There are only days to go before the transition to ICD-10. In preparing for this big change, what types of things should an organization or HIT professional be checking these next few days?

Health Data Management recently conducted a web seminar on final preparations for ICD-10. Topics covered in the seminar provide important suggestions for providers getting ready for October 1. Moderated by HDM Editor Fred Bazzoli, those participating in the seminar included:

  • Aaron Miri, CIO at Walnut Hill Medical Center.
  • Jean McCammack, Chief Quality Officer at Walnut Hill Medical Center.
  • Debbie Schrubb, Corporate Director of Health Information Management and Kettering Physician Network Coding at Kettering Health Network.
  • Stephen Stewart, Interim CIO at Schuylkill Health Systems in Pottsville, Pennsylvania.

Fred Bazzoli: What kinds of things should you definitely be doing? Beyond testing, what types of more interactive tasks need to be happening within the hospital?

Debbie Schrubb: We're working our communication plan so everyone realizes what's happening, when it's happening and who needs to be doing what on October 1st versus two or three days into the process. We've also set up metrics we're going to be measuring, some on a weekly basis, some on a daily basis, and we're going to be communicating to the C-suite in a daily email that explains where we are with A/R days, D&B dollars, any coding problems we might run into, system issues, and obviously tracking days cash on hand. We’re also preparing to watch denial rates, although we don't believe we'll see an impact on the rate for at least for 30 days, and maybe longer.

So right now we're making sure everyone is prepared to log those metrics on a daily basis for reporting, and then for the first two weeks, every day at 3 p.m., we're going to have a call with key stakeholders to make sure that we're communicating.

Stephen Stewart: Most of my focus is going to be revisiting the training with our physicians. We’re concerned they might not be as prepared as we would like them to be, in spite of our training efforts.

We're also working hard on a communication network and ensuring we have a process in place so when issues do arise they can be elevated quickly. But our focus right now is on the physicians themselves, for the most part, and continuing to revalidate everything we've already tested.

Jean McCammack: We will continue to test the scenarios, trying to find that one thing we haven't thought of, and making sure we can submit claims so we don't get any push-back that we're not doing it correctly. We've been doing a lot of physician education, especially with cheat sheets, and ensuring there’s someone they can contact with questions or concerns. We've also been doing a lot of education with all the staff who interact with physicians and our department, including the case management department.

Aaron Miri: For the technology folks in the audience, I would stress the need to have a very clean environment when it comes to your test systems and production systems. Make sure that your backups are up to date. Also ensure you have many restore points from where you can bring your systems back up, in case something happens on October 1.

We try not to worry too much about every possible catastrophe. But maybe it's by virtue of living in Dallas, it just seems that we get hit by every one of them. So we try to think through those potential problems and come up with a plan. For example, if a catastrophe struck and we had to use paper, how would we file the claims?

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