Shawn Wright| Crain’s Detroit Business

After new technology requirements were needed at Beaumont Health System, it was clear that employee training was needed.

The health system turned to a newly implemented workforce training program: Michigan’s Skilled Trades Training Fund.

The health system sought out the funding because of due to a mandatory directive that all health care companies be required to use a new coding system by next October for medical diagnoses and inpatient procedures.

Beaumont is among those transitioning to the new system, called ICD-10. But the price tag associated with the overhaul, in terms of technology, training and resources, is a hefty sum that’s expected estimated to cost Beaumont around $3.5 million.

To help offset some of those costs, the health system recently received a $110,000 grant from the Skilled Trades Training Fund state grant so it can properly train 128 of its people (coders) to learn the new system.

“This is a huge initiative to train staff to competently code in the new system,” said Linda Kruso, director of workforce planning at Beaumont. “There’s a lot of time, resources and cost going into this training program. If they don’t learn the ICD-10, they’re not going to be qualified and competent to do their job.”

The $10 million STTF program was approved by the Michigan Legislature for the 2014 fiscal year. The program, implemented this past October, runs until Sept. 30, 2014. The STTF provides awards for the development and implementation of employer responsive training to help further talent incomes, productivity and employment retention.

The program has received more applications than what remains in its funds, so new applications are not being created.

The STTF created and expanded collaboration between the Michigan Works agencies, economic development, and educational agencies by funding demand-driven training that addresses talent shortages in Michigan’s priority industries, such as health care.

To help with the training, Beaumont’s coding staff will have 22 modules to practice on, which will be done alongside their normal daily work. operations. The hospital plans to start training in January. with training.

ICD-10 is the 10th revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD), a medical classification list by the World Health Organization. It codes for diseases, signs and symptoms, abnormal findings, complaints, social circumstances and external causes of injury or diseases.

“ICD-10 is hugely important in health care,” Kruso said. “All the diagnoses, procedures and all the patient information is coded in the system. It’s used for a number of different things. For one, we get reimbursed based on the coding.”

Health care costs are about 60 percent to 70 percent based on workforce development, Kruso said. That’s why she believes collaborations between employers, the government and other organizations are key.

“You just can’t call up some of your other health care organizations and say, ‘Hey, can you help with this?’ ” Kruso said. “You need a neutral convener. That’s why the Workforce Intelligence Network (WIN) has been so good to work with.”

For the past year and a half, Beaumont has worked with WIN — a coalition of nine local community colleges, seven Michigan Works agencies and economic development agencies working with local employers to identify and respond to employment needs. The hospital and WIN identify work to collaborate on what Beaumont’s needs are and match that with what the schools should provide to their students.

“I think there used to be a disconnect in the past with schools, because they didn’t know what the workforce needed,” Kruso said.

As for the new coding system, it isn’t just vital for Beaumont but important for all other organizations to keep their staff up-skilled to meet the changing needs of the job requirements.

“It’s costly, but this (grant) money is really important,” Kruso said. “With all the changes going on in health care right now, this is just an added layer of something else that needs to be done.”

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