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Squirrels and dogs. This morning my hound chased yet another squirrel, crossing her invisible fence along the way. Just as my pup gets totally frustrated with chasing squirrels and never catching one, healthcare providers are continually faced with new regulatory requirements and deadlines. Costly, elusive and resource-draining, three of these deadlines are converging upon providers in 2014. So which one should you chase?

According to Nelly Leon-Chison, RHIA, director of coding and classification for the American Hospital Association, there are multiple initiatives that all require your attention. You need to chase all of them and three are interrelated:

  • ICD-10
  • Meaningful Use of EHRs, Stage Two
  • Healthcare Reform

At AHIMA’s recent ICD-10 Summit, Leon-Chison suggested providers create interrelated steering committees for these three initiatives, since the technology and resources to support them are interconnected. ICD-10 will be the enabler for these and many other requirements going forward.

Organizations that ignore ICD-10 preparations do so at the risk of getting repeatedly “shocked” by the invisible fence. There will be qualified personnel shortages in four key categories: clinical coders, clinical documentation experts, physicians and billers. When my dog crosses the barrier, her collar shocks her and constantly reminds her of her infraction.  Capital and human resources may be the “pain” your organization will suffer around ICD-10 when you’re out of people or money.

Further complicating the 2014 chase, HHS has also proposed a rule that would adopt a standard for three new identifiers.  These include:

  • A unique health plan identifier (HPID)
  • An “other entity” identifier (OEID)
  • A National Provider Identifier (NPI)

These new identifiers were announced as part of the ICD-10 compliance date announcement, so they are part of a larger initiative. And anytime the word “standard” is used by the federal government, things tend to get a little unpredictable. Just like those squirrels and the dogs that chase them.

TrustHCS wishes you the best of luck in your pursuit. We are here and ready to assist with know-how, technology partners, and educational resources. Now, I need to go find that dog!