In 2013, I’m focused on five major work streams:
· Meaningful Use Stage 2, including Electronic Medication Administration Records
· ICD10, including clinical documentation improvement and computer assisted coding
· Replacement of all Laboratory Information Systems
· Compliance/Regulatory priorities, including security program maturity
·Supporting the IT needs of our evolving Accountable Care Organization including analytics for care management
I’ve written about some of these themes in previous posts and each has their uncharted territory.
One component that crosses several of my goals is how electronic documentation should support structured data capture for ICD10 and ACO quality metrics.
How are most inpatient progress notes documented in hospitals today? The intern writes a note that is often copied by the resident which is often copied by the attending which informs the consultants who may not agree with content. The chart is a largely unreadable and sometimes questionably useful document created via individual contributions and not by the consensus of the care team. The content is sometimes typed, sometimes dictated, sometimes templated, and sometimes cut/pasted. There must be a better way.
Continue reading “Brainstorming About the Future of Clinical Documentation”
Filed Under: Uncategorized
Tagged: ACO, Clinical Documentation, CMS, Geisinger, ICD-10, John Halamka, Kaiser, Mayo, Meaningful Use Stage 2, Physicians, quality metrics, SNOMED-CT
Dec 18, 2012
Oh, that clever Center for Public Integrity. Look what they’ve gone and done now! My, oh my. According to the article, doctors are much of the the problem, billing “billions” of Medicare upcharges according to the center.
But what if the medical coding game itself is flawed? Stop for a moment and imagine what it would look like if lawyers billed like doctors. Suddenly, we see how bizarre the world of government billing codes and chart-completion mandates has become.
Not long ago I asked readers what my time is worth on a per-hour basis. Collectively and independently, they settled on a number of about $500/hr (see the comments). Now look for a moment at what Medicare pays, even at its highest level of billing for a physician’s time for evlauation and management of a medical problem: for 40 minutes of a physician’s time, it’s $140 (or $210/hr) before taxes. Again, we see another disconnect as to how doctors are valued in our current system.
Doctors are working long hours to collect these fairly low fees from Medicare while jumping more hoops than ever to do so. They have become pseudo-experts at the coding game, trying to get as much money for their extra efforts as legally possible. But these fees paid by Medicare do not cover payments for time spent on phone calls, e-mails, and working insurance denials. These services are still considered by our system as gratis. To partially counteract this coding problem, doctors realized (and the government insisted) that doctors use electronic medical records.
But when independent doctors set out to implement these records they quickly discovered that the expense and long-term maintenance costs of local office-based EMRs could not compete with more sophisticated systems already in use by their neighboring large health care systems. Because of ever-increasing cost-of-living and overhead costs, not to mention the threats of large fee cuts, doctors have migrated to large health systems faster than ever. With the fancier electronic record at those systems (streamlined for billing, collections, and marketing) fields required for higher billing codes (but not always material to the problem at hand) are completed in less time. So are doctors really the problem?
Continue reading “Kill the Codes”
Filed Under: Physicians, THCB
Tagged: Billing Codes, Center for Public Integrity, Dr. Wes, ICD-10, Medicare, Medicare, Reimbursement
Sep 23, 2012
At HIMSS, I met with many healthcare CIOs as a part of CHIME focus groups to discuss their readiness for ICD-10. One area we explored was the impact of the delay. Most were a bit frustrated by the delay because they had committed the resources and money to an ICD-10 transition plan which was well underway. In some instances CIOs estimated they had expended at least 50 percent of the effort required to meet the compliance deadline. In fact, in one of the focus groups, 10 out of 12 participating CIOs said the delay will be more harmful than helpful. I heard two main reasons for this position:
1. Cost: Hospitals have already committed the resources and budget to transition to ICD-10, and now they will have to continue that effort for a longer period of time.
2. Engagement: It’s harder to engage staff around the importance of clinical documentation and coder education when the media is saying “delay, delay, delay” – it makes it difficult for leaders to convince providers and other stakeholders that it’s a critical priority.
A survey conducted by Edifecs validates this sentiment – 90 percent of healthcare professionals believe that the deadline should not be moved more than a year. Fifty-six percent said that a two-year delay would be “potentially catastrophic.”
However, for smaller physician practices, the delay likely has the opposite impact – more help than harm. Many of these practices were struggling to understand the impact of ICD-10 and find the resources to prepare for the October 2013 deadline. A delay gives them more time to put a plan in place, improve clinical documentation, and ensure they can get reimbursed for services.
Continue reading “Beyond Coding: Will the ICD-10 Deadline Delay Help or Harm?”
Filed Under: THCB
Tagged: Edifecs, HIMSS 2011, ICD 11, ICD-10
Mar 22, 2012
There has been a lot of buzz around two pieces of news –in one case, lack of news—in the past week. Last Thursday, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius responded to heavy pressure from the American Medical Association and announced a delay to the ICD-10 implementation deadline, currently set for October 2013.
