November 11, 2013

AHIMA’s Kennedy Confident About ICD-10 Transition

By
EDITOR’S NOTE:

This is the first in a continuing series of profiles of healthcare thought leaders. Angela Kennedy, EdD, MBA, MED, RHIA, CPHQ, president/chair, AHIMA Board of Directors. Kennedy is also chair of the health informatics and information management department at Louisiana Tech University.  She served two terms as president of the Louisiana HIMA.  She most recently served as chair of the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).  In addition, Kennedy has served on the AHIMA Board of Directors and in 2007 chaired its business and audit team.

I10M:End-to-end testing is now in the public eye as a result of HealthCare.gov. What is AHIMA’s position on end-to-end testing?

 

I10M: How would you characterize the state of the industry’s readiness for ICD-10?
AK:

We’re hearing from our members and seeing several pieces of data that suggests stakeholders are committed to being ready for the Oct. 1, 2014, compliance date. For example, the American Hospital Association recently released a survey that showed 94 percent of respondents – almost all – felt confident they would meet the deadline. In addition, a recent survey by Blue Cross Blue Shield Association of member plans found that all are actively engaged in ICD-10 projects – including outreach to providers to assist them with preparing – and expect to be ready by the deadline. We also see clearinghouses are announcing their readiness to handle the new claims and begin testing at a steady rate.

At AHIMA’s recent Annual Convention & Exhibit, we reached out to our 52 Component State Associations and asked them to work with the physician community in their areas to provide implementation assistance.  As we have for many years, AHIMA will continue providing support and guidance to providers so they can reap the benefits of this more modern, more robust coding system.

ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS implementation is critical to the healthcare industry and is an essential component of national healthcare initiatives because the goals cannot be achieved without up-to-date, detailed healthcare data.

Many providers, payers and other key stakeholders throughout the healthcare system have invested considerably. AHIMA’s focus will remain on helping the industry meet the deadline and begin receiving the benefits.

I10M: What are your members struggling with the most as they are in the process of implementing ICD-10?
AK: Rather than struggling, our members are taking on the challenge of leading their organizations as they prepare for this transition.

ICD-10 is an opportunity for HIM professionals to demonstrate why implementation must happen now and why all parties in the organization should be engaged and work together to make this happen. Our members are seizing this opportunity to show their value and the critical role they play in delivering quality healthcare.

I10M: How will the reported loss of seasoned coders impact readiness?
AK: Anecdotally, I and others within AHIMA have talked to coders who have put off their retirement in order to be a part of this important transformation. While coders will be asked to do more during the transition time when there are needs for dual coding, HIM professionals are rising to this challenge rather than stepping away from it.
AK: HIM professionals have long known and understood how important preparing and testing is to the success of ICD-10 implementation.

AHIMA is here to help those from hospital administrators to physicians working in small private practices to providers in larger organizations and clinics continue to prepare for implementation. There are terrific resources on AHIMA’s website,www.ahima.org.

I10M: What keeps you up at night when you think about Oct. 1, 2014?
AK:

I’m up with excitement about what our healthcare system will be able to do with more robust data and how we’ll better be able to serve patients. I’m also excited by the opportunities my fellow HIM professionals and I have had to put these important changes into place.

Now is not the time for uncertainty. The industry is ready to move forward, and AHIMA is ready to help.

 

Chuck Buck

Chuck Buck is the publisher of ICD10monitor and is the executive producer and program host of Talk Ten Tuesdays.