The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued a rule finalizing Oct. 1, 2015 as the ICD-10 deadline for transition for health care providers, health plans, and health care clearinghouses.
U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) weighed in on the ICD-10 deadline in the GAO report. Hatch said. “While additional testing will be needed to ensure its success, the transition to the new system will streamline the management of healthcare records and improve patient care. I will continue to keep a close eye on this issue but see no reason for any delay past the October deadline.”
There you have it folks. The ICD-10 deadline of October 2015 remains and will probably not be pushed further out. Senator Hatch was responding to a GAO report on ICD-10 readiness of CMS center for Medicaid (MCD) and Medicare (MCR). Not only did the report indicate there have been aggressive efforts to be ready, but to also provide helpful advice and documents to providers, payers and patients about the impact of ICD-10 and how to best prepare.
There can be nothing bigger on a practice’s plate than ICD-10 readiness, especially as it pertains to testing. Every system, every document, every payor, and every entity that distributes ICD codes needs exhaustive testing of real scenarios at different times of the year. Preparation does not stop at testing. Comprehensive analysis of the results must also be done. This analysis will undoubtedly show the practice where additional testing needs to be done after tweaking the systems. If it does not, then your sample size for testing is too small or you did not examine the analysis of testing thoroughly.
While this testing is ongoing, so should your training and testing of provider documentation. And that includes feedback. Regardless of how good the coders may be in translating correctly from ICD-9 to ICD-10 codes; if the provider documentation does not back up the use of those codes the coding is in vain.
We cannot stress too strongly the potential negative cash flow results of getting this wrong. The old adage of “garbage in, garbage out” has never been truer. Test what you have done, test what you have tested, test what you meant to test, test the results, and test again. Testing is essential. If you would like to speak with someone about the what and how to test your system, give us a call for a FREE consultation. It just may be the difference for you in successful preparation or failure.