Today was the second day of the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) National Institute in Orlando, Florida. As expected, it’s a warm, sunny day in Florida and the buzz is what’s coming next for health care as we continue to move forward.
Part of today’s conversation focused on health organizations that began planning for ICD-10 over four years ago as well as those that are just starting their implementation efforts. Across the industry, forums like this HFMA one are key in allowing us to leverage each other’s lessons learned and really accelerate our approaches. My hope is that providers use these insights to employ strategies that not only facilitate operational efficiencies and financial improvements, but also will get everyone to the finish line in time. There are lots of meetings like this where hospitals compare notes about the status of ICD-10 implementation but lots of questions remain. For instance “How do I focus our testing efforts on the most critical scenarios so I minimize any testing regrets post-go-live?,” “Will my coders be trained in time for ICD-10?,” and “What’s the most effective thing I can do to engage our physicians?” to name the top three. And the one question I wish they’d ask more frequently is this: “How significant are the financial impacts on my bottom line, and what do I need to do now to remain financially stable (and healthy!) through this transition???”
In my national role, I get to work with all types of providers across the nation, and the topics of testing, clinical documentation, education, physician engagement are all very important, along with many more things I could list. But one thing that cannot be underestimated is the need to fully understand how ICD-10 will financially impact your organization. The potential risks are too great, and providers know they can’t just “wait and see” how their claims will be affected after the go-live date—simply put, it’s a gamble no one wants to take. Instead, more and more providers are working with us to conduct their financial analyses today, and they are taking proactive steps to engage and test with payer counterparts to further understand how the transition will impact them financially.
I know that many of the conversations that I had today will continue into tomorrow as we gear up for the year ahead, and cross the finish line on October 1, 2014.