ICD-10: Are You Getting Ready?

ICD-10: Are You Getting Ready?

Two months and counting until October 1st, the ICD-10 implementation date. Our office has been busy preparing for the big day. I have my line of credit at the bank and I’ve made sure I have access to 2-3 months of cash flow in the event that my major payers deny my claims. I also made sure my billing staff is taking their vacation prior to October 1st, so they will be available, well rested, and energized–ready to argue with payers and resubmit rejected claims. Our office staff has spent the last 2 months getting our A/R to the lowest possible amount, and has diligently been collecting credit cards on file for the majority of our patients. If those things are “on your list” but not yet accomplished, make them a priority today!

What should you be doing now to make sure you will be ready to hit the ground running in October? Practice “thinking” in ICD-10. As you write notes, be sure you document the “sidedness” of a problem: right, left, or bilateral. This matters for visits like otitis media, ankle sprain, and conjunctivitis. If you have 2 of them on the body, the side will matter. This means you need to document this information on your exam and when you choose a diagnosis. The other critical information for injuries: noting whether the visit is the initial encounter, a subsequent encounter, or for a sequelae of the injury. If you have templates, consider making different templates for initial and follow-up visits. Make sure the HPI includes the date of injury and use the words “initial visit for injury” when writing the note, to make it easier for your biller to sanity check your ICD-10 choice.

Now is the time to start practicing using ICD-10 codes, by having providers code a few visits per day. Schedule weekly meetings with your providers to discuss their progress, identify problems, and make adjustments to templates as needed. Share information and decide how your practice will deal with difficult coding dilemmas. Have an office goal to be coding all of your visits in ICD-10 by mid-September so the provider transition in October will be smooth sailing.

Preparation and practice will be the keys to success come October 1st. This is the part of the transition that is in your power to control. You can’t make the payers process the claims correctly, but you can make sure they are correct when they go to the clearinghouse. Are you getting ready?