Oct. 1, 2015, is a lot closer than you might think. Presuming there are no unexpected shenanigans between now and then, that – at long last – is the compliance date for the switchover to ICD-10.
Before that day arrives, there are some important items on any healthcare organization's to-do list. Erik Newlin, vice president of EDI platform & compliance at Xerox, reminds payers and providers of the top six items they should be sure to square away now– before the ICD-10 deadline gets much closer – to ensure successful conversion.
Look to see if the shift in deadline causes different aspects of the testing strategy and implementation as a whole to be repeated.
"The shift in deadline may have very well caused payers/providers to repeat different aspects of their testing strategy and implementation plans," says Newlin. "Although repeating processes can be costly, if left until the last minute, it can create a complete disruption in terms of financial planning and staffing resources."
With the new date, payers and providers might need to test new environments and new infrastructure.
"Particularly, look where you're performing testing," says Newlin. "Payers/providers may have had different requirements based on projects in flight. Now with the new date, they might need to test new environments and new infrastructure to ensure ICD-10 systems are ready and in compliance by the October deadline."
Without the proper infrastructure in hand, payers and providers risk meeting the deadline.
"This is an immediate need," says Newlin. "At the end of the day, if payers/providers don't have some needed infrastructure in place, they will risk being unprepared and meeting the deadline. This is true even if they plan on outsourcing functions."
More payers are ready to test than providers, but testing early and testing often is encouraged to remove the bumps in the road and improve delivery, benefiting everyone in the long run.
"This is a two-way street," says Newlin. "Providers should survey their payer partners to understand if they are able to support testing; payers should also assess external readiness of those that they do business with. It will be a nightmare if payers and providers don't work together."
Even if employees have been trained already, those skills have become stagnant if they're not in use.
"Employees are a critical factor to ICD-10 success and while some people have invested money in training already, those skills may become stagnant because employees are not using them in day-to-day work," says Newlin. "Re-evaluating staffing needs ensures that employees have a clear understanding of their role in the ICD-10 transition and builds a better foundation for success."
Communications should be published that are both informational and educational.
"This informs their providers/trading partners of the key dates that the payer will be performing external testing, and educates their providers/trading partners in terms of any changes in policy, payment, technical applications, etc. – creating a smoother, more successful implementation," says Newlin.