Keeping Coding Skills Sharp and Spirits High During the ICD-10 Delay

Posted By Mary Butler in c~tinuance May 22, 2015

In this textile fabric series, HIM professionals working in emerging roles accord. advice on tackling difficult HIM problems.

The HIM Problem

The legislative and regulatory delays for the reach-live date for ICD-10-CM/PCS wish left some hospitals and physician practices shy about investing in training and teaching programs. While a “boy who cried wolf” syndrome exists in more corners of healthcare, forward-thinking organizations are ignoring the vagueness and keeping staff trained.


The HIM Problem Solver

Janis Leonard, RHIT, CCS, superintendent of HIM at Albany Medical Center, in Albany, NY

For hale condition systems that have been diligently preparing according to ICD-10-CM/PCS implementation, either delay of the go-live time has been a setback, both financially and in conditions of morale. Janis Leonard, RHIT, CCS, boss of HIM at Albany Medical Center in Albany, NY, says that the repeated delays possess been discouraging for her and her team, and that another delay would be “almost devastating” right to all the money the hale condition system has invested in training. Albany Medical Center has 740 beds, with 70,000 ER visits and 37,000 inpatient discharges by the year.

“It would be tough to re-affiance if it happened again,” Leonard says.

Leonard and her portion are taking an active approach to thwarting some other delay, a wise move considering the attempts ~ dint of. some in Congress to renew tarrying activities. Leonard regularly forwards advocacy updates from AHIMA and AHIMA’s New York ingredient state organization to her coders to comfort them to advocate for no procrastinate.

“Even the director of resigned financial services sent a letter to our Congressmen recently again saying ‘do not lingering,’ so we have our monetary people as well as our coders engaged in that initiative,” Leonard says.

Since her attitude reports to finance, Leonard says she has been favorable to have support for ongoing nurture efforts from the top of her organizing. Since management fully believes ICD-10 desire happen this year, they’ve been accommodating in allocating the funds toward it. Leonard is also fortunate to be the subject of physicians who have been active in supporting ICD-10 from the exceedingly beginning. Physicians are involved in helping to dignify ICD-10 awareness among their colleagues and they bring forth been active in clinical documentation bettering (CDI) initiatives.

Full Speed Ahead ~ward Training

Coders at Albany Medical Center are at no time without practice in ICD-10, so much as as they work in ICD-9. Leonard’s province continually offers refresher courses, via online modules, in therapeutic terminology, anatomy and physiology, and pharmacology in such a manner that coders are prepared for the increased specificity of the of the present day code set.

Leonard has put a greater focus on dual coding, which her team started doing in January of 2014. In addition to that, coders also have hebdomadal training in a classroom setting to which place they code cases in ICD-10, and ~al their responses with an instructor. Coders moreover are required to code 10 percent of cropped land work day’s cases in the two ICD-10 and ICD-9.

If there’s united area of concern for Leonard, it is by PCS coding, ICD-10’s proceeding coding system. She anticipates at in the smallest degree a 25 percent productivity loss on the PCS side. To make up on this account that the loss, her facility budgeted conducive to two additional full-time equivalents in the manner that well as for contract coders in quest of help for the first six months from go-live.

Within the last year, the readiness has revitalized its CDI program, which does not report to Leonard, grant that it does work very closely through coders, with whom it meets one time a week.

“CDI specialists be in possession of been querying for I-10 as far as concerns about a year now, and our state mix shows it. So, there has definitely been a haphazard of improvement with the documentation before that time. I think that we are forward a good path for documentation,” Leonard says.

Restructuring and Incentives

To relieve make coding jobs more enticing and improve morale, Leonard restructured coding positions at the hospital to produce a clearer career ladder. The readiness hired a training and performance supervisor whose sole job is training coders. Then they broke coders on the ground into positions including: coder 1, coder 2, elder coder, and lead coder.

“When we did this, we based [the do ~-work titles] on new qualifications, credentials and actual observation, and we swaddled people into their reinvigorated roles,” Leonard says. “And besides than half of coders received ~y increase in pay. We also with the understanding a recruitment and a retention honorarium that was paid out over sum of ~ units years with a work commitment of two years to incentivize our coders to stay fixed around after ICD-10 [implementation].”

Albany Medical Center’s new implementation of an electronic health records (EHR) hypothesis has been a boon to coder morale from the time of it allowed them to work from home. Allowing coders to moil from home serves the dual purpose of existence an excellent recruiting tool, as well while keeping existing coders happy in their jobs.

“We had been pushing in quest of it [the EHR] for several years and I cherish a thought of ICD-10 helped us with that. That was in our drudge plan, so we pushed it and it happened, and it’s been in truth tremendous,” Leonard says.

Mary Butler is the connect editor at The Journal of AHIMA.

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