Strategies to prepare for ICD-10

Strategies to prepare for ICD-10

  • 12 Feb 0
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Some believe they got lucky when the ICD-10 implementation deadline was extended to 2015 because they had procrastinated on learning it.  All indications are that the deadline will not be extended a third time, so further hoping is probably not a good strategy.  To make the transition manageable in your program we recommend scheduling some time every month to work on it, starting as soon as possible.

While coding guidelines remain largely the same, ICD-10 is a very different coding system from ICD-9 for most clinicians and coders. There’s going to be a pretty steep learning curve.  Here are some recommendations to keep in mind.

  1. Budget appropriately.  Complying with ICD-10 requires a substantial investment in training, systems, and testing, so make sure you plan for outlays for these and other costs.
  2. Assess your program’s internal capabilities.  If your staff is already maxed with routine care and administrative duties, you will struggle with acclimating and utilizing ICD-10.   Think about out-sourcing training and coding, perhaps on a temporary basis.
  3. Include appropriate staff in training.  To avoid coding errors, include anyone who has to touch diagnosis codes in your training.  For instance, if nurses or MAs fill out requisitions that need patients’ diagnoses, they need to know the proper codes or how to find them.
  4. Master the codes that matter.  While many providers memorized common ICD-9 codes, that will be harder in ICD-10.  Utilize the NPA Superbill and similar resources to focus on the common codes found in your population.
  5. Prepare for productivity changes.  Both providers that select their own codes and coders are warned for a significant slowdown, possibly as much as 50% initially.  Remember how transitioning to a new EMR affected productivity?  It’s like that.
  6. Build your compliance team.  Every program should have a point person or vendor assigned to regularly check coding to make sure there are no errors that are costing the program money or putting you at risk of compliance action for inaccurate or incomplete coding or documentation.

Capstone will be providing our clients with significant assistance for the ICD-10 transition, but we strongly suggest taking advantage of local or digital training resources to prepare for the inevitable.  We’ll be providing more information throughout the year.