Meanwhile, the health IT universe continues to wait with baited breath for Sebelius and/or leadership at CMS or ONC to publish the proposed regulations for Stage 2 of the “meaningful use” EHR incentive program. The proposal was supposed to have been out before 35,000 or so health IT industry types descended on Las Vegas for HIMSS12, but it was not to be. As with any major federal rule-making, the White House’s Office of Management and Budget has to vet every word, so it is out of Sebelius’ hands for the moment.
Rumors spreading through the Sands Expo Center and the adjacent Venetian and Palazzo hotels have pegged Wednesday or Thursday for the release date, since national health IT coordinator Dr. Farzad Mostashari is leading a session on Stage 2 meaningful use with other ONC and CMS representatives Wednesday morning, then delivering a keynote address the following day.
In the wake of the ICD-10 bombshell last week, HIMSS itself and other IT-related groups are telling their membership and anyone else who will listen not to slack off when it comes to ICD-10 preparedness. HIMSS CEO Steve Lieber noted in his annual press conference Tuesday that the official HHS statement said the department would “initiate a process to postpone the date by which certain healthcare entities” must meet the requirements. That, to Lieber, suggests the possibility of a delay for physician practices or perhaps small hospitals, but not for larger organizations. Continue reading “Live from HIMSS12: ICD-10, Meaningful Use & Social Media”
Filed Under: THCB
Tagged: Biz Stone, HIMSS 2012, ICD-10, Social Media, Steve Leiber, Twitter
Feb 22, 2012
Innovative thinkers and influential healthcare leaders aren’t relying on the decisions coming out of HHS to determine their strategy. Despite the fact that many healthcare organizations were on target to transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10, Health and Human Services (HHS) announced it would initiate a process to postpone the date by which certain healthcare entities have to comply with ICD-10.
The details of the delay have not been revealed, but industry experts are speculating that a one-two year delay is in the works. With only 20 months remaining to the Oct. 1, 2013 deadline, this leaves many organizations in limbo. Do they continue down the path of ICD-10 adoption, revise plans based on speculation about a new timeline or completely put the initiative on hold?
The leaders in healthcare never limited their thinking to a coding mandate. They were aligning their ICD-10 efforts with quality of care initiatives- EMR adoption and improved clinical documentation. They won’t hesitate, they won’t miss a step, and they will focus on providing exceptional care through improved processes, many of which will prepare them for a successful transition to ICD-10 and ICD-11.
The following areas of focus will improve quality of care, reporting and accuracy of reimbursement.
- Lead with purpose- understand the long-term impact of a coding mandate and help providers understand the alignment of greater specificity in coding with quality reporting, improved clinical documentation and clinical decision support.
- Take this time to improve clinical documentation- develop processes and feedback to improve how physicians and other providers document care. This effort will reap financial benefits and directly impact quality of care and reporting. Continue reading “Seizing the Opportunity in the ICD-10 Delay”
Filed Under: THCB
Tagged: Coding, HIMSS 2012, ICD-10
Feb 22, 2012
The case for leapfrogging ICD-10 and holding out for ICD-11 just got a lot more curious. And though it’s not here yet, when ICD-11 is ready, it will be something ICD-10 cannot: A 21st Century classification system.
Now that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has thrown her department’s hat in the ring, saying late Wednesday that HHS intends to delay ICD-10, the most pertinent question is how long will HHS push back compliance?
“My opinion is that CMS won’t be able to announce three months or six months of delay for ICD-10,” says Mike Arrigo, CEO of consultancy No World Borders (pictured at left). “They will need to announce a delay from October 1, 2013 to at least October 1, 2014 because of CMS fiscal planning calendars.”
Others in the industry are suggesting that even one year is not enough to lighten the burden on physicians, providers and payers enough to make the transition smoother.
“I have a gut feeling they’ll go for two years, who knows?” speculates Steve Sisko, an analyst and technology consultant focused on payers and ICD-10. “Maybe January 2015?”
No more mixed signals
There it is on the Department of Health and Human Services Web site, a crystal-clear headline atop a brief explanatory statement: HHS announces intent to delay ICD-10 compliance date.
“We have heard from many in the provider community who have concerns about the administrative burdens they face in the years ahead,” Sebelius said in the statement. “We are committing to work through the rulemaking process, with the provider community, to reexamine the pace at which HHS and the nation implement these important improvements to our healthcare system.”
Continue reading “If HHS Delays ICD-10 Long Enough, Could the U.S. Adopt ICD-11 Instead?”
Filed Under: THCB
Tagged: HHS, ICD 11, ICD-10, Kathleen Sebelius, WHO
Feb 19, 2012
Implementation of ICD-10s has been delayed “indefinitely.” Rather than opine on whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, I will note that it creates an opportunity for a simple but powerful improvement in the value of the coding.
Caveat: I am not a coding expert (I don’t even play one on TV) so there might be something wrong with this idea. The specific reason for the post is to find out whether there is some reason this can’t be done, given the value of doing it. (I am so unfamiliar with coding that it is possible this is already being done and I’m the last guy to find out about it, in which case perhaps John and Matthew would be kind enough to remove it.)
