ICD 10 Codes
Do these 4 things today while preparing for ICD 10 Codes implementation tomorrow.
Regardless of HHS' final decision to delay implementation of the ICD-10-CM codes for procedural and diagnostic coding, If you are experiencing any of the following issues today, you can strive to resolve them now, so you will be better prepared for ICD 10 Codes in the future.
Here are four things you should do now:
- Eliminate Coding Staff Shortages – although there is a lack of qualified certified coders nationally, finding and hiring to fill staff shortages is not your only option. There are now reliable offshore coding services that are certified, ready and available. Finding and contracting with a trusted certified resource will help you deal with the additional issues below.
- Decrease Coding Backlogs – you already understand how vital the role your coding operations plays in the revenue cycle. Management of the Health Information Management department processes prior to the implementation of ICD 10 Codes will avoid unnecessary delays later. Now is the time to critically review your current policies, procedures and workflows to improve the efficiency of your entire coding operation. Identify the bottlenecks and weak links. Consider an outside assessment of your operations if you need help identifying your problem areas. Perhaps your problem area is one particular provider, or department. When new ICD 10 Codes will be implemented, you can expect impact across several departments and the workflows connecting those departments. Work with your problem areas now, you might not have the time during implementation.
- Reduce High DNFB – the American Health Information Management Association estimates that it could take 40-50% longer for a coder to code with the new ICD 10 Codes, due to the increase from 17,000 to over 150,000 new codes. It becomes even more important that accurate information is captured at Patient Access and throughout the revenue cycle. Each step will impact your DNFB. Begin your training as soon as possible, have a training resource identified and ready when you are, and prepare all the impacted departments for the upcoming changes. Step two above (identifying the problem backlog areas) might indicate your training might have to extend beyond your Health Information Management department.
- Lower Operating Expenses – knowing you can expect increases in the time to code a single record, consider what the new ICD 10 Codes will bring. Do you currently have enough coders on staff to keep up with patient charts? How will you plan for the loss of productivity of current staff knowing that you will possibly need double the resources just to keep up? Your best solution may be one that does not require a costly software update. There are outsourced solutions that can take the expense of your software solution and bundle that expense with a total outsourced service solution that reduces your expenses now and helps you prepare for the change to new ICD 10 Codes in the future.
Many providers are taking the wait and see approach to the delayed ICD 10 Codes compliance deadline. Doing as much as possible today will help you get ready for the inevitable changes coming, at some point, in the future.
Consider these changes, solutions, alternatives
By developing a holistic approach for ICD 10 Codes compliance, you can address the primary cause for inefficiency in the Health Information Management department – and improve your hospital’s financial performance. Numerous options are available to assist hospitals address these issues from reputable service providers that are often less costly and more efficient than providing these services with hospital staff. Partnering with a company such as NCO Healthcare Services gives hospitals flexibility to add services that are customized to fit specific needs with holistic strategies that can be developed and implemented in a timely and efficient manner.
About NCO Healthcare Services
NCO Healthcare Services is part of NCO Group, Inc. and focuses on meeting the revenue cycle management needs of more than 2,000 healthcare organizations. These customized solutions increase customer satisfaction, reduce self-pay patients bad debt and increase financial return on investment. Providing services from first point of patient access through health information management, ICD 10 Codes and collections, NCO Healthcare Services consults with healthcare organizations to provide solutions customized to meet their needs.