The five laws of the ICD-10 conversion

By | March 17, 2015

Throughout the history of the world, there have been societies that have prospered, while others have plummeted to their eventual demise. How do both these variants defer so much, when both stem from the same origins? The answer lies in leadership, compliance, and adherence. Yes, supremacy of law has indeed been the differentiating feature between both types of societies,and that’s not all; this underlying principal can be extended to the sub-segments of today’s America.

The healthcare industry is one such sub-segment, and the application of ICD-10 stems for it. For the upcoming ICD-10 conversion deadline, we need to religiously adhere to several techniques – and view them as unbreakable laws.

Here are the laws you must follow to successfully meet the ICD-10 conversion deadline:

A detailed plan and a leader

Not only do you need a detailed plan for your route to successfully meeting the deadline, but you need to delegate someone from your team to lead the project. For this, you first need to assign the ICD-10 leader, and then identify which areas of your practice will be most affected by the conversion.

Engaging your team

If physicians do not realize how the codes will alter their workflows, and subsequently their clinical documentation; they’ll be a long way off track. This is because althoughtheir billers will handle the coding and billing process, clinical documentation will still require markedly more attention – that’s they’re job.

Test your way to success 

You need to internally and externally test these codes prior to the conversion deadline. Use test datasets to do so, and ask your clearinghouses, billers, payers, and medical billing vendors if they’re ready for the test runs? Make sure that you’ve practiced claim processing for at least three to six months prior to October 1. If they’re ready, inquire when you can begin testing and if they’ll facilitate you in the process. And as mentioned in the next point, ask how much it will cost you.

Don’t underestimate the costs

Although this will differ depending on your practice size, the software you’re using, and the competency of your staff, the costs generally include training, upgrades, and consultancycosts. Additionally, you’ll need to keep aside a set amount for documentation and billing audits. Don’t just estimate, and put some research into this stage.

Note: Not all stakeholders will charge extra for processes such as upgrades. If yours ask for a lot, you can always consider switching to someone who doesn’t.

Schedule progress-monitoring sessions

Meet up with your team as much as you can. Discuss the progress in this task, including the problems you’re facing. You also need to discuss the recurring issues that your billing team is currently facing, such as the major cost of denials, and areas where you lack in efficiency. This way, not only will you be on track for ICD-10, but you’ll also have a chance to correct some existing issues which are slowing you down.

And while the effects of ICD-10 will vary from person to person, everyone will be affected. Some people will lose out on a lot of reimbursements similar to societies that have plummeted in the past, while others will use this as an opportunity to expand and grow.

About the Author

Alex Tate is a digital marketing specialist, content strategist, and a health IT Consultant at CureMD who provides perceptive, engaging and informative content on industry wide topics including EHR, EMR, practice management and compliance.