CMS: Government shutdown won’t jeopardize ICD-10 transition
However, uncertainty surrounds ICD-10 Coordination Center, ombudsman
While officials from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services could not say definitively on a media call Thursday what the status of the agency’s new ICD-10 Coordination Center and its ombudsman would be in the event of a government shutdown on Oct. 1, they did maintain that the transition itself will go on as planned.
Agencies, including CMS, are in the process of reviewing contingency plans in case Congress can’t come to a budget agreement, according to FierceGovernment. But CMS Principal Deputy Administrator Patrick Conway and William Rogers, the agency’s new ICD-10 ombudsman, said it was yet to be determined how critical the coordination center and the ombudsman position would be to the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10.
“We just don’t know, honestly,” Rogers said. “There are different legal issues that have to be considered about what are emergency operations and what aren’t. People who aren’t in this room are deciding what we can legally do and what we can’t do in case of a shutdown in terms of staffing here at CMS.”
Despite that uncertainty, Conway assured members of the media that provider claims would not be jeopardized if the government shuts down. CMS, he said, has the staffing flexibility to ensure “core operations” will remain in full effect.
“In the event of a shutdown, we will continue–and I want to be clear on this–to pay claims, to implement the ICD-10 transition,” Conway said.
In terms of updates on the transition after Oct. 1, Conway said CMS will monitor the transition in as close to real-time as possible, but added it likely would be a few weeks before the agency could offer a full review of those efforts.
“Medicare claims take several days to be processed, and can take approximately two weeks. Medicaid claims can take up to 30 days to be submitted and processed. For this reason, we expect to have more detailed information after a full billing cycle is complete,” he said. “We would, of course, communicate transparently with our various stakeholders about how the transition has progressed.”
September 24, 2015
CDC: Travelers from Liberia No Longer Screened for Ebola
Travelers entering the United States from Liberia will no longer be screened for the Ebola virus starting on Monday, September 21, 2015, according to a statement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Liberia was declared free of Ebola transmission by the World Health Organization (WHO) on September 3. The last person who had a confirmed case of the virus tested negative for the second time on July 22. The country is now in a 90-day period of heightened surveillance.
The CDC and Department of Homeland Security will no longer evaluate travelers from Liberia at any of the five enhance entry screening airports. Therefore, these travelers will be able to enter the US at any airport. Although these particular people will no longer be screened, those coming from other West African countries will still be required to go through the process.
“Entry screening and monitoring will not change for travelers entering the United States from Guinea or Sierra Leone,” the statement clarified. “This includes travelers from Liberia who have also traveled to either Guinea or Sierra Leone within the previous 21 days.”
Regardless of the update, the CDC advises that healthcare providers still follow protocol which includes screening all patients for travel, assessing exposure history, and following guidelines for those who show symptoms of Ebola. In addition, the organization reminds clinicians of other infectious diseases that can be acquired from traveling, such as malaria.
For more information on Ebola or evaluating travelers, visit the CDC website.
Some ICD-10 Insight
At this point, it’s a good idea to conduct one last check to re-confirm if your payers will be ready to accept ICD-10 codes on 10/1, your respective clearinghouse testing has been completed, the physicians and staff in your group are comfortable with the new code set, and your medical software is ready. If you are Lytec Practice Management software user with versions 2014 or 2015, consider yourself halfway there–most likely some mapping may be in order. CureMD software users all have the same ICD-10 compliant version but there could be some finishing touches to work on as well.
Besides the MediPro Community and MediPro Blog, I ran across another good resource for all the Medicare Fee-For-Service Providers. This page could certainly overstimulate your senses with information or be just what you’ve been looking for. Click here to access.
For those who are close to becoming an ICD-10 expert or would simply like to reaffirm last minute inquiries, click here to view the ICD-10 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section on the cms.gov website.
Well, the next few months will be the true test of claims, clearinghouses, and payers as undoubtedly there will be various outcomes experienced by all no matter how much preparation was conducted. On the eve of September 30th, maybe I’ll feel another urge to post and wish everyone well, to stay calm and remember that MediPro, Inc. will be alongside of your practice during the transition.