Quite simply, how about adding an optional ”R” for “rule-out” after the codes? For instance, today if a patient gets tested for diabetes and it turns out that he HAS diabetes, he gets coded “250″ in the ICD-9s. Whereas if it turns out the patient does NOT have diabetes, he still gets coded “250.” My proposal would code that (in ICD-9s) 250R.
By contrast, giving two opposite diagnoses the same code creates a cascading set of problems, in outcomes measurement, risk scoring, registries, disease management, reimbursement, and predictive modeling, problems that will be exacerbated as risk shifts down to the provider level and payors move to outcomes-based reimbursement.
Continue reading “Does ICD-10 Delay Create an Easy Opportunity for Coding Improvement?”
Filed Under: Electronic Health Records
Tagged: Al Lewis, ICD-10
Feb 16, 2012
After years of telling us they are serious this time and everyone in the health care system had better be ready on time to implement the new disease coding system, CMS said today the whole project is going to be delayed indefinitely.
The new ICD-10 system requires payers and providers to convert from the old system of 13,000 codes to the new system of 68,000 codes.
All payers and providers were supposed to be ready by October 1, 2013. The acting CMS Administrator said, “There is a concern that folks cannot get their work done around meaningful use [of information technology], ICD-10 implementation, and be ready for [insurance] exchanges. So we decided to listen and be responsive.”
Apparently, a new timeline will be developed through a “rule making process.”
Fine, but that has not been the message for months now and lots of people have spent lots of money for apparently no good reason.
The concerns that particularly physicians would not be ready on time have not been minor. CMS conducted a survey between January and March of 2011 that clearly showed there were big problems ahead. But in the year since that survey, they continued to tell stakeholders to keep going ahead full speed, spending big money to be ready.
But in the last few weeks, the American Medical Association has been sounding the alarm–their people wouldn’t be ready.
Sounds like the lowest common denominator in the health care system wins out.
Here are the results from a survey CMS conducted from January to March of 2011 by type of industry participant. AHIP is the insurance industry trade association, HBMA and AAPC are associations of industry coding and billing providers, ACP is the American College of Physicians and the AMA is the American Medical Association. The survey also measured readiness for the Version 5100 standards for electronic health transactions that were effective in January 2012, but for which enforcement has been delayed until March 31, 2012.
Continue reading “Oops! ICD-10 To Be Delayed Indefinitely. Never Mind!”
Filed Under: THCB
Tagged: AMA, CMS, ICD-10
Feb 15, 2012
We’re seeing a lot of pushback against ICD-10 implementation, with the American Medical Association’s “vigorous opposition” at the extreme. Gloom and doom types equate to potential IT disaster to Y2K. Ever since watching T. Bedirhan Üstün, M.D. — curator of the International Classification of Diseases, the master coding set from which ICD-10 is derived – present at the American Health Information Managers (AHIMA) annual meeting last October, a question’s been gnawing at me:
If flipping the switch on ICD-10 come Oct. 1, 2013 will be such a disaster as groups like the AMA claim it will be, then why didn’t it bring down the European and Asian health systems that implemented their own flavors of ICD-10 years ago?
The reporter in me – especially when hearing people couch ICD-10 in terms like “unfunded mandate” and “sky-is-falling” hyperbole – suspects it’s all about politics. During the course of debate in these times, it seems as if people on both the left and right resort to browbeating rhetoric faster than I’ve ever seen in my life. And why not? Reciting the catchphrase du jour requires far less reasoning than a well-constructed, original thought.
Continue reading “Why Didn’t ICD-10 Implementation Bring Down Europe’s Health System?”
Filed Under: THCB
Tagged: AMA, HIPAA 5010, HIT, ICD-10
Jan 10, 2012
2011 was a year of change and tumult. For a day by day look at the top stories of 2011, check out this impressive chart from the UK Guardian.
It was a year in which the economy sputtered worldwide, the Arab Spring toppled several regimes, and unprecedented acts of nature (severe weather, earthquakes) caused billions in worldwide damage.
What about the world of healthcare IT?
In 2011, Meaningful Use and Certification accelerated healthcare IT adoption and doubled implementation of EHRs throughout the country. Every aspect of the industry was stressed along the way
- Vendors were challenged to add the features necessary for certification resulting in some “haste makes waste” lack of usability and workflow integration. GE admitted its faults and should be congratulated for its honesty, since many other vendors had the same problems but did not communicate them.
- IT organizations created productivity miracles to meet meaningful use timeframes with limited staff and limited budgets. Many organizations will apply their meaningful use payments to general operations and not IT department budget increases, so the sacrifice of IT staff may remain unrecognized.
- Providers had to radically change workflows to accommodate new business processes, resulting in staff turnover and short term frustration.
Continue reading “A Look Back at 2011″
Filed Under: THCB
Tagged: BIDMC, HIE, HIT, ICD-10, Meaningful Use, REC
Dec 31, 2011