“Make sure to do an [ ICD-10 ] assessment,” said Tom Durel, CIO of Valley Baptist Health System in Harlingen, Texas.

Durel told FierceHealthcare that an assessment will help determine scope. At Valley Baptist, there are 70 systems that depend on ICD codes to run. An assessment will also help answer :

How much will it cost us?
How long will it take?
When will software suppliers have code available?
What sequence should things be done in to hit the Oct. 1, 2013 deadline?

“… if you don’t do an assessment and just start down the path, it could get pretty well out of control pretty quickly,” Durel said. His system is about 80 percent finished with its assessment.

Many providers and hospitals are putting off ICD-10 conversions, because they are already struggling with EHR and meaningful use. Funding is another challenge. Durel has heard from people who don’t think ICD-10 is a big deal. He thinks otherwise.

“… if you don’t get it right, you’re not going to get any bills out after Oct. 1, 2013,” Durel said.

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