5 Minutes with... Chuck Buck

BC Advantage (BCA): Tell us about yourself, your training, and how you came to focus on ICD-10 as part of your core business.
Chuck Buck (CB):
  I am the senior vice president of new media for Panacea Healthcare Solutions-the parent company for RACmonitor and ICD10monitor. In that capacity, I serve as the publisher of RACMonitorEnews and ICD10monitorEnews. I am also the executive producer and program host for "Monitor Mondays" and "Talk-Ten-Tuesdays," two live Internet radio broadcasts. I come to this position after having been a newspaper reporter and an on-camera media analyst for KFMB-TV, the San Diego CBS-TV affiliate. I have been a radio and TV writer and producer. News is my keen interest.

Having started RACmonitor in December 2008, and watching it succeed, we decided that readers and listeners would benefit if we were to provide a comparable news and information source on the emergence of ICD-10. We launched both the e-news and the radio broadcast in May 2011.

BCA: Can you describe a typical workday for you?
I work in La Jolla, California, north of San Diego, so I'm on West Coast time. That means my job really begins around 4:30 a.m. every morning and usually ends at 6:30 p.m. I spend the early morning hours reviewing online news and information, particularly the government websites for developing stories. I also read each and every email that comes from listeners and readers, looking for areas of difficulty they are experiencing in hopes of writing articles on those subjects or developing features for each of two broadcasts. We publish a weekly e-newsletter for ICD-10, so much of my time during the day is spent reviewing and editing stories from our contributing editors.  Crunch days for me are every Thursday and Friday as we prepare for both broadcasts and put the ICD10monitorEnews to bed. I write and executive-produce both broadcasts which also entails booking interesting guests. I also write feature stories for both e-newsletters and write special bulletins on breaking or developing stories.

BCA: On your Talk Ten Tuesday radio show, what kind of information do you focus on providing your listeners with?
Unless there is an important event or a developing story, each live broadcast is 30 minutes. For major stories, our broadcasts are 60 minutes. My co-host Kim Charland, senior vice president of consulting services for Panacea Healthcare Solutions, creates an ICD-10- focus question for a poll we conduct at the top of each broadcast. We are keenly interested in providing listeners with the latest news as it relates to ICD-10. Just recently we brought together several stakeholders who testified before the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics (NCVHS) to provide highlights of their testimony. This same program also featured a representative from the American Medical Association, Nancy Spector. Our listeners heard the concerns held by the AMA and they also heard from stakeholders a sense of collaboration between both factionsa somewhat groundbreaking experience. We also, in the same broadcast, featured the president and CEO for the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) outline the association's recommendations for implementing ICD-10.

BCA: How do you stay on top of the ever-changing rules, regulations, and news that our industry faces?
Our news team monitors the government websites and uses social media to track developing stories.

BCA: With the implementation date for ICD-10 now set for October 1st, 2015, do you think that the additional time will be enough time for those people who were dragging their feet with their 2014 preparation plans?
I would like to believe that those facilities that were on track to be compliant by October 2014 will continue with their implementation and will work with their clearinghouses to conduct end-to-end testing. For those facilities that were falling behind, hopefully this time they'll make up lost ground. My concern is about those critical access hospitals and small private practices; limits on resources are a real constraint. 

BCA: What do you think that people who were as prepared as they could be before the one-year delay should focus on now that there is an additional 15 months before the transition into ICD-10?
From my various conversations with subject matter experts, I believe they're correct in stressing that those organizations focus on clinical documentation to improve-that's the lynch pin for either ICD-9 or ICD-10.

BCA: What do you feel was most beneficial in your training to become an ICD-10 specialist?
I am merely a reporter, not an ICD-10 specialist.

BCA:  What has been the most reoccurring question from your listeners and/or website readers?
The question I hear and read so often has to do with CMS and Congress holding firm to what is expected to be the October 2015 implementation. Keep in mind this is the fourth delay the country has experienced since ICD-10 was first introduced in September 2009.

BCA:  What advice would you give someone looking to obtain the right tools and information needed to become an ICD-10 specialist?
Although I am not an ICD-10 specialist, the ones who are seem to have a thorough understanding of coding, clinical documentation, and a working knowledge of new technologies such as computer assisted coding.

BCA: Is there anything else you would like to add?
I believe that if the spirit of collaboration that I heard on our historic broadcast of June 17th prevails, then the various stakeholders just might come together and adopt ICD-10. As I said on the broadcast that morning, it comes down to three words: credibility (CMS); collaboration, and communication.