June 11, 2013
Last week, we published a post providing five initial recommendations to prepare for your ICD-10 assessment. These initial steps focused on internal preparations – identifying a project leader, preparing an assessment team and performing training.
This week, we’re taking our recommendations a bit further to focus on some external considerations. Below are five additional recommendations to round out the steps you need to take to prepare for your ICD-10 assessment.
1. Begin identifying affected vendors and reviewing their contracts early. You will need to survey vendors regarding their readiness progress, and how their software upgrades will impact your environment.
Consider how timing, along with costs, training and customer support will be worked out.
2. Similarly, don’t wait to begin discussions with your payers. Contact them to understand their implementation timelines and how their ICD-10 implementation will affect your operations. Begin collaborating with payer representatives to identify likely changes in workflow and business processes, and related training needs.
3. Determine what skills, talent and other resources will be needed to execute your actual ICD-10 implementation, as early as possible. If your organization, like many, cannot spare enough staff for this effort, you will need to go into a recruiting mode or find third party support. Currently, in many areas of the country, appropriate technical staff is hard to find and at a premium.
4. Learn, learn, learn. As much as you can. One unintended benefit of CMS’ delaying the ICD-10 deadline from October 1, 2013 to October 1, 2014 is that thousands of authoritative documents have been produced over the last three years by both public and private organizations.
Start with the CMS ICD-10 site, where you will find announcements, implementation guides, checklists, and a sign-up for the CMS ICD-10 newsletter. Then go to the AHIMA site, which has devoted much time and effort to the development of ICD-10 tools and guides by HIM experts. WEDI is a great site, with work products and educational programs to assist in assessment, planning and implementation of ICD-10. Also, use a search engine and enter the query [your state name with ICD-10] – many states have produced guidelines and other support materials. Some states, (e.g. California, Massachusetts and Idaho) have formed ICD-10 workgroups and collaboratives to support integrated implementation among providers, payers and vendors.
5. Finally, remember that your assessment is the smallest chunk in the ICD-10 conversion process. Preparing your remediation plan, and then executing it – which includes implementation, education, and testing — will run many months more. This easily will take you to late 2014. You’ll be pushing into that October 1, 2014 compliance deadline before you know it.