If your practice is not ready to make the switch to the ICD-10 coding system on October 1, 2013, payments will stop for services provided after that date.
Healthcare providers who are unprepared for the ICD-10 deadline will face cash-flow disruptions, billing backlogs, increased claim rejections and denials, as well as an expensive path to get back on track.
The comprehensive code transition will require extensive staff education, IT upgrades, and a reevaluation of clinical, financial and administrative workflows for practices of all sizes.
110,000 Hours of ICD-10 Education
Carole McEwan, ICD-10 project manager at St. Louis-based healthcare system SSM Health Care, is in the midst of transitioning four locations and recommends that practices start as early as possible — if they haven’t already.
“We estimated that we’ll need 110,000 hours of ICD-10 education,” she predicts. “It takes time to start rolling out the effort. If you wait too long, the ramp up time will be extremely difficult. You need to get lots of people on the same page and that doesn’t happen overnight.”
Making the Switch
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has several tools available for ICD-10 conversion to help healthcare providers create a realistic plan for transitioning to the ICD-10 code set.
Tools like the CMS’ ICD-10 Compliance Timelines will help healthcare providers get prepared and avoid giving payers a reason not to pay them.
“ICD-10 will affect coding for everyone covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), not just those who submit Medicare claims,” according to the CMS’ ICD-10 website.
If your practice has not started the conversion to ICD-10, the CMS recommends you start immediately with these tasks:
- Provide awareness training to staff
- Determine business and technical implementation strategy
- Identify budget for implementation and implementation lead
- Perform an impact assessment and identify potential changes to existing work flow and business processes
- Develop an implementation plan, including a memo/letter communicating the new system changes to staff
- Estimate and secure budget
- Contact systems vendors, clearinghouses, and/or billing services to assess their readiness for ICD-10 and evaluate current contracts
- Begin internal system design and development, if not started already
Hopefully, your practice already has a plan in place to make the process as smooth as possible. You can check to see if you’re on track with this CMS ICD-10 Compliance Timeline.
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