8 Ways to Take Advantage of the ICD-10 Delay

Increase focus on clinical documentation improvement. Increase focus on clinical documentation improvement.

CDI will have a significant impact on maximizing your reimbursements before and after the transition. Whether it’s October 2014 or October 2015, it is still a critical component to quality reporting and improving cash flow.

Develop a long-term coder strategy. Develop a long-term coder strategy.

Regardless of a delay decision, you will need a strategy to retain and incentivize coders. If you have invested money training coders, you need to have a solid plan to keep them as they are in huge demand. Losing coders could be a serious setback even with a delay.

Optimize your revenue cycle performance. Optimize your revenue cycle performance.

The delay provides an opportunity to perform a “deep dive” that will explore and improve existing workflows to increase efficiency and productivity to drive bottom line improvement together with continual risk analysis.  

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Evaluate Computer Assisted Coding. Evaluate Computer Assisted Coding.

You can use the delay to evaluate how a CAC option can help achieve transition goals while reducing costs and increasing coder productivity. Implementing CAC correctly takes time and practice to gain the maximum productivity benefits. A CDI program will allow you to maximize the benefits of CAC.

Continue dual coding and training. Continue dual coding and training.

The delay will provide you with more time to identify potential risk areas/issues between ICD-9 and ICD-10 codes. The outcomes of dual coding will identify areas for additional training.

Comprehensive system remediation & testing. Comprehensive system remediation & testing.

You now have time for a more comprehensive plan to ensure all IT systems and partners are capable of receiving and producing ICD-10 codes for billing and internal/external reporting purposes. This has been a challenge for many organizations that were working under a compressed timeframe.

Focus on physician education (employed and ancillary). Focus on physician education (employed and ancillary).

It’s important that you continue as planned with CDI training for physicians. The additional training will allow the physicians more time to both learn and adopt the increased documentation requirements. Not only will this better prepare you for ICD-10, this will have an immediate impact on reimbursement and compliance under ICD-9.  

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Now That We Have More Time… Now That We Have More Time…

Now the question is how do healthcare organizations justify the budget to execute these initiatives over a longer period of time? If you make sound operational changes, improve your revenue cycle processes, identify and mitigate risk, you will reap the financial and compliance benefits in the end. You will realize improved billing efficiency and productivity by capturing all services provided accurately for reimbursement. Industry estimates project an average of a 30% to 40% dip in cash following the transition. If you invest the time and money now to take these steps, you will be better positioned to mitigate the risk of this significant impact on your cash flow. For more information on Weymouth, Mass.-based Beacon Partners, click here.

In a recent blog posting, Kathleen LePar, vice president of strategic services at consultancy Beacon Partners, notes: “We have been hearing for the last two years, ‘If I only had enough time to implement ICD-10 correctly.’ “Well, now you have the opportunity to do it right.” LePar gives multiple examples of opportunities that stakeholders should take advantage of now that Congress has delayed the ICD-10 compliance deadline until at least October 2015.

 

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