Since the vote by Congress to delay ICD-10, many in our industry have been in a sort of confusion and even frustration feeling like the training we’ve done so far has been in vain.  Take note however, NOTHING THAT YOU HAVE DONE WAS DONE IN VAIN!  Think about it this way: what you are doing today and what you have done in the past readying for ICD-10 can be put to good use under our current system!

Is there anyone out there who says “our physician’s documentation is spot on!” or “Our physician always provides all of the details we need for the most specific code assignment.” Or my  personal favorite, “the insurance company can tell exactly how sick our patient is by the codes we assign and submit on our claims because the physicians’ documentation is so clear. Our claims are never called into question!”

I will say that in the over a quarter of a century I have been working with healthcare providers on appropriate documentation, coding and billing, I have never heard one of these statements. Nor has any provider touted loudly about their documentation and coding accuracy.  That is likely because we are all human and “to err is human” according to the poet, Alexander Pope.  You may have noticed that the move to incorporate clinical documentation improvement practices preceded the ICD-10 movement.  Yes, we have been working toward this best practice documentation model for quite a number of years because we are told that by achieving it we can prove the services we provided were appropriate and necessary and achieve appropriate payment.  None of that has changed!  Even though a delay in ICD-10 implementation has been announced is should not take our focus off of the importance of clear, concise, specific documentation. And since we’ve not achieved 100% accuracy – we should keep it a focus!  In addition, AQ-IQ believes we should continue to train staff and move forward in anticipation of an impending ”go-live” ICD-10 implementation date.

According to AHIMA, “Until the industry knows a final ICD-10-CM/PCS implementation date, and in order not to lose momentum, AHIMA recommends that organizations continue with preparations under the assumption that next year is the “go live” year. That means preparing by strengthening clinical documentation improvement programs; working with vendors on transition readiness; training coders, clinicians, and other stakeholders; and proceeding with dual coding.”

AQ-IQ could not more strongly agree.  Therefore, we are continuing our plan to proceed with ICD-10 training throughout this year and into the next.  However, in addition to this plan, we will also continue to bring you ICD-9 content.  I hope you will stay on track, stay focused and continue to join us for all of the ICD-10 training as we feel it will help you to better prepare and be ready when implementation does occur.  We fully support preparedness training and know you would rather be sitting in your beach chair viewing the waves when implementation time comes rather than batting down the hatches getting ready for the rough weather caused by a lack of preparation.

Our next web training is scheduled for Thursday, April 17, 2014 “ICD-10-PCS Sections & Terminology”.  Don’t miss it!

Paula Digby, CCS, CDIP, CPC, CPCI, AHIMA Approved ICD-10-CM/PCS Trainer


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