Transitioning your Practice to ICD-10

We’ve been doing some outreach to physician practices and it is concerning to us how unprepared small and medium sized practices are for the ICD-10 Transition.  In fact, the most common response to the question, “What are you doing about ICD-10 is “nothing.” Just 71 days until launch and many small to medium physician practices are still doing nothing to prepare for ICD-10.

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has begun issuing letters to Medicare Fee-for-Service providers emphasizing the importance of readiness for ICD-10.  Including a quick start guide to ICD-10 readiness- CMS is recommending that physicians and clinicians review their readiness plan and fill in the gaps.

The Quick Start Guide outlines 5 steps health care professionals should take to prepare for ICD-10 by the October 1, 2015 compliance date. Those of you who have been reading about readiness know that the five step plan begins by the actual planning- that’s right- step one of the plan?  Have a plan!

Step two is Training- Probably not a surprise that the goals of CMS and MedEd Solutions is the same- you need to train your physicians and coders and billers and – well – everyone who meets, greets or treats a patient need some understanding of the documentation requirements for ICD-10.  There is no surprise that “time is of the essence” here.  Even with the idea that there will be limited enforcement of ICD-10 immediately following the launch, the more prepared your practice is, the less impact it is going to have on your revenue stream.

Step Three is to make sure your “paperwork” is ICD-10 compliant- that means ordering the new 1500 forms if you are processing manually as well as checking your documentation to insure your notes include laterality (right, left or bilateral), specificity (open or closed fracture) severity (mild, moderate, acute, chronic or acute on chronic) and that you are using the mindset that you “think with ink.” Simply put- if you treat, prescribe or identify patients conditions or illnesses- you must document them.  Every patient- Every time.

Step Four is talking to your Vendors to make sure that they are ready for you to be ready.  Even small physician practices must be ready for ICD-10.

Step Five- Testing.  Medicare providers can conduct end to end testing with their Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) until the October 1st compliance date to confirm that Medicare can accept your ICD-10 claims, and help you manage other ways to submit your claims if you think you systems might not be ready for ICD-10 by October 1, 2015.

Don’t wait, there is still time to protect your practice and your revenue.

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