Donna: Sue, where were you when you first heard the news?
Sue: Well, our D.C. office sent me a heads-up message, so I quickly turned on C-Span and watched the House vote live. It all happened so fast. Within minutes, the bill had passed the House and was moving on to the Senate.
Donna: I was on break at a conference when I got your urgent email. Incredulous is the word that describes my reaction. All I could think about was the years of work providers, payers, and vendors have invested in ICD-10 implementation. And I couldn’t help but think about the time you and I have put into it too. So, where do we go from here?
Sue: There’s nothing left to do but think positive! Take this forced delay as a serendipitous moment because it will give everyone more time to iron out their implementation plans.
Donna: You are right. The focus has to be on using the time to create complete plans for dual coding, testing, and quality, as well as leveraging the EHR to assist in a smoother transition. It will also give us time to further educate physicians not only how to use ICD-10, but also help them understand the benefits of switching to ICD-10. We have to convince them!
Sue: You’re right Donna. Use the extra year to practice coding and verify coding accuracy. Most customers I talk to think coding accuracy needs more work. The additional time also can be used to assist physicians in learning ICD-10 content.
Donna: But I still feel like we’re stalled. We need to hear from CMS soon about the official implementation date so we can begin our journey again.
Sue: Donna, there is a silver lining in every cloud. Don’t think of this as stalled. The journey hasn’t stopped. The industry must continue to move forward, expand implementation plans to fit the new time-frame, and stay the course to build on all the knowledge and experience that we have already attained in ICD-10.
Donna: Good advice, Sue. Full steam ahead!
Donna Smith is a Project Manager with the Consulting Services business of 3M Health Information Systems.
Sue Belley is a Project Manager with the Consulting Services business of 3M Health Information Systems.