Tomorrow is the day everybody in health care has been waiting a long time for — some with more trepidation than others. Most observers say providers should be ready for the launch of ICD-10.
Thursday, Oct. 1 marks the go-live date for the sizable set of new codes the health care system now will be expected to use to describe any ailments or injuries.
As The Wall Street Journal pointed out Sunday, this means that the number of procedure codes a hospital is expected to use will leap from 4,000 to about 72,000. For angioplasty alone, a cardiologist will have 845 different codes from which to choose. The complication and potential for disaster has led some in the business to compare this to worries over the clock switchover in the year 2000. However, with all the prep time, Nelly Leon-Chisen, director of coding and classification at the American Hospital Association, says hospital leaders should have no reason to worry.
"If their coders have been trained and provided with the right resources, tested their systems and collaborated with their physicians on documentation issues, they can be confident regarding their readiness," she says. "It's OK to be vigilant, but they will never know if they are truly ready until they go live," she adds.
Still worried? Well, the AHA has a handy checklist that you can run through with your staff this afternoon just to make sure everything is copacetic. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services also recently issued an info sheet to industry folk, with steps to take if their ICD-10 transition goes awry, including where to direct any inquiries. And if you still haven't had enough of this ICD-10 business by the time you reach the end of this blog, we've run a series of pieces about the switchover this past year, all written by hospital C-suite leaders.
In one of the first such articles in our series, Marty Fattig, CEO of Nemaha County Hospital in Auburn, Neb., explained to his chief executive brethren why the change to ICD-10 should warrant their attention. Among other reasons, "It's how your organization gets paid," he writes. "I think you will find that a number of software packages in the typical hospital use ICD codes in some way. If they are not updated to the latest version, problems may occur. If your organization is not prepared for the big day, cash flow may be impacted. If the payers to which you submit claims are not prepared, cash flow may be impacted."
We've been talking about this for years. Now it's time to go do it. Good luck!