-10, the one-year delay is an answer to prayer. The additional 12 months gives you time to catch up and get your engines started. If your organization is still a rookie, here are three critical steps to take right now.
- Establish a multi-disciplinary committee.
- Create an organization-wide inventory of all software applications that house an ICD-9 code. Ask if systems will be ready for ICD-10 and when.
- Conduct an overall ICD-10 readiness assessment of your entire organization.
Back of the Pack
Perhaps you started the race but find yourself back in the pack. The additional year provides you with much-needed breathing room and reduces your stress in 2012. Use the extra time to:
- Fine-tune your ICD-10 plan and budget.
- Begin a CDI program if you don’t already have one; or integrate the one you have into your ICD-10 team.
- Meet with your payers and vendors to discuss dates for system readiness and testing.
- Plan and budget for a period of parallel coding in ICD-9 and ICD-10 to assess documentation or coding deficiencies and how they will impact your cash flow.
On the Lead Lap
Congratulations. You’ve made significant strides toward ICD-10 and are well-positioned to take the lead. Here are a few ways to guarantee a smooth transition.
- Continue to test systems and payor transactions.
- Extend your CDI and training efforts; particularly with physicians.
- Implement new technologies like computer-assisted-coding (CAC) to offset expected drops in coder productivity.
- Review and update all your documentation forms and templates; especially those within your EHR to ensure your clinicians capture the specificity needed for ICD-10.
All great race teams experience delays. Rain, crashes and time-outs are common. So do what the best racers do; keep your engine warm, put on fresh tires, take on more fuel, and be ready when the green flag drops.
Be sure to introduce yourself to us at next week’s AHIMA ICD-10 Summit. We are an official sponsor and will be moderating a general session on Monday, “Three Paths to Preparedness: Providers, Payers and Vendors Speak Out on ICD-10”.