MGMA 2009: Who's afraid of ICD-10 and HIPAA changes?

Oh, for heaven's sake, regulators, did you have to pile on new HIPAA privacy and security rules--and the switch to ICD-10--when we're already coping with health reform and a collapsible economy? Yes, it seems, they did, and there's no getting around it. Luckily, you can pick up some ideas on how to cope at this year's show.

If you're not feeling ready for the new onslaught of HIPAA privacy and security requirements, check out the session run by attorney and privacy expert Gerry Hinkley of Davis, Wright and Tremaine LLP on the subject. (CON 504, Oct. 12, 1:15 p.m. - 2:30 p.m., room 607) Hinkley will explain, among other things, the new batch of patient rights you'll have to incorporate into your policies and staff training, new rules for handling patient data breaches, and changes you'll need to make in working with "business associates." Oh, and don't forget the reminder that you could conceivably face penalties up to $50,000 per violation to a maximum of $1.5 million a year if things were totally out of control. (Just take a deep breath...again...and again.)

Another session offers sage advice on ICD-10 and the new HIPAA transaction standards (CON 604, Oct. 12, 3:15 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., room 102/106). Get the skinny from Larrie Dawkins, chief compliance officer with Wake Forest University Health Sciences and Robert Tennant, senior policy adviser with MGMA, on the impact of ICD-10 implementation and changes to HIPAA electronic transactions will impact your practice. They'll talk about the host of challenges on the way, including shifts in payer contracting, encounter documentation, training and software modification. (Whew--and this is all just part way through the switchover!)

Of course, if you need help, there will be a few vendors in attendance who promise to speed things along, so you may want to check out companies including Custom Coding Solutions (Booth #1916) and Unicor Medical (Booth #1534). But somehow, guys, I think this one is mostly going to be on you. Good thing you don't scare easily, right?