How To Prepare Your Medical Practice For ICD-10


As the deadline draws nearer for transitioning into implementation of the updated ICD-10 codes, many practices are finding themselves struggling to prepare for the new and much more detailed coding system.

This transition, as with any new transition, will go more smoothly with the proper planning and strategy. Here are some tips on how to effectively prepare your practice for the new ICD-10 codes.

Elect a Team Leader

Designate a point person in your office whose job it is to oversee all of the issues related to ICD-10. This person should have the availability to be as educated as possible on the details of the new system and should be prepared to answer questions from other office staff. They should also possess strong organizational skills and be prepared to set up educational seminars and other training programs if necessary.

Review Recent Bills

The best way to know which codes you will need to be most familiar with is to review recent bills and gather an understanding of which codes your practice uses the most. This can be a highly effective starting point in terms of educating your office on the codes that they most need in order to effectively bill.

Communicate with your staff and be certain that the codes associated with basic anatomy and physiology are all clear and that any specific codes associated with your practice’s speciality are also fully understood and can easily be used by all employees.

Check in With Third Party Payers

If you have any services your patients are automatically receiving because of a condition or diagnosis they have, get in touch with any third party payers associated with the patient and make sure that they have updated codes from you. Doing this early will help prevent complications and even a failure to be reimbursed down the road.

Get in the Habit of Documenting with More Specificity Now

One of the defining factors of the ICD-10 system is the greater amount of codes available to providers for billing. Doctors and practices who are in the habit of generating more thorough notes and records will enjoy a much more seamless transition into the new system. Analyze recent records and determine whether they are in fact detailed enough or whether there are areas for improvement.

Set Up Educational Seminars

Have your team leader arrange time for all of your staff to participate in the necessary educational seminars to fully become acquainted with the new system. Know how many hours each group of employees in your office will need in order to become familiar with the codes.

Your clinical staff, for example, will likely require around eight to sixteen hours of training. Set up a schedule that allows for this training time without disrupting the regular workflow of your office.

Complete Test Runs

One of the best ways to ready your practice for the new codes is to complete diagnostic test claims. See if any of the third party payers you work with are able to handle test claims at this point, and if so, begin engaging in them.

Have your team lead analyze the results of the test claims and focus training and educational sessions on areas of weakness or codes that were not correctly entered.

Set Up a Timeline For Important Dates

Be certain that your practice will reach the October 2014 deadline by having your team lead generate a calendar to ensure that key deadlines are met at a reasonable pace. Make sure time is allotted for review and assessment, and that all dates can be realistically and effectively met by your entire staff.

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