It looks like we’ve seen the last of the ICD-10 delays — finally! The possibility of yet another ICD-10 implementation delay was put to rest earlier this week when the Senate approved legislation to repeal the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula. Since there was no language regarding ICD-10 implementation delays in the latest version of the SGR bill, it can be expected that the ICD-10 implementation deadline will take place as scheduled on October 1, 2015.
Just check out these headlines regarding the vote from this past Tuesday, April 15:
- Senate Passes SGR Repeal Bill, ICD-10 2015 Deadline Remains (Source: The Journal of AHIMA)
- Senate Passes SGR: ICD-10 Implementation Delays Unlikely (Source: Healthcare Finance News)
- Senate passes SGR bill, ICD-10 implementation date stands (Source: HCPro)
I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely feeling relieved.
Sure, we got a little extra suspense when someone tried to add language that would have postponed the ICD-10 October 1 go-live date into the Medicare SGR bill. But that little legislative maneuver never really got anywhere. All the ICD-10 insiders and Beltway observers we’ve spoken with say there’s little to no chance that anything else will cause the switch date to shift. The grumblings are over. Done. Let’s move on.
With that said, we’re left with less than 6 months to go before the big changeover. So, what does this mean for you? Assuming that panic is never really an option, we’d like to suggest a short list of takeaways:
- First, breathe deeply and let’s join in a collective sigh of relief. Throwing the brakes on last spring did far more harm than good. Most of us accept that although change is hard, the need to shift to a more nuanced code set has been long overdue. The sentiment I’m seeing on healthcare blogs and newsletters since Tuesday is: “Let’s get on with it, already.”
- Next, if you haven’t already, this is a good time to take stock of not only who you’ve trained but how and when you’ve trained them. Did you have a one-time live training event last spring or fall? If so, let’s borrow a page from the adult learning playbook and schedule some self-directed refreshers and practice time to help people recall what they learned the first go-around. Are you unsure of how you’re going to help your employees practice applying their ICD-10 knowledge? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about ICD-10 educational content offerings in the HealthcareSource eLearning Library that include case studies as a way to help learners bridge the gap between theory and the real-world challenges they’ll soon be facing.
- Fine-tune your learning approach for clinical staff. This is an area where many hospitals still report they are not anywhere near where they need to be. If that sounds familiar, check out our courses that target clinicians and the ways they are most comfortable learning. It’ll help you cut down on learner frustration and resistance. We have specific products geared toward nurses and others geared toward physicians so you don’t have to roll out a one-size-fits-all training solution.
- Aim for organizational readiness. It’s not enough to get your coders and billers up to speed. ICD-10 means big changes and you’ll want to put a learning plan in place for all your employees who will play a part in the new world going forward.
- Remember you’re not alone. One of the great things about working in healthcare is that there are always others who are experiencing the same challenges and who are happy to share what’s working and how to fix what’s not. Over the next year, we’ll share a number of tips and stories right here on these pages from your colleagues implementing ICD-10 training. We’re also hosting a series of webinars where you can get your ICD-10 and clinical documentation improvement (CDI) questions answered directly.
- Speaking of CDI — embrace it! Now’s the time to find, hire, and train an army of CDI specialists to bring together your clinicians and coders. This is a critical role, but a new one, so plan and invest accordingly to give these new employees the TLC they need to gain confidence working with/negotiating with their stakeholders.
The delays have made it easy to push the ICD-10 beast into the corner, but now with time running out it’s essential to take advantage of the remaining months in order to get your staff fully trained.
To kick-off our new webinar series and to help our customers through this turbulent transition, on April 30 I will be talking to Cheryl E. Ericson, Associate Director for Education of the Association of Clinical Documentation Improvement Specialists (ACDIS). Cheryl is an MS, RN, CCDS, CDIP, and AHIMA Approved ICD-10-CM/PCS Trainer who has crossed the country helping organizations prepare for a successful ICD-10 deployment. Cheryl will share practical tips she’s gleaned from working with thousands of your colleagues in various stages of ICD-10 readiness. With a wealth of hands-on experience to draw from, she is happy to answer your questions about how to identify and fill your training gaps. If you’re interested in learning more, I encourage you to join us for this educational webinar event!
P.S. Want to contribute to the data we’ll be sharing during our April 30 webinar, The State of ICD-10 (And Why You’re Not as Ready as You Think)? Take a minute to answer our 5-question survey about your organization’s readiness for ICD-10. If you complete the survey by noon on April 29, you’ll be entered to win an Apple iPad.
In this webinar, industry expert Cheryl Ericson will guide you through the steps to achieve ICD-10 readiness, offer insights into the most overlooked training areas, and share tips for creating the most efficient organization’s education program for your healthcare organization.