Care Communications, Inc. Provides ICD-10 Recommendations for Delay Period

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Health Care Organizations Encouraged to Continue ICD-10 Plans

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Care Communications, Inc. a national provider of data quality services in health care, has announced recommendations following the recent passage of the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) Bill that includes a delay in the ICD-10 compliance date. The bill’s ICD-10 provision mandates that the earliest a new compliance date can be set is October 1, 2015.

On the Care Communications Blog, Kathy Johnson, RHIA, Vice President of Data Quality and Coding Compliance, encouraged health care organizations to continue with plans for implementing ICD-10.

“In light of the passage of this bill, as health care organizations reevaluate their ICD-10 readiness project plans it is imperative to commit to staying on the course of implementation—being ready sooner rather than later is a good thing,” said Johnson. “Progress in the transition is already being made on many fronts, and no one wants to lose momentum. Positioning your organization as ready and proficient with ICD-10 in 2014 is still a good investment. You don’t have to wait to implement ICD-10 coding in your organization.”

Johnson recommends the following so that health care organizations don’t lose ICD-10 transition momentum and do make the best use of the delay period:

1. Forge ahead with clinical documentation improvement efforts to achieve clinical data integrity and reliability that reflect the patient population severity of illness and treatment as rendered.
2. Continue ICD-10 education and training for coders, physicians and users of clinical data to promote proficiency with the new code set.
3. Move forward with plans to implement computer-assisted coding (CAC) applications to minimize or avoid the reduction in coder productivity prior to the ICD-10 “go live” date.
4. Initiate or continue dual coding until data quality assessments demonstrate that accuracy in ICD-10 is satisfactory. If complete prior to official implementation date for reimbursement, stop dual coding and consider using a reverse cross walk or mapping from the more specific ICD-10 to ICD-9 for the claims submission.
5. Use a growing ICD-10 database for contract negotiations, health outcomes analysis and patient care improvement initiatives.

Johnson is a veteran health information management professional with 35 years of experience in a variety of positions, including health information management department director in settings ranging from critical access hospitals to community based health systems, classroom educator and post-secondary education program director, independent consultant and quality improvement leader in the acute care setting. She provides content and process expertise related to coding workflow, data quality, compliance, revenue cycle, documentation, ICD-10 and data analysis.

About Care Communications, Inc.
Care Communications is a nationally recognized leader in data quality and has served the needs of leading health care organizations since 1976. Care Communications offers a comprehensive suite of data quality consulting and outsourcing services, including coding production, audits and education, ICD-10 transition, EHR data quality and integrity services, interim management, cancer registry, research services and leadership development. Care Communications has been a preferred vendor for VHA/Novation since 2007 and has been an Elite Award winner as one of Chicago’s “101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For” since 2008.

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Steve Sonn
Care Communications, Inc.
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