Long Term Planning for Practices- ICD-10

What better time than the beginning of the new year to plan for events far out in the future. One such event for your practice may be planning for the implementation of the ICD-10 code series set to be implemented by October 1, 2014. Below are some brief tips on how to plan:

  1. Identify the current systems and work processes that use ICD-9– Makes sense, right? You must first identify the areas of your practice that will be affected before you can implement a compliance plan. According CMS, some of these areas may include clinical documentation processes, practice management software, electronic health record systems and of course the ubiquitous superbill. Furthermore, you may feel that some of these processes need to be adjusted or outright abandoned to comply with ICD-10 implementation. Identifying these processes now will allow a more educated compliance plan.
  2. Talk with your practice management system vendor/billing service/clearinghouse about accommodations for both Version 5010 and ICD-10 codes– This is a very important step to take because there is always an assumption that your revenue cycle company/software vendor knows what they are doing. However, this may not always be the case. Be sure to ask the vendor if they are planning any updates and the schedule when the updates will be included. Additionally, review your service contract to see if all of the updates are included or if they are extra services that you will have to pay for. Don’t assume a thing.
  3. Contact your major payers to determine if ICD-10 will cause changes in your reimbursement contracts– CMS points out that because ICD-10 is so much more detailed than ICD-9, payers might modify payment schedules and contracts. Be careful to understand how the payers are reacting to ICD-10 because inevitably their response will affect you.
  4. Assess staff training needs- Your staff is very important to your practice and will have the most interaction with many of these new codes. Identifying the appropriate staff members that need ICD-10 training is key. Consequently, inherent in new training is cost and creative budgeting will be necessary. If you have a small practice you may be able to hold joint training sessions with other practices to increase the cost effectiveness of training sessions. You can also ask your billing service provider to provide training if it is offered. CMS suggests that new training should be completed six months prior to the implementation date of October 1, 2014.

Good Luck in your ICD-10 planning and have a successful 2013.