ICD-10 a Top Priority for 40% of Agencies

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Karen Utterback By Karen Utterback 
Former Vice President, Product Marketing and Strategy, McKesson (Retired)

ICD-10 a Top Priority for Home Health AgenciesIt’s the typical good news, bad news scenario. Home health agencies are still behind in terms of planning and training for the ICD-10 transition, but many more agencies are making it a top priority.

Those findings are from a recent survey from DecisionHealth and the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC). Nearly 500 home health agencies were surveyed, and 54% said they are taking ICD-10 more seriously than earlier this year. In a May survey by the same organizations, only 20% said it was a top priority—that figure is now 40%.

With more agencies focused on the changeover, it’s not surprising that the percentage of agencies who believe they will be ready by the October 1, 2014, deadline has fallen (84% in May; 77% now). Perhaps more important, 77% of agencies have not completed a gap analysis, so it’s unlikely they have an accurate picture of the planning and training that will be needed.

The National Home Health Fall ICD-10 Readiness Study also found that:

  • Cost is the main reason agencies don’t think they will be ready (e.g., training, new home health software)
  • Nearly one in five agencies doesn’t know what steps are needed to prepare for ICD-10.
  • 53% of respondents have a transition team in place.
  • 69% do not have an overall ICD-10 budget.
  • 15% of agencies have begun training non-coders; 11.5% will do so this quarter [Q4 2013]; and another 34.5% will begin in Q1 2014.
  • 48% of respondents said they do not have a backup plan to protect the agencies in case of cash flow disruptions (down from 55% in May).

The report authors say the results show a sense of realism has set in about the transition. Along with a need for budgeting and detailed planning, they are particularly concerned that agencies still look at the changeover as only affecting coders. “We saw continuing evidence of this mentality in responses to questions throughout the survey. From a lack of early education and training to many undefined plans to modify systems and workflow tools impacted by ICD-10,” they write.

We suspect many agencies will ramp up their ICD-10 efforts in the first quarter, and we hope they will take a comprehensive approach that includes financial considerations, ample training for all types of staff, frequent communication with vendors to determine readiness, modified clinical documentation and sufficient testing.

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