ICD-10/CAC Summit Speakers Discuss Thoughts on Industry Readiness

Although only six months separates AHIMA’s 2014 ICD-10-CM/PCS and Computer-Assisted Coding (CAC) Summit and the code set’s go-live date, Summit attendees still have time to get advice on the transition from the industry’s top experts.

To be held April 22 and 23 in Washington, D.C., the Summit boasts presentations by officials from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Susan H. Fenton, PhD, RHIA, FAHIMA, who will be co-presenting at the Summit, says the event is worthwhile for professionals in all parts of the healthcare industry.

“I think that, no matter how far along your plans are or how much planning you have done, it’s likely that you will learn something that will be very helpful for your organization,” Fenton says. “I use the analogy of a research project where you have many collaborators. You always seek external advice because a new perspective will reveal new ideas.”

Fenton, assistant dean for academic affairs at the University of Texas Health, School of Biomedical Informatics, Houston, will be presenting the results of a Veterans Administration (VA) ICD-10 coding pilot study with her counterparts from the VA.

Another highly anticipated presentation will be delivered by Aetna’s Brian Parkany, ARM, and Stacie J. Watson, MBA. Their presentation, “ICD-10 Collaborative Testing: Approach, Results, And Lessons Learned,” will cover results from Aetna’s own testing efforts.

“I think AHIMA members will be interested in information related to clinical categories that seem to indicate a higher variance between ICD-9 and ICD-10 results,” Watson says. “We will also be sharing information about some of the primary root causes of this variance which should also be of interest to the AHIMA audience.”

Fenton says she’s optimistic about industry readiness for the ICD-10 transition.

“I think back to other ‘sky is going to fall’ implementations and we survived. Two examples are the Y2K programming ‘crisis’ and the recent implementation of the healthcare.gov website. Everyone panicked for Y2K and it essentially was a non-issue,” Fenton says. “There were some bumps for the healthcare.gov rollout, but one of the positive things to come from that is increased testing for the ICD-10 implementation.”

Watson also describes herself as “cautiously optimistic.”

“Aetna has completed the remediation for all our core claim processing systems and began large scale internal testing as well as targeted external testing at the start of 2013, so we are confident we’ll be ready,” Watson says. “That said, all industry reports continue to indicate that providers [particularly some of the smaller provider groups] and vendors may be lagging behind in terms of ICD-10 readiness.”

Other top draws presenting at the Summit include Godwin Odia, PhD, NHA, RHIA, Senior Health Insurance Specialist/States Medicaid Programs, ICD-10 Implementation Lead, Division of State Systems, Data and Systems Group Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services, at CMS, who will present on “The State of Medicaid ICD-10 Readiness.” Additionally, Donna Pickett, MPH, RHIA, Medical Classification Administrator, with the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, Office of Planning and Extramural Programs, will speak on the impact of ICD-10 on public health.

Click here for registration information and here for the Summit agenda.

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