October marks more than just the beginning of the holiday season. It also reminds us that implementation of ICD-10 is officially less than one year away. Soon, the 17,000 ICD-9 codes will morph into more than 141,000 ICD-10 codes. This change will require, at a minimum, more detailed documentation, increased staff education and updated software. Have you made measureable progress toward a smooth transition?
Practice managers should be undergoing impact, gap and budget analysis. Every area that may be impacted by ICD-10 needs to be identified. This may range from policies and procedures to documentation and systems, and include the front desk to the back office. A budget that encompasses information technology, auditing and monitoring, staffing and overtime, and education and training should be created, reviewed, and updated as necessary. Education and training needs should be assessed, including the learning style of your staff. Communication with both vendors and payers also needs to be established with ongoing discussions regarding transition plans, contracts and testing.
Physicians should be educated on the upcoming challenges. Clinical documentation should undergo a high level of scrutiny in order to recognize the areas of weakness. With the multiple changes presented by the specificity level of the ICD-10 code set, current documentation is likely insufficient to satisfy the new requirements. Documentation assessments will reflect areas in need of further development. Without improvement and awareness, accurate coding and proper payment will not be possible.
Coders will require an amplified understanding of anatomy and pathophysiology and the disease processes in order to accurately utilize the ICD-10 code set. While learning the new code set should not take a year, the combination of learning, practicing, and testing may.
The biggest change in standard healthcare coding will be happening in less than a year. Regardless of where you are in your implementation process, there is no turning back, and no time to lose.
HC Healthcare Consulting has extensive expertise in coding and billing compliance. Our staff includes certified coders, consultants certified in healthcare compliance, and certified public accountants that are available to provide expert assistance with your ICD-10 implementation efforts, including physician and staff documentation and coding training. We are also available to assist with your ongoing compliance needs.
DISCLAIMER: This newsletter contains only summary information and highlights; it should be read in conjunction with the full article or document provided as a link. Any advice or recommendations given is general and specific questions should be directed to professional counsel.