December 4, 2012

Giving Thanks to the ICD-10 Moms

By

Thanksgiving is an emotional holiday for many folks. People travel hundreds or even thousands of miles to be with people they only see maybe once a year (and then sometimes rediscover why once a year is way too often). You know that at the first Thanksgiving with the pilgrims, there was one wise old Native-American mom or grandma who said, “Don’t feed them. They’ll never leave!”

Moms are so incredible. If you think about it, Thanksgiving is really all about our mothers. Mom is the one who had to get up at 5 a.m. to stuff bread crumbs up some dead bird’s backside. Mom is the one who coordinated the preparation of a dozen dishes that all had to approach completion at one precise moment when the meal was announced as “Ready! Come and get it!” Since this is Talk-Ten-Tuesday, technically I’m supposed to talk about ICD-10, though. So I want to dedicate this to all you moms who not only have to put all these crazy ICD-10 implementation pieces together, but also had to mount Herculean efforts to craft a dinner for the ages that took 18 hours to prepare and 12 minutes to eat (which, coincidentally, is the approximate length of halftime in a pro football game).

If I can compare the Oct. 1, 2014 ICD-10 implementation date to Thanksgiving, here are some good things that can happen for the mom who starts preparing early. The first thing she did for Thanksgiving was make everyone in the family aware of what’s for dinner – kind of like the healthcare manager mom who gets her provider “family” aware and educated early on (like right now) by saying “OK, here’s what ICD-10 is serving up.” Now, mom knows she’s got a dozen dishes, each important in its own right, and she needs to gather all the ingredients before she starts to cook. So mom performs an impact analysis, as it were, and decides what’s needed for each and every yummy dish, getting to the store early and getting what she needs before the mad last-minute rush begins.

Next, a “super administrator mom” figures out that she’ll need a team to help her with the main entrée, side casseroles, stuffing, mashed AND sweet potatoes, gravy and desserts. It’s the same thing for the healthcare organization. This mom enlists her niece to bake the insurance payer and business partner pies, cousin Joan to make the documentation and coding casseroles, aunt Sally to craft her special training gravy and even grandma, who has a key role because she’s the only one powerful enough to get the “doctors” out of their seats in front of the football game and over to the table to eat.

We haven’t even started cooking yet. But mom has prepared early by figuring out what we’re going to have for dinner and what ingredients we’ll need to prepare – and she has gathered an all-star team to make sure she has the help she needs to deliver the various dishes that all come together to make a successful meal.

What about the poor mom who waited until the last minute to try and pull all these Thanksgiving dinner pieces together? By the time she figured out what she needed, she was task-saturated and the stores were jammed and out of key ingredients. She pulled her team together too late to be effective – the mashed potatoes were undercooked, the gravy was ruined, the casseroles were burned – and in all the hubbub she even forgot the cranberry jelly. By the evening people were saying, “Wow. We didn’t know your mom drank so much” – especially when, after six glasses of wine, she looked at the turkey and said, “Here, kitty, kitty.”

When Oct. 1, 2014 rolls around, which mom do you want to be?

About the Author

Denny is the president of Complete Practice Resources, a healthcare education, consulting, and software company headquartered in Slidell, Louisiana. He formerly served as the CEO of a large, multi-specialty physician group, full service MSO. Denny has authored or co-authored numerous “common sense” practice management books and implementation manuals. He is an award winning, nationally known consultant, speaker, and educator bringing his expertise to making the complex “simple.” He currently serves on the editorial board of ICD10 Monitor.

Educated at the United States Air Force Academy, Denny had a distinguished career as an Air Force pilot and has a long history of commitment to excellence and dedication to his clients’ success.

Contact the Author

To comment on this article please go to

Denny Flint

Denny is the chief executive officer of Complete Practice Resources, a healthcare education, consulting, and software company headquartered in Slidell, Louisiana. He formerly served as the CEO of a large, multi-specialty physician group, full service MSO. Denny has authored or co-authored numerous “common sense” practice management books and implementation manuals. He is an award winning, nationally known consultant, speaker, and educator bringing his expertise to making the complex “simple.” He currently serves on the editorial board of ICD10 Monitor. Educated at the United States Air Force Academy, Denny had a distinguished career as an Air Force pilot and has a long history of commitment to excellence and dedication to his clients’ success.