By Kathleen Casbarro
For the ICD-10 transition, it can pay to arrive early
Is Alex going to be late to the party when it comes to new documentation requirements?
Alex pushed his way through the crowd to the bar. “Hey,” he said, kissing the top of his wife’s head, “thanks for saving me a seat. It’s crowded in here tonight and it took me a long time to find a parking space.”
“I know!” Laura agreed. “The band that’s here tonight is very popular. Good thing I came in while you parked or we still wouldn’t have a seat — we’d have to dance.”
“We can dance in a minute.” Alex ordered and turned to Laura. “I was hoping we could talk a little bit more about the documentation issue first. Do you mind?”
“Of course I don’t mind. I really think there are some issues you haven’t considered.”
“I’ve been thinking about what you said,” Alex nodded, “and I think you’re wrong.”
A tall man in a polo shirt squeezed between them to order a drink.
“You think I’m wrong?” Laura tapped her feet to the music.
“You’re definitely getting the hang of this!” Laura shouted over the sound of laughter from a group behind her.
“Well, there are also things like whether something is recurrent or not. Which side of the body could be important, if it’s a mental or behavioral disorder associated with a physical injury. And of course there are lots more codes.” It seemed to Alex that Laura was listening more to the music than to him. “Okay, let me get to the point.”
Laura nodded brightly, swaying in her seat.
“I think maybe it’s easier for mental health practices because we’re already used to taking lots of notes.”
Laura looked skeptical. “How’s everyone taking to the new technology in the office?”
“Some people are having a little trouble, I guess.”
“Anybody still using paper as a back up?”
Alex had to admit there was still a certain amount of paper being used. “Some of the therapists like to do more graphic representations,” he said, thinking of the diagrams and doodles some of his colleagues used. “They already know what they mean by the sketches and symbols.”
“Maybe some people are resisting the change a little?” Laura was keeping time to the music with her shoulders.
“So do I,” said Laura. “At the preschool, we sometimes see tantrums over having to use the red crayon instead of the pink one or having to sit in a different seat from the usual one.”
“I think we’re professionals and we’ll be able to get past that.”
“Then let’s put it in different terms. Did you know that we teach the four year olds about inertia? A body at rest tends to stay at rest and a body in motion tends to stay in motion. We demonstrate it with toy cars.”
“So you’re saying that a mental health practice that does things a certain way tends to keep doing them a certain way?”
“I am saying that,” Laura smiled, taking her husband’s hand, “but I’m also saying that I am ready to get my body in motion, and I’m having trouble getting you to dance!”
Alex spun his wife onto the floor. He was sure she was underestimating his staff, but it was time to dance, not time to argue.