Countdown to ICD-10: Are you preparing to succeed or preparing to fail?

July 15, 2014

If you’ve ever spent any time with the HIMSS ICD-10 PlayBook, you know it’s full of great resources—such as the ICD-10 Financial Risk Calculator and the ICD-10 Cost Prediction Model—to help provider organizations of all sizes prepare for the transition to the new code set.

One of the most recent additions is Countdown to ICD-10. As the white paper points out, right now organizations are either preparing to succeed by acting decisively now to minimize disruptions to their revenue streams and operations after go-live, or preparing to fail through their own inaction or inadequate efforts.

Too many providers have taken the recent rollback of the mandated implementation date as an excuse to become complacent and put off, slow down or delay their ICD-10 preparations. For them, Countdown to ICD-10 should serve as a wakeup call.

As I write this, the new proposed go-live date is less than 15 months away. As the paper points out, the CMS timeline recommends that provider organizations complete their initial planning and communications efforts a minimum of 18 months before implementation deadline. After that, providers still need to monitor vendor and payer preparations, begin high-level ICD-10 training for users and start internal and external testing of ICD-10-related systems.

AHIMA and WEDI timelines? They’re even more aggressive.

If you’re behind, you shouldn’t feel hopeless—you should get moving! Yes, it would have been ideal to follow the timeline’s recommendations. But even now, the sooner you start, the more prepared you’ll be on the go-live date—and the more prepared you are, the less you’ll face disruption to your revenue, cash flow and staff productivity.

Some essential preparations will begin benefiting your organization well before ICD-10 goes live. For example, your physicians will need to produce more detailed clinical documentation to support the increased specificity of the ICD-10 codes. By making that change now, you’ll improve the quality of your patients’ health records—and you may even reduce denials under ICD-9, because your coders won’t have to use as many unspecified codes, which typically draw greater scrutiny from payers.

Even if you’ve been diligent all along and the deadline extension put you ahead of the game, use the extra time wisely by conducting additional testing with your payers and sharpening your staff’s coding skills so they’re even more prepared.

In the white paper, you will find sections covering a range of topics. “Where ICD-10 Will Impact Your Organization” covers systems from accounting to utilization management. “Where to Begin Preparations” offers details on education and communications, mapping, clinical documentation improvement, coder training and improvement, productivity and testing. “Looking Ahead” has some excellent suggestions on the next steps to take and available resources.

Countdown to ICD-10 is just one of the great resources you’ll find in the ICD-10 PlayBook. Visit it often in your own preparations for success.

Ms. Gomez brings more than 23 years of healthcare industry experience to her role at ZirMed where she leads the company’s regulatory strategy efforts, presently focusing on ICD-10 readiness initiatives and supporting solutions and helping clients prepare for ICD-10.

Countdown to ICD-10: Are you preparing to succeed or preparing to fail?

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