In early 2009, 11-hospital BayCare Health System, serving the Tampa, Fla., region, started mapping out its three-phase plan for complying with the ICD-10 code sets that have a compliance date of Oct. 1, 2013.

That plan this year included testing about 80 coders to assess their existing knowledge in medical terminologies, anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology and pharmacology to assess their educational gaps. But explaining the need for the tests to the coders was tricky; they feared if they didn’t score well they might lose their jobs.

BayCare stressed the tests were needed to get a baseline assessment of coders’ educational gaps so appropriate training could be offered, and no supervisors would know individual scores, says Mary Roberts, HIM coding manager. Roberts, who hasn’t been in a classroom for a decade, also took all the tests and let the coders know her scores and where she needed to bone up.

One way BayCare mitigated those fears was to give a lot of time--90 minutes--for completion of the tests, which had 60 to 75 questions, says Karen Youmans, president of YES HIM Consulting in Largo, Fla., which assisted BayCare in developing its compliance plan.

For a copy of the plan, e-mail Melissa Myrick, director of health information management at BayCare, at melissa.myrick@baycare.org.

Roberts, Youmans and Myrick spoke at the AHIMA Annual Convention & Exhibit in Orlando, Fla.

--Joseph Goedert

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