The ICD-10 Conundrum- “To Recruit, or Not to Recruit”
In the early months of 2014, the impending ICD-10 deadline resulted in healthcare providers scrambling to prepare for new coding standards. Most providers had not invested sufficiently into making the necessary updates and feared massive reimbursement losses. In April, Congress and President Obama agreed to delay implementation of the ICD-10 standard for medical diagnosis and billing codes to Oct. 1, 2015. This controversial move was met with mixed feelings; unprepared providers were relieved while those that had made massive investments to get up to date felt misled into taking action.
Early in 2014, The Healthsearch Group partnered with a leading health system in the New York Tri-State area to assist in the recruitment of a large number of Coder openings. After filling numerous senior roles, the deadline reprieve enabled the health system to re-engineer their short term and long term strategic plan. We have since filled several positions and continue to partner with them as they prepare for the future.
While some Healthcare organizations are taking advantage of the delay in a variety of ways, such as training staff, improving documentation integrity and conducting more robust testing, others remain weary and fear that their large financial investment into this change will once again go wasted if the date is yet again pushed back. The lack of a firm and clear path has led to much division within strategic efforts.
A recent study conducted in May and June found that most healthcare providers are using the 12-month ICD-10 reprieve to prepare for the new coding standard. To mitigate productivity loss, 68% of survey respondents plan to conduct extra training and practice, and 31% expect to hire more coders to help with the eventual transition. This will lead to an even tougher market as the Oct. 1, 2015 deadline approaches. “Is it worth hiring coders before the market turns desperate and fierce competition for experienced coders causes salaries to skyrocket? Many recruitment strategies are ‘on the table’ but being proactive is a must. As partners and advisors, we are confident that together we can find solutions.”
–Simon Gordon, Manager of Search Operations and Business Development