LAS VEGAS – The enigmatic duration of HHS’ intended delay of ICD-10 is giving payers and providers hope for a little breathing room when it comes to training coders – but it simultaneously creates a need to ratchet up employee retention efforts.
As such, providers need to plan for both training and retention regardless of what new deadline HHS might issue for ICD-10 compliance, said Bonnie Cassidy, AHIMA past-president during a presentation at HIMSS12 on Wednesday.
Some coders, for instance, learned ICD-10 decades ago via on-the-job-training, others came out of college programs, and while those different coders might have different approaches to learning ICD-10, many will likely need Anatomy and Physiology training in order to use ICD-10, be it for the first time or as a refresher.
How much time will you dedicate to training? Will you enable them to learn ICD-10 on the job, or expect that they do so on nights and weekends?
And how much will it cost? Cassidy pointed to an AHIMA survey of 600 HIM directors that found “hospitals may be greatly underestimating the amount of money it will take to train coders for ICD-10-CM/PCS.”
Many are thinking it will cost $2,000 per coder. Cassidy recounted one HIM director who put in a $2,000 budget request for training each coder, and got back $400.
“It’s not going to get done for $100,” Cassidy said.
Alongside the training Cassidy urged attendees, in turn, to consider retention – most important once the training and certification money has been spent.
“What are you doing to keep employees that have been trained and certified?” Cassidy asked. “You have to know your staff.”
Indeed, some providers are already seeing ripple effects of the delay particular to staffing. Tom Pacek, CIO of South Jersey Healthcare during a panel discussion in Monday’s ICD-10 symposium that, despite a new compliance deadline, his hospital plans to push forward – but that talk of the push back has already made it harder to convince human resources of the need to replace some coders that recently left their jobs. “This has created more headaches for me,” Pacek sad.