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Now that the Department of Health and Human Services has decided on the new ICD-10 deadline, one reality not to be overlooked is that October 1, 2014 is a mere two years away.
That doesn’t leave a lot of time for healthcare organizations to meet the mandate, particularly those who have not yet even started the conversion. Blue & Co. Senior Manager Deb Grider shares with Government Health IT how the new deadline is thus far perceived, discusses the reality of some health entities still being in denial that ICD-10 will happen and suggestshow those already into the transition can adjust their plans to make use of the extra year.
Q: Is the ICD-10 deadline of Oct 1, 2014 good for your clients?
A: Yes, allowing the industry an additional year is good. Many hospitals and physician groups just started their implementation planning in early 2012, and would not have met the 2013 deadline, or would have struggled to meet it. There are even some smaller hospitals, and physician groups who have done nothing thus far. They need to now jump-start their implementation planning. Time is running out.
Q: Would your clients have preferred more time?
A: As you know, many in the industry do not want to implement ICD-10 and don’t yet realize its value. Delaying ICD-10 further than 2014 would stop everyone in their tracks. Honestly, many in healthcare don’t think ICD-10 will happen anyway and are just waiting for the next delay from HHS. I have heard from some clients who are skeptical that ICD-10 will ever happen. I think it will. Just like the ostrich burying its head in the sand, those who wait will pay the price financially. I think allowing more time would not be beneficial at all. I am waiting to see how organizations that pushed back ICD-10 will react to the new deadline.
Q: How can those who are already well on their way toward ICD-10 trim sails accordingly?
A: Those who have continued working on ICD-10 need to keep working diligently, keeping the steering committee active and engaged and following through on their action plan and project planning. Right now, everyone should be either wrapping up the impact assessment or putting together their project plan. Ideally, their action plan should be finished and they should be beginning the process of putting the plan into action. All organizations should be investigating training options, performing documentation reviews, educating physicians and performing coding assessments.
When you think about it, 2014 is only two years away and there is still so much to be accomplished in a short period of time. The additional year will give us the timeline to complete the process. It is going to be an interesting and exciting time in healthcare – that is for certain.