Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Journey to 10

Destination: ICD-10
Total Miles: unknown
Total Cost: TBD

Well, it's almost upon us!

Doomsday: October 1st, 2015.

Tomorrow is the day...will the world of healthcare come to complete stop? Will healthcare insurance come grinding to a halt in payments? Will. We. Survive?! (no. no. and yes.)


Back up.

What is ICD-10, you are asking? And why are you on a "journey" to it?

ICD-10 is a code classification system that allows the healthcare provider to use a specific diagnosis code to communicate what is wrong with you when you go for a visit. The current system is ICD-9 and about 20-30 years out-of-date. The rest of the world uses ICD-10 (if they use a system), and they have for years.

Perspective: If you had gone today to see a healthcare provider to be diagnosed with ebola, there is not a code in ICD-9 to diagnose you with it. And there is no way to create a code in ICD-9 to let your insurance company know what you were seen and treated for at that visit.

So, our practice (and every practice in America) is updating to the new system tomorrow. On a patient level, it really should not affect your visits. It will mean, if used correctly, that your diagnoses will be more specific (so that when you bring your child back for a f/u for that ear infection, the provider will now be able to look at the previous diagnosis code and know if it was right/left/bilateral without having to question you or dig through the notes).

On a practice level, it's a lot of prep. Which I won't go into because it would not make much sense...suffice to say that for about 6 1/2 months, my team and I have been going to meetings, watching webinars, attending classes, batching test claims, and converting hundreds of templates to the new codes to make sure the whole place transitions smoothly.

What does this have to do with road trips and journeys you may ask?

Well, my iPhone defines journey as "A long and often difficult process of personal change and development." And this process has seen a lot of personal growth. I've learned things about healthcare that will better help me serve my patients. I've learned a small portion of how much goes into the billing department which will better help me understand the hard work and effort it takes to communicate effectively with insurances companies.

And I've learned a lot about myself:

I am not much for desk childhood issues involving attention deficits and procrastination have been major hurdles over which I have labored to jump.

I have commitment issues when it comes to labeling specific templates...rumor has it that "unspecified" codes (codes that are not as specific in labeling) will not be paid out...and there are A LOT of unspecified codes.

I do not know my alphabet as well as I should at my age. The ICD-10-CM draft is divided into two sections, both of which are alphabetized (think massive index that is over 1100 pages long). I have found myself singing the alphabet song more than any adult my age should just to remember where K comes in the alphabet. #facepalm

I am borderline OCD about labeling and really have to work against trying to control every little thing about the templates.

I do not know nearly enough medical knowledge. Which is humbling.

I am in love with my practice. With the support they give me every day. With the countless little moments each provider has taken to answer my (very) random questions about various topics and diseases. With the staff members who have encouraged me to persevere. With the management who have tirelessly worked with the team to transition smoothly and accurately. With my fellow ICD-10 team members who have sacrificed more than any one will know to make this thing work.

And work it shall.

At the beginning of the project during one of our meetings, I was reminded of a quote that I read when I worked night shift at the applies so well to life, to road trips, to the journey of countless miles:

And make the turn, we shall!