29 Jul What Your Medical Practice Needs for ICD-10 Success
There is a lot of trepidation concerning the transformation in medical coding from ICD-9 to ICD-10. This changeover has been in the making for many years. The rollout of the new system has been delayed time and again with the last delay occurring in 2014. ICD-10, which is to be utilized in the U.S. by medical providers, billing and coding companies, and payers by October 1, 2015, was supposed to be in effect last October.
Recently, the American Medical Association (AMA) voted to request a two-year grace period in the implementation of ICD-10. The vote, which was a symbolic one carrying no real power, has not convinced the government to further delay ICD-10.
Thus, the question becomes, what does your medical practice have to do in order to successfully utilize ICD-10 and its 68,000-plus codes? Here are some tips to help you make what will be a very big adjustment in the area of medical claims processing.
There is no way that any medical practice or hospital can adapt to ICD-10 without a substantial amount of training. The new codes are highly specialized and exacting. Where one code used to suffice it may now take anywhere from three to six codes, as diagnosis and treatment are broken down into finer and finer elements. Plus, doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, and others will need to document a patient’s condition in much more detail or risk having a claim rejected.
There is also new software to learn, and that means more time spent in preparing for the changeover. Of course, learning the basics of new software and becoming skilled and experienced enough to use it quickly and accurately are two different things. That will take even more time.
Whatever your part will be in implementing ICD-10, whether its taking notes, defining proper codes to be used by coders, or completing a medical claim form so that it meets all criteria regarding coding, you’ll be served well by taking part in test runs. This should be done over a period of months, and the more you can practice this process, the better off you’ll be when it counts.
Support Services and Complete Knowledge
As ICD-10 is implemented, you’ll need support services to aid you when questions and problems arise. These support services will get you through what will be a trying time. Ultimately, your goal is to have complete knowledge of the process, the manner in which the codes work, and the best way to facilitate timely payments.
In the end, your ability to be successful using ICD-10 will boil down to practical experience. The more that you have, the more comfortable you’ll be with the new system, and the more successful you can become in the entire process.
Even if you do not have in-house medical billing and coding, there will still be a major adjustment period for you. Doctors, administrative personnel, nurses, and others will need to work with the new coding system in order to provide the necessary information needed by medical billers and coders.
One way to help your practice facilitate success is to utilize the services of a professional medical billing and coding company. Along with doing the lion’s share of the labor associated with ICD-10, they will be able to offer you support in the other areas outlined in this article.