With little more than a year until the new ICD-10 implementation deadline, AHIMA encourages the health care industry to set priorities to ensure readiness.
Sue Bowman, MJ, RHIA, CCS, FAHIMA senior director of coding policy and compliance at AHIMA, shared findings and recommendations from AHIMA’s recent policy paper on ICD-10 during her testimony delivered to the Standards Subcommittee of the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics.
“Although many stakeholders are disappointed and even frustrated by the ICD-10 delay, we believe that this is an opportunity to reflect, regroup, and revitalize,” says Bowman. “This extra time offers all stakeholders the chance to get the transition right and mitigate risks caused by inadequate preparation.”
AHIMA recommends that organizations set priorities to ensure they are ready for implementation in 2015. These include achieving documentation excellence; providing education to coders, clinicians, data users, and other stakeholders; and conducting testing with business partners.
“Achieving high-quality documentation and thorough coder preparation minimizes the adverse impact of the ICD-10 transition on coding accuracy and productivity, which in turn reduces the potential for rejected claims and payment errors,” Bowman says.
Drawn from discussions and a real-time poll of health care professionals in April, the policy paper, "Achieving ICD-10-CM/PCS Compliance in 2015: Staying the Course for Better Healthcare—A Report from the AHIMA 2014 ICD-10/CAC Coding Summit," outlines challenges associated with the delay, offers recommendations where organizations can focus to successfully transition to ICD-10, and suggests specific steps the industry should take.
AHIMA’s additional recommendations include the following:
AHIMA also urged CMS and other federal partners to work with public and private sector groups to dispel ICD-10 myths; educate members of Congress and other leaders about the value of ICD-10; emphasize the many public and national health information systems that rely on the more specific data ICD-10 provides; offer help to providers who may have difficulty with the transition, including small practices and those in rural communities; stay committed to the October 2015 deadline; and continue testing.
“The health care information horizon is bright with the high-quality information that ICD-10 will be able to offer,” says AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon RHIA, MBA, CAE, FACHE, FAHIMA. “AHIMA is committed to working with HHS and industry partners through advocacy, outreach, and educational initiatives in order to prevent any further delay in ICD-10.”