14 and rounding the corner
We are rounding the ICD-10 corner with 14 days left until this “historic undertaking” envelops the healthcare industry with the change over to the ICD-10 code set. Are anxiety levels high, are medical offices and billing services encountering head scratching moments of coding confusion, are providers taking out additional lines of credit? Unfortunately, the answers to these questions seem to be a resounding ‘YES’.
I certainly don’t want to age myself however I can still vividly remember all of the uncertainty regarding Y2K (life as we knew it would change; computer programs were forecasted to crash, availability of electricity could be compromised, and grocery stores shelves were emptied in preparation for this technological disaster.) More specifically in the healthcare industry, there were also those moments in time when NPI numbers were front and center, along with the shift to 5010. From my operational viewpoint, there is a recurring theme with these events…fearing the unknown. While fear is a normal human emotion, it can certainly take a front seat in life and cause less than desirable health outcomes like anxiety and depression.
One thing we do have control over is how we react to ICD-10 related situations or issues once the month of October hits. For those who may be filled with anxiety due to this inevitable change, deep breathing exercises has always been a good tactic for me. Some experts suggest talking a walk on your break or lunch hour, getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, or laughing out loud. While these may be short term fixes, they can help you or your team members through the day. Instead of combing through hundreds of ICD-10 articles or how to’s on the Internet in frustration, take a look at our customer centric MediPro Community with an entire section devoted to ICD-10 information and direct resources. Or explore the MediPro Blog with an easy-to-use categorization format.
When this transition is all said and done, I predict one day we’ll look back and wonder how we even coded and billed with ICD-9. An optimistic viewpoint, maybe. The reality is that most if not all healthcare professionals will be undergoing similar struggles and if you can supersede those anxious thoughts and feelings, the fear of the unknown may not be so bad.
How Online Medical Crowdsourcing Helped Save a Life
“There are many advantages to medical crowdsourcing. It truly has the potential to save lives all across the world.
The days of playing phone tag to try to get a curbside consult are finished. “
There is nothing more horrifying in the world than a parent watching their child get sick and die. Unfortunately, it happens for many reasons. Doctors try their best to save lives, and it is terrible for us as well when we are treating very sick patients, especially children. Sometimes, we need help from our peers, but in this day and age, it can be difficult to chase down a colleague for an added opinion. That is when medical crowdsourcing can literally help save a life.
On SERMO (the largest social network exclusive to physicians), the scenario of doctors collaborating to save lives occurs on a daily basis. Doctors are saving lives by crowdsourcing their collective wisdom. In a dramatic case presented recently by a Canadian physician, a little girl’s life was saved by using this resource. Sadly, her brother had died 2 weeks prior due to an aggressive E. Coli0157:H7 infection. When the little girl started becoming ill with similar symptoms, her treating physician immediately presented her case from Canada to the SERMO community in hopes of preventing her from dying as well.
Within minutes, he started receiving suggestions from doctors all across the globe and from many specialties. Several physicians from the US started recommending diagnostic tests that should be performed. A fellow Canadian physician suggested testing the remaining family members and the drinking water in the home as well. From South Africa, another physician suggested taking a history of all the places that were visited recently to find the source. This little girl lived, and surely the input from this crowdsourcing experience contributed to saving her life. It may even have saved others as well by the recommendations to trace the source of infection to prevent others from falling ill.
Why should you use crowd-sourcing?
♦ It is easy to do. A doctor has access to thousands of doctors at their fingertips. It is much easier to send out a query through online channels than trying to phone a colleague. We have all played phone tag trying to connect with specialists in the past.
♦ You can get many opinions at once. None of us know everything, so the more help we can get, the better. It is often helpful to get different suggestions. Not all doctors do things the same way, and I have learned many pearls through crowdsourcing.
♦ It is open 24/7. Now with the world at our fingertips, the internet is always open. We can log on any time of the day and find someone available.
♦ Some of the leading experts give their advice as well. We all learn from each other.
There are many advantages to medical crowdsourcing. It truly has the potential to save lives all across the world. The days of playing phone tag to try to get a curbside consult are finished. We now have a world full of doctors available with a few keystrokes on our computers and mobile device. Any doctor who has not implemented this tool in their daily practice stands to lose much. Shouldn’t we all be using this?
Source: Linda Girgis, MD Physician’s Weekly Medical Blog