Hospital CIO: Train clinicians, physicians on ICD-10 now

Despite attempts to once again derail ICD-10, with about 140 days to go it seems implementation will nonetheless happen Oct. 1. That means it's time to train employees on the new code set, Linda Reed, R.N., writes at Hospitals & Health Networks.

The training that needs to begin now is for clinicians and physicians, writes Reed, CIO at Morristown, New Jersey-based Atlantic Health. Coders, billers and registration staff should already be familiar with ICD-10, she adds.

"[I]t is time and there is a lot to do. In fact, some believe that if you are starting now, you are already too late," she writes.

Smaller hospitals and clinics should take advantage of the free training tools offered by many industry organizations, including AHIMA, the American Hospital Association and HIMSS, Reed notes.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services also has extended the deadline for this summer's ICD-10 end-to-end testing to May 22.

No matter what tools providers use for training, they should make sure the training is tailored to specific needs and groups, Reed says. Do not forget community-based doctors, she adds; helping them will ensure good will and prevent possible problems down the road.

However, even as the deadline grows closer than ever, the battle to delay or throw out ICD-10 is still being waged.

Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) proposed legislation late last month to ban the code set altogether, a move the American Medical Association supports. In a letter to Poe dated May 14, AMA Executive Vice President and CEO James Madara calls the differences between the current ICD-9 code set and the forthcoming ICD-10 code set "substantial," pointing out that the transition will place a financial and administrative burden on physicians.

Another ICD-10 bill, proposed by Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.), also awaits a House vote. That legislation would provide an 18-month transition period to the new code set. It would not stop or delay implementation of the coding system, but would require the Department of Health and Human Services to offer testing to all providers participating in the Medicare fee-for-service program.

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