February 17, 2014

Resolutions for 2014

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As we go through 2014, every month has a number of holidays, each of which applies to at least some of us. So it occurred to me that I could use holidays as inspiration for articles leading up to the greatest secular holiday of the year: Oct. 2, 2014! The way I see it, we all will be celebrating starting the day after ICD-10 goes into effect.

I’m ignoring the fact that it probably won’t be right until sometime in 2015, but hey, the day after it’s official simply must provide some cause for celebration, don’t you think?

January has the Western New Year on Jan. 1 and the Chinese New Year on Jan. 31. And a great tradition many of us practice around this time is the making of resolutions. Officially, they are promises we make to ourselves to do something differently in the next 12 months:

  1.  I’m going to lose weight.
  2. I’m going to be more tolerant.
  3. I’m going to show my love for my spouse/partner/significant other.
  4. I’m going to buy an electric car.
  5. I’m going to cut animal fat from my diet.
  6. Etc.

But resolutions have a way of fighting our best intentions, and in December we are thinking:

  1. I gained weight. I must resolve to lose it in 2015.
  2. I still hate my cousin Bruno. I must be more tolerant in 2015.
  3. I mean, I love my spouse, but I guess I didn’t show it much. I’ll need to do that in 2015.
  4. Have you seen the prices on electric cars? Maybe next year…
  5. I cut out ALL animal fat except beef, pork, chicken, turkey, and seafood. No more veal and lamb for me.
  6. Etc.

The whole “resolution cycle” (not to be confused with my Harley) consists of:

  1. Make a pledge.
  2. Fail at it.
  3. Promise to make a new pledge.

And that brings us – more or less – to ICD-10 preparations. Oh yes, a good number of you are thinking, quite smugly, that all of your preparations are good, maybe even complete, and life is perfect. Guess what: it isn’t. No matter what you’ve done to prepare, you aren’t ever really prepared. That’s why I had to qualify Oct. 2 as a holiday. Yes, the celebrations can commence that day, but we all probably need to think of it as a working holiday – we’ll be working on that day and our ICD-10 systems probably won’t.

Am I arguing against making resolutions? No. Am I suggesting that no one will be ready for ICD-10? No (well, maybe). But that just means we have three things we must do over the next nine months:

Step 1: Do the best we possibly can to be ready for ICD-10.

Step 2: Check the results. If they are adverse, go to Step 3. Otherwise, go to Step 4.

Step 3: Go to Step 1.

Step 4: Celebrate in whatever manner your traditions dictate.

Eventually, you’ll come to an iteration where Step 3 no longer is required, and that’s when you’ll be done. Just don’t expect it before Oct. 1.

About the Author

Billy K. Richburg, M.S., FHFMA is HFMA-Certified in Accounting and Finance, Patient Accounting and Managed Care. Bill graduated from the U. of Alaska, Anchorage and earned his M.S. in Health Care Administration from Trinity University, San Antonio, TX. Over a career spanning more than 40 years, Bill has held positions including CEO, COO, CFO, and CIO in hospitals ranging from 75 beds to over 300 beds, and in home health agencies, DME stores, and a home infusion company. Bill is a Board Member of the Lone Star Chapter, HFMA, and is Director of Government Programs for the Revenue Cycle Technologies business segment of MedAssets, Inc. His office is in Plano, Texas.

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Billy Richburg, M.S., FHFMA

Billy K. Richburg, MS, FHFMA is HFMA-Certified in Accounting and Finance, Patient Accounting and Managed Care. Bill graduated from the University of Alaska, Anchorage and earned his MS in Health Care Administration from Trinity University, San Antonio, Tex. Over a career spanning more than 40 years, Bill has held positions including CEO, COO, CFO, and CIO in hospitals ranging from 75 beds to over 300 beds, and in home health agencies, DME stores, and a home infusion company. Bill is a Board Member of the Lone Star Chapter, HFMA, and is Senior Director of Government Programs for the Revenue Cycle Technologies business segment of MedAssets, Inc. His office is in Plano, Texas.