D'Arcy Gue

The Positive Impacts of the ICD-10 Delay for Providers [Infographic]

April 17, 2014

ICD-10 3 Minute Read

The ICD-10 delay impacts providers in both positive and negative ways. We realize that for those providers who were prepared for the 2014 deadline, this is a frustrating setback. However, for those who were under-prepared, there are a number of benefits. For the sake of optimism, we created an infographic that focuses on the positive impacts of the delay.

Positive Impacts of the ICD-10 Delay

Organizations that were behind in their preparations are grateful for the delay, due to the reprieve it provides them. With federal initiatives like Meaningful Use / MIPS Stage 2, privacy and security demands, and accountable care requirements, healthcare staff have overflowing platters (plates don’t seem to do justice to the amount of work healthcare organizations are facing.)

Delaying the move to ICD-10, provides healthcare providers the opportunity to take a breath, and refocus because —

There is now more time to meet the Meaningful Use / MIPS Stage 2 criteria. Many healthcare organizations are overwhelmed with the requirements of MU2. With the move to ICD-10 on the back burner, more time is available to do the work, to meet the deadline for incentives.

This is a chance to realign efforts towards meeting all federal initiatives. With all of the competing demands, it’s likely activities, departments, and steering committees aren’t on the same page. Take this opportunity to recalibrate and coordinate your people and your efforts toward a common goal.

Vendors and payers have some extra time to get their act together. While some payers and vendors suggested that they were ready for the move, many are not. The rushed efforts towards compliance risked the effective transition to the new code set. With the extra time, that risk will likely be mitigated by the time the new deadline arrives.

More end-to-end testing can be performed. CMS was planning to conduct some testing this summer, but many felt that it wasn’t adequate to really determine the impacts of the transition to ICD-10. With an extra year available, there is more time to perform the testing required to ensure a smooth transition.

More practice for coders and time to educate physicians and clinicians. ICD-10 is not a small change. Thousands of new codes are being introduced and it’s going to take a lot of time and practice to ensure that coders and healthcare providers are ready to use the new codes. With the delay, it’s more likely that all of your staff will be ready.

With all of this being said, none of these positive impacts will benefit your organization if you squander the opportunity the delay has offered. While, it’s understandable, and even smart to take advantage of the alleviated pressure, it’s important to get back to work. While we wait for a statement from CMS about their plans for the delay, prepare for the change using steps we mentioned in a previous blog post:

  • Assess the current state of major IT projects in the organization. Some project priorities will change, and while it probably doesn’t make sense to put off upgrades for a year, it may make sense to shift some dates to more critical projects, such as Meaningful Use / MIPS.
  • Assess the current state of ICD-10 training. Training that hasn’t begun can probably be delayed, but the extensive training that coders require is already underway, and key decisions will need to be made about how to maximize the value of dollars already spent (or committed).
  • Assess contract services. Review services contracted for, such as training and resource websites to determine the best strategies for dealing with those commitments in the upcoming year.
  • Assess staffing levels. Organizations that have already begun staffing up for ICD-10 will be overstaffed without the demands of ICD-10. The additional staffing may be reduced through attrition, but many providers will not choose to actively reduce staff, and instead must identify valuable activities for these excess resources to perform, such as dual coding for training, documentation assessments as part of a Clinical Documentation Improvement Efforts, or additional quality oversight of existing coding activities.



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