Ask John Glatthorn about the conversion to ICD-10, and you get a simple answer: “You need an executive sponsor.” Or in his case, five of them. Glatthorn is the project manager for the ICD-10 enterprise initiative at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The ICD-10 conversion there has five executive sponsors, representing major divisions of the hospital, including operations, finance and IT. Why? The overarching nature of ICD-10 demands it, Glatthorn told attendees at the World Congress Leadership Summit on ICD-10 being held this week in Vienna, Va.

According to Glatthorn, hospitals that oversimplify the conversion to ICD-10 by viewing it as an effort that primarily affects coding staff do not understand the full impact of the conversion. ICD-10 will be required to file claims and be reimbursed.

But the codes that support billing are in play throughout other areas in provider organizations. The first step to the transition, which is being mandated by the federal government, is to identify areas impacted by the change. It’s big, he said. “It affects the entire organization,” not just the ability to send claims. Children’s has already analyzed 45 of its departments likely affected by ICD-10 and has a system-wide communication plan in place. Telling employees about the nature of ICD-10 helps ferret out places where codes are used, such as in the pre-certification areas, Glatthorn noted.

 --Gary Baldwin

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