Keep on plugging on ICD-10
Keep on plugging on ICD-10
Delay is only temporary
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has delayed the implementation of the ICD-10 procedure and diagnostic coding set, but that doesn't mean that hospitals can forget about preparing for the conversion to the new system, says Deborah Hale, CCS, CCDS, president and chief executive officer of Administrative Consultant Service, a healthcare consulting firm based in Shawnee, OK. "If hospitals think they're off the hook and drop their preparations, they're going to have problems in the future. If hospitals haven't converted to the ICD-10 system by the time implementation takes place, they will have no way to bill for their services," she adds.
HHS announced in February that is was delaying the Oct. 1, 2013 implementation of ICD-10 because of concerns from the physician community about the administrative burden the conversion puts on them. The agency has says it will announce a new date for implementation some time in the future.
"Hospitals have already spent millions getting ready because HHS said there would be no delays and many large health systems are moving ahead as though the date is firm. I recommend that case managers continue to learn about the new system and how it's going to affect their daily work so they'll be ready for the inevitable conversion," Hale says.
Joanna Malcolm, RN, CCM, BSN, consulting manager, clinical advisory services for Pershing, Yoakley & Associates in Atlanta, says hospitals should take a breath and be glad they have a little more time, but keep on moving toward implementation, Malcolm says.
"I was on a team that worked with one client on assessment and it was amazing to me how it literally affected every part of the hospital. The complexity and the amount of work it takes to convert is tremendous," she says.
Because the coding for ICD-10 reflects a greater level of detail, coders will need more accurate and detailed information to assign the correct code to the procedure, Malcolm says. ICD-9 codes are used in all the reports that case management directors use every day, such as quality indicators and core measures compliance, Malcolm says. "Case management software has to be updated to accept the expanded fields and to interface with all of the other information technology that uses ICD-10 codes." In addition, keep in mind that insurance companies are going to need ICD-10 information to approve hospital stays and services, as well as post-acute services, she adds.
Case managers do not need training on the specific codes, but they do need to understand the level of documentation specificity required by the new coding process, especially if they're involved in clinical documentation improvement, Hale says. While ICD-9 uses five-digit numeric codes, ICD-10 is a seven-digit alpha-numeric coding system. The expanded fields make it possible to track much more detailed information about the patient's condition.The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has delayed the implementation of the ICD-10 procedure and diagnostic coding set, but that doesn't mean that hospitals can forget about preparing for the conversion to the new system, says Deborah Hale, CCS, CCDS, president and chief executive officer of Administrative Consultant Service, a healthcare consulting firm based in Shawnee, OK.
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