Precyse Advises Providers to Continue ICD-10 Preparations in Spite of CMS Delay

Wayne, PA and Alpharetta, GA Apr 9, 2012 — Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen G. Sebelius today announced a proposed rule that would delay the compliance date for the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition diagnosis and procedure codes (ICD-10) from Oct. 1, 2013 to Oct. 1, 2014.
When HHS originally announced its intent to delay ICD-10 on Feb. 16, 2012, Precyse carefully reviewed the implications of the announcement and the need to advise its more than 1,000 clients who relied on its management, staffing and technology solutions and professional advice in health information management matters. Precyse advised its clients to stay the course and continue their ICD-10 preparations, and continues to advance that position.
“We’re telling our current and prospective clients that now is not the time to procrastinate. This delay provides them the opportunity to refocus their efforts and get it right,” said Chris Powell, president of Precyse. “Precyse believes this delay will allow providers the time they need to improve their clinical documentation processes and build a strong foundation for process improvement. In addition, the delay allows payers to prepare for the change and enables providers to focus on technology implementations and more thorough testing with their vendors.”
Clinical Documentation Improvement (CDI) Program:
Precyse believes that now is an excellent time for providers to increase their clinical documentation training programs for physicians and other caregivers. Medical coders frequently face incomplete or vague records that are inconsistent or missing information. This results in increased physician queries and a decrease in coder productivity. If this is happening now with ICD-9, it will only worsen with ICD-10, which is far more complex in its requirements for specificity and completeness. It is important that providers take this extra time to develop processes, guidance and support to improve their clinical documentation. Studies have shown that even minor documentation improvement changes will create obvious financial and non-financial rewards: fewer claims denials, reduced RAC audit exposure, improved case mix index and improved cash flows. Most important, however, is that patient care is improved when chart notes are complete and better data is available for analytics and comparative studies. Provider Action Item: Target high volume specialties in your organization that will be most impacted by ICD-10 and train those physician specialists in proper documentation while training the coding team on accurate coding; then, move to the next specialty for training.
Process Improvement Program:
The proposed delay also offers the provider the opportunity to assess the flow of their information across their organization and develop a plan to address gaps through process improvement and technology. Precyse advises clients to invest in automated systems that streamline the entire clinical documentation process. ICD-10 is not just about re-training medical coders — it’s about capturing better data to create a more complete and useful set of codes, which is crucial in a fully automated electronic medical record environment.
Despite ICD-10 Delay, Precyse Encourages Providers to Continue Preparations Page 2 of 2
Precyse recognizes the promise of future innovations such as automated speech recognition, Computer Assisted Coding using Natural Language Comprehension™ (NLC), and clinical decision support tools — but also notes that realizing their full promise in the future will require that current users will need to improve the way in which they interact with and use their systems today. Provider Action item: Develop workflow platforms and applications that allow healthcare providers to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively.
Training and Development:
Take this time to not only invest in the training of coders but also intensify the training for those who will use the data. Now is a great time to improve the basic skills of coders in their ICD-9 knowledge that will also be required in ICD-10. The transition to ICD-10 has pushed healthcare to appropriately invest in training coders as skilled knowledge workers. As part of its own ICD-10 preparations commencing in 2010, Precyse assessed the coding skills of its nearly 300 coders to evaluate their ICD-10 readiness. Precyse found that in order to successfully prepare its coders to become certified in ICD-10, Precyse would need to invest in additional training related to anatomy, physiology and pathopharmacology, as well as opportunities to improve their understanding of coding system logic and principles.
Precyse invested in and developed comprehensive and multifaceted training programs that can be delivered via virtual webinars or through its online Precyse University, while developing individual training plans for every coder. As Precyse’s clients began to deploy these training programs, many have noted improvements in case mix index, improved coding compliance audit results, increased coder retention and satisfaction, and improved coder recruiting metrics for new coder recruits who are eager to develop and perfect their skills. Provider Action Item: Perform side-by-side ICD-9 and ICD-10 coding analysis, assess the documentation and coding gaps of coders and other caregivers and target training based on these findings.
“Precyse is an innovation company that listens carefully to our clients and prospects; every day we challenge ourselves to come back to our clients with solutions that solve their business problems while improving patient care and outcomes,” Powell continued. “We don’t believe that an ICD-10 implementation delay changes our goals. We pledge to our clients and future prospects that we will never stop innovating and improving even in the midst of very challenging times.”