HOS­PI­TALS

Modern Healthcare - - HEALTH IT -

“Aside from a few tech­ni­cal

glitches, so far so good,” said Dr. Stephen Michaels, vice pres­i­dent of med­i­cal af­fairs and chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer at 90-bed MedS­tar St. Mary’s Hos­pi­tal, Leonard­town, Md. Michaels was the hos­pi­tal’s lead physi­cian on the ICD-10 con­ver­sion. He at­trib­uted the brief tech­ni­cal dif­fi­culty to switch­ing to ICD-10 while phas­ing out legacy IT sys­tems. He said the oth­er­wise smooth con­ver­sion to a sin­gle IT plat­form came from a lot of plan­ning and prepa­ra­tion.

Michaels said the hos­pi­tals had been work­ing to­ward Oct. 1 since last De­cem­ber. A 10-mem­ber com­mit­tee in­cluded lead­ers from tech­nol­ogy, rev­enue cy­cle, fi­nance, both in­pa­tient and out­pa­tient physi­cians and se­nior lead­er­ship, “but there were mul­ti­ple sub­com­mit­tees with mul­ti­ple mem­bers,” he said. “We’re talk­ing peo­ple meet­ing weekly for months and months and months.”

“Physi­cians ap­pear to be calm and sta­ble about it. So far, I’m very happy,” Michaels added.

But even with hos­pi­tals, there is an el­e­ment of un­cer­tainty.

“They’re not ex­pect­ing any­thing sig­nif­i­cant or any­thing to break,” said Russ Branzell, pres­i­dent and CEO of the Col­lege of Healthcare In­for­ma­tion Man­age­ment Ex­ec­u­tives, a pro­fes­sional as­so­ci­a­tion of chief in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cers, pre­dom­i­nately at large hos­pi­tals and health sys­tems.

Still, Branzell said, or­ga­ni­za­tions are ap­proach­ing the code change

with cau­tion.

“The real test will be claims flow as we near the end of the month,” he said. “They’re go­ing to have to do some pretty close claim ad­ju­di­ca­tion watch­ing.”

The pos­si­bil­ity of de­layed claims “is a con­cern,” Hock said. “I don’t mean cat­a­clysmic cash-flow im­pacts. But you talk about the im­pact of three to 10 days in ac­counts re­ceiv­able, that’s a big im­pact for most hos­pi­tals. It’s just these lit­tle pa­per cuts about de­nials and de­lays in cod­ing” that will wound, he said.

Payer readi­ness, par­tic­u­larly Medi­care and Med­i­caid, is another un­known.

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