Monthly Archives: April 2015

Please Say It Isn’t So: Senator Calls for Two Year No Penalty Period for ICD-10 Compliance

In the seemingly never-ending drama surrounding the very long and very painful process that is called ICD-10 implementation in the United States, a freshman senator (and also physician) has called for a two-year no penalty period after the 10/1/15 compliance date.

Do you think there is a real chance this will stick?

Roland Hough.

From Rich:

It is with great sadness that I inform you that Roland Hough lost his battle with cancer this morning. Many of us old timers at AXIOM have known Roland now for 20 years or more. Roland was someone who left everyone with special memories. I most recently spoke with Roland when he let it be known that he was thinking about coming back to work for us and I discouraged him and asked him to take the time to get well. Roland was a charismatic and unique individual that could carry on an intelligent conversation about practically any subject that was interesting to you and who loved life fully.

I don’t intend to eulogize him here, and though I am immensely saddened by this news I think Roland would smile appreciatively if we each raised a toast to Roland for a life well lived.

May God be with you Roland.

5 Facts About ICD-10

CMS has done a great job of providing ICD-10 related information, education, and training opportunities to providers in regards to the ICD-10 implementation.  They just released a new communication that looks to be a continuing series of facts about ICD-10:

Five Facts about ICD-10
To help dispel some of the myths surrounding ICD-10, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently talked with providers to identify common misperceptions about the transition to ICD-10. These five facts address some of the common questions and concerns CMS has heard about ICD-10:

The ICD-10 transition date is October 1, 2015.
The government, payers, and large providers alike have made a substantial investment in ICD-10. This cost will rise if the transition is delayed, and further ICD-10 delays will lead to an unnecessary rise in health care costs. Get ready now for ICD-10.
You don’t have to use 68,000 codes.
Your practice does not use all 13,000 diagnosis codes available in ICD-9. Nor will it be required to use the 68,000 codes that ICD-10 offers. As you do now, your practice will use a very small subset of the codes.
You will use a similar process to look up ICD-10 codes that you use with ICD-9.
Increasing the number of diagnosis codes does not necessarily make ICD-10 harder to use. As with ICD-9, an alphabetic index and electronic tools are available to help you with code selection.
Outpatient and office procedure codes aren’t changing.
The transition to ICD-10 for diagnosis coding and inpatient procedure coding does not affect the use of CPT for outpatient and office coding. Your practice will continue to use CPT.
All Medicare fee-for-service providers have the opportunity to conduct testing with CMS before the ICD-10 transition.
Your practice or clearinghouse can conduct acknowledgement testing at any time with your Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC). Testing will ensure you can submit claims with ICD-10 codes. During a special “acknowledgement testing” week to be held in June 2015, you will have access to real-time help desk support. Contact your MAC for details about testing plans and opportunities.

Board of Directors Announced for Privately Funded Center for Medical Interoperability

The Center for Medical Interoperability recently announced their board of directors.  It includes names from several large and well established healthcare organizations such as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Johns Hopkins, and Cedars-Sinai Health System.  Per the press release,“It is vital that all forms of healthcare technology, including medical devices and electronic health records, be able to seamlessly exchange information so that the quality and safety of care can be improved and costs can be reduced.”

Is this a sign or things to come where private organizations try to find their own solutions to the continuing struggles w/healthcare interoperability?

ONC Has Stern Words for EHR Vendors and Providers Who Are Hindering Efforts to Share Health IT Data

Much like an obstinate child who is not eager to share his toys while playing with others, the ONC has without naming names wagged their finger at EHR vendors and providers of ‘data hoarding’.  As our healthcare industry continues to evolve to be able to work in a digital and information-centric environment, there are still growing pains.

Do you think ONC was correct in their assessment?  What hurdles do you think providers and vendors legitimately have to not fully share data?