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Integrated Solutions Lead
San Antonio, TX

Advanced knowledge of programming language(s), software development tools and environment(s) and systems analysis and functional design

ICD-10 Readiness for Small and Critical Access Hospitals

August 15, 2012
ICD-10 Readiness for Small and Critical Access Hospitals

As the ICD-10 deadline approaches, small hospitals and critical access hospitals will likely face challenges and significant changes to their operational, technology and financial processes.


Although ICD-10 presents complex concerns for small hospitals, there are specific opportunities for improvement through an efficiently executed ICD-10 assessment and implementation process. Taking a strategic approach to this process can help meet ICD-10 requirements within budget, without compromising the quality of patient care or the efficiency of reimbursement procedures.


Performing an ICD-10 Assessment

Small hospitals may be unaware of the extensive impacts and risks that an ICD-10 transition can have on its facility and operations.  An ICD-10 solutions provider can perform a readiness assessment tailored for small hospitals to identify areas in need of remediation, as well as develop a plan and budget.


A thorough assessment can identify risks and opportunities in the following areas:

  • Operations -  operational processes impacted by ICD-10 including coding and clinical documentation
  • Information Technology (IT) - review of internal systems and third party vendors
  • Finance - payer contracting, budgeting for ICD-10 implementation and planning for the potential cash flow impact


From determining the accuracy of coder skills to contingency planning, each level in an assessment can be crucial to the development of ICD-10 readiness and compliance.


Key Areas Affected by ICD-10

Small hospitals should utilize an established ICD-10 assessment methodology to effectively minimize productivity gaps and identify training opportunities for coders, physicians and ancillary departments.


Based on experience with larger hospitals, a successful ICD-10 implementation will require improvements in the following key areas:

  • Operations – implement training and process improvement initiatives to help ensure accurate ICD-10 coding and clinical documentation throughout the transition
  • Technology  –  prepare testing, deployment and stabilization plans to facilitate third-party product acceptance
  • Education – provide education programs for employees impacted by ICD-10, as well as to support organization-wide ICD-10 awareness
  • Revenue Cycle –  improve revenue cycle processes to support patient access, health information, coding and patient financial services
  • Governance – establish an ICD-10 steering committee to manage the overall implementation plan

ICD-10 Project Management

Early preparation for ICD-10 implementation is essential with key stakeholders and system vendors. It is important for small hospitals to form a dedicated ICD-10 steering committee to establish timelines and direction prior to the implementation stage.


This steering committee should lead budgeting decisions, guide the development of a thoroughly detailed work plan for remediation and issue an awareness campaign to gain ICD-10 user acceptance across your organization. The steering committee should also determine points of contact to manage ICD-10 strategies within specific operational, finance and IT departments.


Operating with limited resources, small hospitals can benefit from working with a solutions provider when transitioning to ICD-10. An ICD-10 solutions provider understands the challenges of ICD-10 and can adapt to each facility’s unique constraints, opportunities and vision while meeting regulatory requirements. Whether collaborating with an experienced ICD-10 solutions provider or independently managing an ICD-10 initiative, an affordable approach requires skilled resource utilization while maintaining the continuity of existing day-to-day operations.



Need help with ICD-10 implementation?

Contact Kforce Healthcare Solutions to learn more about ICD-10 best practices and cost effective solutions for small hospitals.



About the author

KforceKforce is a professional staffing and solutions firm providing flexible and permanent placement services, as well as outsourcing solutions, in the skill areas of technology, finance & accounting, healthcare and government. Kforce operates in more than 60 offices throughout the United States and one in the Philippines.

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Kforce is a professional staffing and solutions firm providing flexible and permanent placement solutions in the skill areas of technology, finance & accounting and healthcare. Kforce operates in more than 60 offices located throughout the United States and one office in the Philippines.
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