Donna: Sue, did you listen to the U.S. House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee hearing on health industry readiness for ICD-10 last week?
Sue: I wasn’t able to tune in as I was at a customer site that day, but I read all of the presenter remarks and watched video of the questions asked by the subcommittee and the responses from the panel of witnesses. It’s all posted on the Coalition for ICD-10 website. How about you?
Donna: I had the hearing on in the background while I was working, but I didn’t get to listen to the entire proceedings because I was on conference calls . . . you know how it goes. So what did you think?
Sue: Well, there were presenters for and against the transition, but overall I think the message was loud and clear that most of the healthcare community is ready and further delay will have so many negative effects.
Donna: That was my takeaway from everything I have read and heard.
Sue: What really hit home for me was the testimony from Rich Averill: “When ICD-9 was developed you could smoke in the patient’s room, there were no personal computers, no internet, and minimal invasive endovascular procedures were not even envisioned.” I started my HIM career back in 1977 in a community hospital here in Cleveland. We were using ICDA-8 back then and I remember going for AHIMA training in ICD-9 in 1979. How long ago that was! Physicians used to smoke in our incomplete chart room when they came to sign off on their records and incomplete chart rooms were a sea of paper – no electronic records back then. Looking back, I can’t even believe that was allowed. And we had no computers to track incomplete records. Instead, we had little card file boxes that held index cards that listed the physicians’ incomplete records.
Donna: That was a lifetime ago!
Sue: Look how much has changed in our field in 36 years — everything but ICD-9!
Donna: Well let’s hope by the time we retire we have moved to ICD-10.
Sue: We can’t just hope, we have to be proactive and make our voices heard! When I was at that customer site last week, I woke up at 3:00am because I was in a different time zone. When I couldn’t fall back to sleep, I got online and looked up the office numbers of all of the members of the House subcommittee and I left voicemail messages for each one, urging them to keep the Oct. 1, 2015 implementation date. No more delays!
Donna: Sounds like your insomnia was put to good use! I’ve emailed my representatives and I’m encouraging everyone I know to do the same.
Sue: Fantastic – let people know that the Coalition for ICD-10 has a “contact Congress” tool that can help them with their advocacy efforts!
Sue Belley, RHIA, and Donna Smith, RHIA, are project managers with the consulting services business of 3M Health Information Systems.