Cautions Against “Knee-Jerk” ICD-10 Reactions

ways to prepare for ICD-10

Remember the game Jenga? Each player takes a turn carefully placing a rectangular wooden puzzle piece on top of the last; soon there’s a tower that is very susceptible to any knee-jerk puzzle placement.

In healthcare, there are many initiatives piling up much like the tower of Jenga; and we need to be careful with each initiative. These are:

  • Regulatory and reimbursement changes
  • Accountable care organizations and medical homes
  • Electronic health records and meaningful use
  • Of course the elephant in the room, ICD-10

HHS to Revisit ICD-10 Cut-Over Date

Just last week the concerns voiced by AMA that the October 2013 implementation date needed to change were heard. HHS announced that it will revisit the ICD-10 cut-over date; however, as of this post date, there hasn’t been a change in the implementation date. Many others are supporting the current ICD-10 implementation date and are encouraging the healthcare industry to “keep on trucking” with its ICD-10 preparation work.

You Can’t Afford to Pause in Your Implementation Efforts

Just this week—in a live discussion with industry experts from the HIMSS conference in Las Vegas—the message could not have been clearer, you can’t afford to pause in your implementation efforts.

Annie Boynton, Director 5010/ICD-10 Communications from UnitedHealth Group had some great advice for those listening “keep calm, carry on” and cautioned against a “knee-jerk reaction” to the HHS announcement.

Lyman Sornberger, Executive Director, Cleveland Clinic Health System, shared that his organization will stay the course and will be early adopters and begin dual-coding claims, using I-9 and I-10 codes in October of 2012. The claims will be tracked through adjudication to gain additional insight into the prospective reimbursement impact.

Now is the time to stay the course. If you don’t know what your practice or organization’s ICD-10 implementation plan looks like, take time now to find out so you understand your role and can proactively help. Your attitude and engagement, along with helping to recognize challenges, can be instrumental in helping to prepare for implementation.

Offer Up Your Nuggets of Knowledge

Too often, we put blinders on as we set about completing our daily tasks and neglect to look about and recognize how our actions or reactions may influence others’ ability to do their work. We run the risk of this happening with the ICD-10 conversion by thinking “It’s not going to happen October 1st, 2013,” or “It’s not my problem.”

It is not just management’s job to engage in making the transition a smooth one. A project of this magnitude and scope will require many individuals with different skill sets, expertise and experience to work together. There will be individuals who are called upon to lead committees, projects, and discussions. Others will be asked to be a member of a work group focused on a specific project or task. All, including those who have additional leadership or work group responsibilities, will be individual contributors.

You can provide a nugget of knowledge and perspective with purpose to help ensure your practice or organization maintains coding accuracy and productivity, a stable accounts receivable, and continued cash flow before and after October 1, 2013 (or whenever the ICD-10 implementation may be).

We aren’t done talking about this topic so stay tuned for next week’s post when we talk about some more ways to prepare for ICD-10. And remember, everyone can contribute in stabilizing the ICD-10 Jenga tower and to save that knee-jerk reaction for another time.