Dennis Flint: A GEM in the Rough

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Complete Medical Solutions’ Dennis Flint leads the educational charge as firm teams with MedLearn on critical General Equivalence Mappings software translator.

This represents a huge boon for the insurance industry -- most doctors just aren’t going to be ready for the transition.

Dennis Flint is working hard now to make sure America’s healthcare providers are ready for the massive changes coming next year to the nation’s medical diagnosis coding system.

The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Studies’ planned update from ICD-9 to ICD-10 in October 2013 – the first update of the diagnosis coding system in 25 years – represents a massive upheaval for national medical practitioners. Even to laymen, the change appears daunting: from about 14,000 codes, each three to five characters long, to over 68,000 codes, some as long as seven characters. For doctors, there will be rough seas indeed; according to some studies, it will cost the average five-doctor practice about $160,000 over three years to implement the coding change, while that same firm can expect a 20-percent revenue drop – if it perfectly implements the changes.

“It’s a really onerous change,” Dennis Flint noted. “Diagnosis coding cuts across the entire continuum of the healthcare system. There’s so much more documentation required to comply with the coding changes, doctors just won’t physically be able to see as many patients. There’s impact throughout the practice, whether it’s paperwork, referrals to outside providers, managed-care contracting – there’s impact everywhere.”

To that end, Complete Medical Solutions – a Louisiana-based company specializing in practice-management software, hardware and consulting services – and Minnesota-based healthcare solutions provider MedLearn are partnering on the distribution of new General Equivalence Mappings translator software. Flint, Complete Medical Solutions’ director of consulting and education, described the GEMs package as “an approximate cross-walk between the old code set and the new code set.”

“It’s basically a software package that allows you to search for new codes from existing code sets,” he said – no mean feat considering the increase in potential diagnoses under the new coding system. In lieu of current diagnoses such as “chest pain” or “back pain,” ICD-10 is detailed enough to include specific codes for “burns due to water skis on fire” and “being struck by a chicken,” according to Flint.

“That’s what the new coding system is all about,” he added. “Really specific diagnoses.”

While those hyper-focused diagnoses will ostensibly lead to better medical care, they’re also a red alert for physicians.

“This represents a huge boon for the insurance industry,” Dennis Flint warned. “They will now have the ability to deny claims at an alarming rate. Most doctors just aren’t going to be ready for the transition.”

But thanks to Complete Medical Solutions and MedLearn, more doctors will be. Among the benefits of the GEMs package is its “multi-directional functioning” between ICD-9 and ICD-10, Flint said, making it easier for healthcare providers to update their diagnosis coding abilities; GEMs also boasts a specialized print function that makes it easy “to create flash cards and other things that will help train doctors,” he added.

“We’ve had experts all over the country look at GEMs,” Dennis Flint said. “We know we’ve got something really special, and it’s being well-received all over the nation.”

Flint is about to debut a webinar series that better explain the benefits of GEMs and MedLearn is planning a kickoff event to extol the software’s virtues. A link to an early demo version of GEMs, dubbed GEMStool, will be posted soon on the MedLearn website (    

“ICD-10 represents the most significant change to how the healthcare industry does business in over 25 years,” Dennis Flint said. “It’s critical that doctors understand exactly how these changes will affect their practices and their ability to provide medical services. We’re thrilled to help them get there.”

About Dennis Flint
United States Air Force Capt. Dennis Flint (Ret.) has enjoyed a long, varied and distinguished career in private industry. The former Northwest Airlines commercial pilot left flying behind to follow his father into the family business, operating two franchises for Snelling Temporary Services; from there, his career veered into medical-practice support and administrative services, where he’s filled various roles – from director of sales to CEO – at some of the nation’s most prestigious firms. Dennis Flint currently serves as director of consulting and education for Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based Complete Medical Solutions.


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