Tuesday, May 14, 2013

What are the Financial and Operational Impacts of ICD-10?

At the Becker's Hospital Review Annual Meeting in Chicago on May 11, Deborah Grider, senior manager of revenue cycle at Blue and Co., and Laura DeBusk, senior director of business development at White Plume Technologies, discussed the financial and operational impact of ICD-10.

According to Ms. Grider, the only way for healthcare organizations to minimize financial losses is to document properly. "Documentation drives everything," she said. Currently, common problems in documentation include lack of specificity and illegible physician handwriting. Physicians need to be trained to be able to document effectively for ICD-10. Clinician documentation improvement programs should include a physician advisor to help train, and education opportunities for ICD-10 should be maximized in those programs. "Ultimately, documentation translates to revenue," she said.

Operationally, the dip in physician productivity is going to be the hardest thing for healthcare organizations to deal with. Ms. DeBusk also warned that clinicians will have to be trained so as to be able to use the new technology and new coding, and the processes that they had been using, that have become almost muscle memory to them, will have to be thrown out the window. Nurses will have to learn how to document with new types of forms, and front desk staff will have to learn how to use new technology. "With ICD-10, for the first time, paper won't be faster than computers," Ms. DeBusk said.

Another operational impact that organizations will face is payor readiness for ICD-10, said Ms. DeBusk. Most payors say they will meet the deadline, but some may not, and organizations need to figure out if their payor will be ready. As payors make changes to their systems, operations will slow down on their end as well, which organizations will have to prepare for. Ensure that your healthcare organization knows how to respond to payor issues with ICD-10, she said.
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