Many across healthcare are continuing to move forward with preparations even despite legislative efforts to delay ICD-10. It’s unfortunate that H.R. 2126, has been introduced, as it doesn’t really represent the majority of our healthcare industry, nor does it recognize the many disease management processes that the new code set will be able to capture.

 

As we’ve talked about over and over again during the past several years, ICD-10 is the right move for our nation and right for many patients, families, and yes, even providers. The code set allows for greater quality of data and information to help identify, prevent, treat, and even possibly cure chronic diseases and conditions across a broad range of body systems. Most believe that this bill is a last-ditch effort to appease those who continue to procrastinate and delay.

One could say that this bill is ill-advised, ill-informed and out of touch with healthcare today, as we all know that improvement and progress is part of what ICD-10 brings to the table. Through education on the ICD-10 code set, I can proudly say that this is the future!

Now of course, within the coding and health information management (HIM) communities, there is very strong support for ICD-10. I was recently educating some clinical documentation improvement (CDI) staff on ICD-10 documentation and there was strong support of the code set in this professional group as well. They get it; they see it! It’s about the understanding and knowledge of the many benefits that ICD-10 brings to our healthcare industry, which is huge.

As organizations work in the final months before the implementation date, there is increased awareness and attention regarding the aspects and components of readiness to ensure a successful transition. That includes ensuring that education and training is being completed on time, and also ensuring that coding backlogs are brought down as low as possible in the final few months (and then during the initial four to five months from October 2015 into February 2016).

Lining up additional resources needs to be done to help with maintaining healthy levels of coding operations to keep the data and financial flow moving. Coding and HIM vendors must be engaged and offering strong support in these areas. Make sure that your physician queries are updated with the key language necessary to assist in the capture of the specifics of diseases and conditions to accurately reflect patient severity of illness and risk of mortality – this is another area in which you can ensure compliance.    

Organizations such as the California Health Information Association, AHIMA, HFMA, AHA, AAPC, and others are well-supplied with tools and resources to aid, support, and assist the healthcare industry. Many of these are readily available at a minimum to no cost, not to mention the wealth of help that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has in place for providers. CMS has done a great job of communicating and providing many tools and resources at no cost to the healthcare industry, especially physician practices. You really can’t deny that all of the information, guidance, resources, tools, and help you need is available; one just needs to get out of that denial mode and mentality and move forward.

During the past month alone, I’ve had discussions with healthcare vendor/suppliers, coding and HIM professionals, CDI staff, and even physicians – and they all truly believe in the code set improvements. So the order of the day is to NOT support another ICD-10 delay. I encourage the healthcare community, industry stakeholders, and legislators to reach out to their physician providers in particular to engage and support them. Please continue to complete your preparations and readiness for ICD-10! Let’s all make it happen! 

Gloryanne Bryant, RHIA, CDIP, CCS, CCDS, AHIMA-Approved ICD-10-CM/PCS Trainer

Gloryanne is a coding and HIM professional with 35 years of experience. She is the past president of the California Health Information Association. Gloryanne is a member of the ICD10monitor editor board and is a popular guest on Talk Ten Tuesdays.

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