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ICD-10: Mandate and Opportunity

Marianne Aiello, for HealthLeaders Media, November 13, 2011
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At Decatur County Hospital in Leon, IA, leadership is garnering physician and staff buy-in by helping them get comfortable with the new system long before it takes effect.

“If you’re going to present it as a lost cause as you start into it, it’s going to be one, so we try to keep everyone upbeat,” says Jeanne Vogel, medical records director and chief compliance officer for the critical-access hospital. “Every month for the past year at our medical staff meeting I talked about ICD-10. I try to keep them updated and I find they appreciate that.”

Decatur County Hospital is working with consultants to update its software and hopes to be ICD-10 compatible by 2012. Once computer systems are up-to-date, Vogel plans on having the staff practice inputting and documenting the new codes.

El Camino has created a clinical document improvement program to help turn ICD-10 into a positive outcome for physicians, patients, and the overall organization, Walton says.

“Already deployed we have two very highly credentialed experts working with physicians at the bedside to obtain the most accurate coding of the patient’s episode as possible,” he says. “They are the physicians’ go-to person for coding advice and clarity. They will lead the charge and work closely with our health information management team to educate all and then accurately express each episode using ICD-10.”

However, in El Camino’s ambulatory practice areas, physicians are more focused on obtaining meaningful use. Walton and his team are trying to educate physicians to improve their understanding of ICD-10 and have included hospitalists on the task force, but he worries they may be unmotivated when the changes occur.

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