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It's now just about 10 months until the new scheduled implementation of ICD-10 for all billing barring interference by the Congress of the US. Yet some facilities, both hospitals and physician groups, are procrastinating regarding the timing for education to the physicians and midlevel providers. And this is hurting the overall goal of getting to the future of the business of medicine.

Regardless of the time for implementation ICD-10, the information that can be provided to a patient's medical record with the augmentation provided by our version of ICD-10 is of massive importance to patient care, whether we stay with I-9 or not. And all of the major vendors of Electronic Health Records provide, in some way or other, capabilities of helping the physician provide this specificity.

Now is the time to charge forward rather than turning back. To be able to get physicians familiar with terminology and specificity they will hear about for the rest of their professional careers, the earlier without pressure, the better.

The modifications the docs will encounter with their diagnosis determinations can be easy. With the conversion spread over this longer period of time, it will hardly be noticeable when the day comes and will not be a distraction. And the sooner it gets started, the less difficult it will be in the long run, when it really counts for billing.

This additional time we have now will enable hospitals to get existing CDI staff trained to use ICD-10, specialty by specialty, disease by disease. This will permit them to learn, assimilate, become familiar and work with this system painlessly with the medical staff and with live charts. It’s no longer for the hospital alone – it’s no longer for the Medicare patient alone. It’s all docs, all patients, all payers, all arenas of medical practice. And the new words are still billable! The worst thing with starting this all now is that you’ll have better information in the charts regarding the patients. And, in my mind, that’s “meaningful use.”

For those facilities that don’t have a CDI initiative, NOW is the time to get it going. Use this time to get the training, to get the support, to become familiar with the processes. And a program that creates true communication between the physicians, the midlevels, the nurses, case managers, pharmacologists, discharge planners seamlessly will lead to best patient outcomes. And that’s how you will be reimbursed for the future – rewarded for best patient outcomes. The diagnoses that come out of these programs facilitate sharing of patient information that will help everyone. Staying in silos as too many are doing now is expensive and inefficient.

We at DCBA can help the seasoned or new CDI teams and, especially, can engage the members of your Medical Staff of all specialties in the importance of being cognizant about any version of ICD diagnosis codes and words for the medical records that can lead to proper code assignment. You have time now. Take advantage of that time.

Give us a call. Let’s talk about it.
(770) 216-9691

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