Facing Your ICD-10 Fears

Addressing Top Concerns for ICD-10 Implementation

With a required compliance date of Oct. 1, 2014, the ICD-10 transition will impact nearly every single health care organization— hospitals, clinics, providers, payers and vendors alike. The transition will also affect insurance claims, clinical documentation and much more. Given its broad scope, ICD-10 incites fear into the hearts of many in the health care industry. Below are five of the top ICD-10 concerns, along with tips for addressing these challenges.

  1. Expense: You cannot budget for something if you have no idea what it will involve. Start by conducting an impact assessment, and then budget time and resources accordingly. Keep in mind that budgeting may require you to make educated guesses on expenses that cannot be calculated, such as diminished productivity for coders and providers during the transition.
  2. Vendor Readiness: Will your software vendors be ready to support you in making the transition? Ask your vendors about their ICD-10 preparation and their anticipated timelines. If you do not have confidence that your practice management and EHR vendor will smoothly transition your system to ICD-10, consider replacing your EHR and related systems. Now more than ever, it is critical to have a technology partner committed to ensuring your success.
  3. Productivity Impact: How can you brace for the impact the ICD-10 transition will likely have on the productivity of physicians and coders? Conducting efforts to improve clinical documentation is one of the best ways your organization can prepare. To begin, assess current documentation processes and identify gaps that will need to be filled in order to ensure successful documentation under ICD-10. Then, initiate training to educate clinicians on ICD-10 documentation requirements.
  4. Cash Flow Impact: The ICD-10 transition is likely to cause disruptions in cash flow for a number of reasons. The dip in both physician and coder productivity may mean that clean claims will take longer to be submitted. There could also be spikes in denials due to mapping errors or coding errors that may occur as physicians and coders adjust to the new code set. Providers should take steps now to prepare for potential cash flow disruptions by modeling different cash flow and AR day scenarios.
  5. Testing: You should plan to conduct testing using the ICD-10 codes as a critical step in preparing your organization for the ICD-10 transition. Your organization needs to conduct both internal and external testing. Begin internal testing as soon as your vendor has completed necessary software changes, and be sure to talk to your business associates and trading partners to schedule external training well in advance.

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