By Dava Stewart
Anyone working in the field of healthcare knows exactly what ICD-10 is, why meaningful use is important, and the ins and outs of HIPAA. However, it is not easy to stay up-to-date on the constant flow of information surrounding each issue. Here’s a quick run-down of current news:
While it has been around for more than 20 years, ICD-10 has yet to be implemented in the U.S. The most recent deadline was October 2014, and implementation was delayed yet again. The current deadline is now set for October 2015.
An article in the Journal of AHIMA recently reported a “select group of physicians and physician groups have begun advocating for an additional two-year delay to the implementation of ICD-10-CM/PCS. In response, AHIMA and the Coalition for ICD-10 have launched its own advocacy efforts to keep the ICD-10 implementation date at Oct. 1, 2015.”1-2 So, while some physicians groups advocate the delays, other groups are fighting for it to be implemented sooner rather than later.
The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) has provided several resources to help DCs and their staffs get ready for the switch. The best way to make sure your office doesn’t face any bumps in the road when the transition finally does take place is to be prepared and to maintain that preparation for as long as necessary.
Meaningful use (MU) is important for DCs who have purchased electronic health records (EHR) systems and are receiving federal stimulus money. It is designed to make sure hospitals and eligible professionals (the category where most DCs fall) are actually using the computer systems and software that the stimulus money helped purchase.
Stage 1 MU was implemented in 2010-2012, and in 2014, MU Stage 2 has come into play. The standards of Stage 2 are more onerous than those of Stage 1, and the deadline for attestation has been pushed from Nov. 30, 2014, to Dec. 31, 2014.3-4
Some professional associations and individual practitioners are calling for the end of MU, citing statistics that seem to show it is increasing the digital divide, among other complaints.5
The ACA has provided detailed information and additional resources for DCs who are participating in the federal program.
The Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) has been around long enough that even patients are aware of the law. Most of the recent news surrounding HIPAA involves breaches in security, lawsuits, and audits. The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare (CMS) recently released a bulletin reminding healthcare providers of their responsibility in maintaining patient privacy, even in Ebola cases, but such things are unlikely to have any impact on the practices of DCs.
Although recent news regarding HIPAA may not be relevant to many chiropractic practices, one factor that is perennially important is audits. DCs and their staffs need to have a clear understanding of how to remain in compliance and should be aware of what will happen if they are audited. The ACA has provided a range of resources to help, from risk assessment tools to guides on using social media.
1Butler M. “Physician Groups Push for Two-Year ICD-10 Delay on Capitol Hill.” Journal of AHIMA. http://journal.ahima.org/2014/11/24/physician-groups-push-for-two-year-icd-10-delay-on-capitol-hill/. Updated December 2014. Accessed December 2014.
2iHealthBeat. “Groups Call for ICD-10 Delay; AHIMA Opposes Extension.” California Healthcare Foundation. http://www.ihealthbeat.org/articles/2014/12/4/groups-call-for-icd-10-delay-ahima-opposes-extension. Published December 2014. Accessed December 2014.
3Wachter R. “Meaningful use: Born 2009 – died 2014?” Healthcare IT News. http://www.healthcareitnews.com/blog/meaningful-use-born-2009-died-2014. Published November 2014. Accessed December 2014.
4Conn J. “CMS pushes back Medicare EHR incentive attestation deadline.” Modern Healthcare. http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20141124/NEWS/311249945/cms-pushes-back-medicare-ehr-incentive-attestation-deadline. Updated November 2014. Accessed December 2014.
5McCann E. “Is meaningful use widening the digital divide?” Government Health IT. http://www.govhealthit.com/news/meaningful-use-widening-digital-divide. Published November 2014. Accessed December 2014.