ICD-10, Eagle Scouts, and Panic

Panic.

It’s what I felt when it suddenly dawned on me that it was two weeks before my son’s 18th birthday and he had yet to achieve his Eagle Scout. He’d completed almost all the merit badges and other requirements over the past six years, but it seems the pursuit slowly fell further off of his (and my) priority list over time. Now all that was left was a final Eagle Scout Project and he was done! But it was literally 14 days until his birthday, and he hadn’t submitted a proposal or planned anything.

And so . . . panic.

Luckily, one of my KLAS employees owns a nonprofit, Footsteps For Africa, and was in the midst of collecting goods for a humanitarian initiative. For my son’s project, he decided to organize a clothing, shoe, and blanket drive in our community as part of this humanitarian effort. My son hounded all the necessary people to get the project approved as quickly as possible, we solicited the help of the troop who distributed flyers, and on the appointed day, we collected the goods—around 100 garbage bags full of items in total.

With only a day to spare, the project was completed with a successful result. I don’t know what the record is for fastest Eagle project from planning to completion, but this would have given it a run for its money.

Although the ICD-10 transition has been delayed until October 2014, many providers may find themselves in a situation like mine: needing a blitz of coordinated effort to achieve their goal by the time the deadline hits. As in my son’s case, it’s easy to push off an important event when the deadline is many months or years away. For hospitals, focus has been diverted to dealing with more immediately impactful healthcare changes, such as meaningful use and Medicare reimbursements.

KLAS found in two recent ICD-10 perception and consulting reports that as providers come to understand the impact the ICD-10 transition will have on their organizations, they are ramping up their preparations. More than ever, providers are reaching out to third-party firms to do organization-wide readiness assessments. Several providers have told KLAS that they were shocked at just how far-reaching the ICD-10 changes would be in their health system, realizing it would involve nearly every department. Last week, KLAS had its highest attendance ever for one of our webinars. The topic? ICD-10.

While many providers are stepping up their game and targeting ICD-10 more prominently on their radars, there are still many who are taking for granted the time they have left. Although panic mode won’t set in for anyone for a while, coders, trainers, and third-party resources will likely become increasingly scarce.

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