should be a top revenue cycle issue and HIM priority (if it isn’t already for your organization). To effectively transition to ICD-10, staffing augmentation plans must be developed now, particularly in clinical documentation improvement, clinical coding and revenue cycle integrity.
Two strategies for staffing augmentation are to build and to buy: grow your own staff and outsource for back-up support.
Build a Team—and Grow
The “grow-your-own” strategy requires providers to identify internal ICD-10 experts now and ensure they receive in-depth training. Once trained, these experts serve as the organization’s ICD-10 specialists to lead ongoing staff development efforts. You can use a variety of instructional materials and learning approaches, including:
- onsite classes
- web-based materials
- partnerships with local community colleges
Costs for a “grow-your-own” program vary based on the existing knowledge base in biomedical sciences (anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, advanced medical terminology, and pharmacology) and the training methodology used.
The best candidates for internal education are:
- coders who currently work in outpatient coding areas and who are familiar with CPT coding
- nurses and other ancillary professionals
- medical transcriptionists
Buy a Team—Secure Outsourcing Partners
Coding, billing, and CDI outsourcing companies are all recruiting from the same labor pool. So contracting for the best and brightest professionals now, rather than waiting until 2014, is critical. Below is a checklist of sample questions and talking points to ensure you’re covering all bases when searching for qualified outsourcing partners:
- Productivity, Quality, Turnaround Time
- Technical Support: Provider and Vendor
- Sufficient Ramp-Up Time: Average on-boarding time for an outsourced coding vendor is 40 to 60 days.
- ICD-10 Competency
Many healthcare provider organizations are financially unable to take advantage of both internal and external options. If your internal resources do not allow the “build” approach, arm yourself with enough “buy” research to fit an outsourcing partner to your specific needs.
Stay tuned for next month’s blog on my recommendations for a multi-partner approach.