Author Name Jennifer Bresnick | Date May 15, 2013
ICD-10 represents more than just a disruption in a physician’s note taking habits, or a couple of new letters and numbers for coders to tap in to their billing claims. It’s a fundamental overhaul in the way that diagnoses and procedures are documented, and it will require specialized knowledge and a level of proficiency many ICD-9 coders will initially struggle to master. Enter New York University and its brand new Certificate in Medical Coding, offered through the School of Continuing and Professional Studies (NYU-SCPS). It’s one of the first major programs from an academic institution to be built upon an ICD-10 foundation, offering students the anatomical and medical expertise necessary to tackle the new system.
“We believe that as demands in the health information management industry increase, coding professionals will be required to have certifications or a credential to demonstrate they have met a minimum professional standard,” says Denisse Jimenez, program administrator at NYU-SCPS . “Many programs are still providing ICD-9 training which will be obsolete by 2014. Our program addresses the changes that are occurring in the health information management field and recognizes the expanded skill sets that will be required by medical coding professionals.”
To keep up with mounting financial pressures resulting from ICD-10, EHR adoption, meaningful use, and a number of other health IT initiatives all hitting the industry at once, providers are changing the way they hire and retain staff. A recent survey indicates that a quarter of practices are cutting staff, including medical coders, just to stay in the black. But coders with ICD-10 proficiency are only going to become more and more valuable as the implementation date creeps up and providers realize the impact of the transition on productivity and timely payments.
“A huge component of ICD-10 transition planning is employee retention,” explains Bonnie Cassidy, MPA, RHIA, FAHIMA, FHIMSS. “You’re going to be dealing with a very competitive market of supply and demand. Those who embrace it and get trained, and become experts in ICD-10, are going to be a real commodity.” AHIMA and other organizations also provide training and education for physicians and coders alike, and constantly urge professionals not to delay education in anticipation of another pushback of the compliance deadline.
NYU’s certificate includes nine required courses ranging from instruction in anatomy and physiology to pathophysiology and pharmacology. The program is designed for both new students as well as experienced coders seeking a foundation in ICD-10 before the October 1, 2014 transition date. More information about the certificate program is available on NYU’s website.