The government has given the health care sector three major initiatives to be implemented within the same five year period – the HI TECH Act, Health Care Reform, and ICD10 migration. In reality, these three separate laws are tangled together with deadlines, costs, and consequences for noncompliance. The success or failure of one affects the others also. All three impact patient care, compliance, and revenue for providers. No stress here! Most providers are still not aware of the cause and effect, much less the details, of each law.
I am not going to discuss the details of the individual laws here. However, I do want to emphasize the importance of having knowledge of the laws, an overall plan for how to proceed, and a detailed action plan for meeting compliance. Those of us in health care have used the ‘head in the sand approach’ for too many years, which is frankly what has caused this mess in the first place. Whether or not we agree with the new laws is moot. They are here, and now we must identify the strategies we will use to move forward. It will be up to you to identify how these new laws will impact your organization. You need to identify what is impacting you now and what will impact you at each phase of implementation over the next five years. Your organization’s response to the laws must be controlled and driven by you, or someone else will take over your organization. If it is bigger than you can handle by yourself, ask questions and get help. There are strategists, management consultants, and professional associations ready to help you, but you have to initiate the discussion.
If you don’t even know what questions to ask or what actions to take to get started, that is okay. Recognize that most organizations are in the same quandary.
As a starting point, identify the key people in your organization, bring them together, and design a strategy to get into compliance. Don’t know how you’ll fund all the changes? Learn about alternative funding programs. Don’t paralyze your organization because you don’t know the answers to your questions. Use the road map approach and ask the following questions:
1) Where is my organization right now in relation to the requirements of the new health care laws (HITECH, Health Care Reform, and ICD10 migration)?
2) What are the various deadlines I need to know?
3) Where does my organization fit in this new health care world?
4) What education do I and/or my staff need to get?
5) How do I get started?
6) Who is my team of strategists, consultants, or professional associations?
The only thing faster at breaking an organization than new laws is a leader in denial. Identify your organization’s strategy now so the daily operations of patient care, compliance, and the revenue cycle can be as healthy as possible during the race of implementation.