Guest post from Torrey Barnhouse, CEO of TrustHCS providing 5 ICD-10 steps that can deliver collateral benefit for ICD-9
While at HIMSS 2012, TrustHCS had the honor of sponsoring an executive roundtable on ICD-10. During the roundtable, speakers discussed five ICD-10 projects that should be continued, full steam ahead, despite the delay. It’s a good list and worth sharing.
In general, the panel’s advice was to identify ICD-10 tasks that have collateral benefit for ICD-9 coding. These are the tasks that should be continued until such time as HHS makes another announcement regarding their plans, intentions and deadlines.
1. Vendor and Payer Assessments
Continue checking-in with vendors and payers to see when systems will be ready for testing. Know what the ICD-10 upgrade will cost your organization, if anything. And if your vendor simply can’t accommodate, start evaluating new systems to replace them. Conduct ICD-10 testing with your payers whenever and wherever possible to help reduce backlogs and denials upon go live.
2. Clinical Documentation Improvement
Any improvement in clinical documentation specificity and granularity will help support better, higher quality coding. And reduce time wasted querying physicians. Coders can only code what is documented. This same core principle applies in ICD-10. CDI programs must be continued regardless of a delay.
3. Coder Bio Medical Training
While educating coders in the finer nuances of ICD-10 coding can be postponed, strengthening their knowledge of the basics can’t. Many coders graduated from programs ten, fifteen, even twenty years ago. Medical science and our knowledge of anatomy, physiology and disease processes has grown exponentially. Now’s the time to make sure your coders are brilliant at the basics. Anatomy and physiology training should continue to be conducted: online, through a service provider or at a local community college.
4. Computer Assisted Coding (CAC) Technology
Coder productivity is predicted to drop by 50% during the implementation of ICD-10. And perhaps remain 10-20% below normal output for ICD-9 coding. CAC systems help offset this productivity loss by electronically “reading” the record and suggesting codes to the human coder. While CAC systems don’t replace coders, they do make them more productive and efficient. The delay provides more time for organizations to evaluate and implement this technology.
5. Assess and Refine Your Work Plan
Conduct a methodical step-by-step review of your initial plan. This process will identify which tasks can be pushed out and which cannot. The review will also uncover other tasks that have “collateral benefit” for ICD-9. For each task in your work plan, ask yourself, “does the delay impact this task” or “does the delay not impact this task”.
Industry experts are already predicting the cost of an ICD-10 delay. Other experts are predicting law suits by providers to help recoup monies already spent. This expert simply suggests that you stay the course and keep working toward ICD-10 preparedness. We will all have to get there eventually. Better to be early than late on this one!
About Torrey Barnhouse:
Torrey Barnhouse is a Founder and President of TrustHCS. He brings over 20 years of operational, sales, marketing and executive management expertise to the role. Prior to TrustHCS, Torrey was the VP / General Manager of Healthcare Consulting Services for HealthPort where he was responsible for the day-to-day operations and financial outcomes of the division.
Trust Healthcare Consulting Services (TrustHCS) provides health information management and revenue cycle consultancy services to hospital and physician practice clients throughout the US. TrustHCS supports healthcare providers in the management and protection of revenue integrity through affordable, on-demand remote coding, coding compliance, audit, cancer registry, ICD-10 transition and educational services.