The Healthcare Billing & Management Association (HBMA), a nonprofit educational resource and advocacy group representing third-party medical billers and billing professionals, announced that it has formed an ICD-10 Task Force. The mission of this four-year standing committee will be to collaborate with the public sector and industry stakeholders to develop an ICD-10 implementation structure and resources to help minimize the cost, uncertainty, and complexity of the transition to the new diagnostic code set.
“The magnitude of this administrative change will be far greater than anything the healthcare field has seen in our lifetimes,” says Holly Louie, RN, CHBME, PCS, task force chair. “If the transition to the new electronic standards and entirely new coding system is not well-planned, providers and their business partners could see major disruption. Our group has broad industry representation and we’ve been focusing on ways to minimize the impact while achieving the intended benefits.” Louie, corporate compliance officer at Practice Management, Inc, is also a member of the HBMA board of directors and the chair of the HBMA Ethics & Compliance committee.
Though the ICD-10 Task Force is led by the HBMA, it is a collaboration representing the entire healthcare community, including participation from America’s Health Insurance Plans, CAQH, the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange, practice management software vendors, electronic medical record system vendors, coding professionals, and others. The task force has designated liaisons to work with key stakeholders, including the AHIMA, the American Medical Association, and the Radiology Business Management Association. At a face-to-face meeting with representatives from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in June, the CMS was invited to participate. The ICD-10 Task Force was established to prepare the HBMA’s response to Health and Human Services’ proposed rules regarding ANSI 5010 and ICD-10 implementations, published October 21, 2008. That letter is available online at http://tinyurl.com/ln3aw3.
“A survey of HBMA members found that a large percentage of their client base, which includes office-based physicians, hospital-based physicians, and other allied healthcare providers, do not have regular access to online resources,” says Louie. “Communicating with them, much less training them, can be challenging. That’s one of the reasons we believe this change will be stressful for physician practices. They need an advocate as well as information, education and resources.”
In collaboration with the CMS, the AHIMA, and other organizations, the ICD-10 Task Force will tackle issues relating to standard electronic transaction sets and the new code sets. The committee will promote a range of policies, testing periods, recommended deadlines, outreach programs and other measures intended to make the transition more manageable.
Source: Healthcare Billing & Management Association