Have You Done These 10 Things to Prepare for ICD-10?

As the October 1, 2015 deadline quickly approaches, have you done these 10 things to prepare for ICD-10? Take this opportunity to assess your progress for each Top 10 item listed below. Use this scale to rate your completeness for each item.

Completely Finished………………………….100%
Almost Finished………………………………….75%
About Half Way Done………………………….50%
Just Getting Started…………………………….25%
Have Not Started………………………………….0%
 1. Fully understand the impact of ICD-10 on your documentation and coding requirements. 
  • Identify new elements required to code services in ICD-10
  • ICD-10 codes include laterality, anatomic specificity, episode of care, severity and other concepts that provide greater specificity than ICD-9
  • Codes are assigned based on what is in the provider’s chart
 2. Identify everything in your practice and office that includes a diagnosis code and update it!
  • Review all of your lab orders, cheat sheets, other requisitions, policies and procedures, authorization forms and update them with the appropriate ICD-10 codes
  • Essentially, you want to look at all forms currently used within your practice and anything coming into or out of your office
  • You may need to reach out to external vendors and partners to make updates
 3. Contact your vendors to make sure they are ready for ICD-10.
  • Collect answers to key vendor questions:
    • Will my current hardware continue to work?
    • How long will tech support for my existing systems continue?
    • Are upgrades necessary and if so, who pays for them?
    • By WHEN will you be ready for testing?
    • By WHEN will you be ready for ICD-10?
  • Your vendors may include medical billing service and software vendors, clearinghouses, lab and imaging partners, and anyone else with whom you share diagnosis code information
  • PracticeMax has been hard at work preparing for ICD-10 by updating systems, training staff, testing with payers and providing education to our clients
 4. Nominate ICD-10 champions in your practice.
  • Identify a champion in each department or group to lead readiness efforts and provide centralized access to data and information
 5. Secure a cash flow savings or line of credit for anticipated temporary drop in revenue.
  • Prepare for a 30-50% temporary decrease in revenue for at least three months
  • It is suggested that practices have a minimum of the equivalent of 30 days of operating capital on hand
  • Budget for both monetary and productivity losses

 6. Review all written policies and procedures that include diagnosis codes.

  • This includes superbills if you are still using paper charge capture tools
  • Physician practices using EHR have typically abandoned written clinical policies but front and back office staff may still rely on them
  • Be sure to update these documents from ICD-9 to ICD-10

 7. Train, educate, monitor and train!

  • Complete and implement a training plan for your staff including physicians, providers, and front and back office employees
  • At PracticeMax we follow the guidance of the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC);
    • For certified coders to be prepared and cognizant for the ICD-10 transition we expect and recommend:
      • AAPC Basic ICD-10 Training (36 hrs) plus AAPC Refresher Coding Training (4 hrs) for a total of 40 hours training

 8. Crosswalk your top twenty to fifty codes.

  • Give your providers a sampling of the top relevant codes for your practice and have them crosswalk from ICD-9 to ICD-10
  • Conduct chart reviews and give providers examples that engage them in the ICD-10 process

9. Review payer contracts and ask key questions.

  • Make sure you understand how contracts that include ICD-9 will change with ICD-10
  • Reach out to your payers and find out
    • WHEN they will be ready for testing
    • WHEN they will be ready for ICD-10

10. Practice on your EHR.

  • Update ICD-9 codes to ICD-10 and become familiar with this process
  • Proactively update codes prior to patient appointments to help streamline the process


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