With the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) delaying the Oct. 1, 2013 deadline for ICD-10 implementation, many health care organizations are forced to ask themselves, and answer, one key question: How do we get through this time of uncertainty?
That was the main question pitched during a Deloitte webinar, “Navigating the ICD-10 Delay: Insights and Smart Steps for Health Care Organizations,” which offered considerations for how health care organizations should approach a delay of either one or two years for ICD-10 implementation.
Listeners were polled on how long they would like to see the ICD-10 delay, and 43.2% said one a one-year delay would be the “optimum” time versus a two-year hiatus. The reason for that, said Kim Beckendorf, specialist leader at Deloitte Consulting, is because a one-year delay would not be a “game-changer;” in other words, completely shutting down ICD-10 operations would not be needed. Other Deloitte presenters, such as Dave Biel, principal, and Harry Greenspun, M.D., senior advisor, agreed that a one-year delay would be best for health organizations for a number of reasons. It would:
– Allow more robust testing;
– Add focus on governance structure;
– Focus on business and clinical processes;
– Gauge external funding;
– Determine when training staffers should begin again, if it was stopped, to avoid backtracking;
– Evaluate lessons from the HIPAA 5010 delay and build contingencies into work plans;
– Expand communication with outside vendors;
– Pilot testing plans with trading partners.
A two-year delay could spell harsher implications for health care organizations. This delay, said all presenters, could be a “game-changer” because an organization’s remediation approach and strategy could change completely. Presenters highlighted what organizations should be doing throughout a two-year delay, and also offered a glimpse into the difficult tasks that could arise.
– Reset training timeline and potentially plan for re-training of ICD-10 coders and clinicians;
– Reallocate funding;
– Plan to work with vendors to understand impact of application upgrades;
– Discuss clinical documentation improvement initiatives;
– Attempt to maintain a core team so project knowledge is not lost;
– Come to a written agreement on time to resume ICD-10 coding.
Additionally, health care entities can absorb two final tips. First, an organization will have to be responsible with the resources they’ve allocated for ICD-10 implementation. Just because there are resources sitting stagnant during delay, those resources should remain in place. In other words, removing said resources to purchase other technology, such as “robots fax machines” said Biel, should not be on the agenda.
Each practice or hospital varies in where they stand in ICD-10 implementation. Some organizations have completed their impact assessment plan while others have not started. Some have established an ICD-10 implementation team while others are trying to assemble it. Some are executing their implementation plans while others are still at the drawing board. Wherever your organization stands, the ICD-10 delay — and the duration of the delay — is sure to garner a mixed bag of reactions within the health IT industry.