Don’t Let the Buzz Slow Down Your ICD-10 Plans

ICD-10 transition plans

Lately, it’s been a challenge to keep up with all the “buzz” on the ICD-10 implementation date. There are individuals, organizations, and associations on both sides of the table expressing their opinions on the costs versus benefits of the change.

But, it’s important to keep in mind that it’s just buzz at this point. As of March 1, there is still no decision on if or when the date will change. So, back to the theme of the day – keep on trucking – and take advantage of the time you have now to prepare for the inevitable.

Putting something off is what many of us do very well. Unfortunately, the date of this change is not like a computer system upgrade cutover date (by the way, your organization controls). In those cases, if specific preparation steps are not completed, you can delay implementation. This is not one of those instances. The federal government will set the ICD-10 conversion date; as of today it is October 1, 2013, and your organization can’t change it. It will occur even if your practice or organization isn’t ready.

Each and every entity that submits and/or processes healthcare claims, reports medical diagnoses to the state, or uses medical diagnoses in claims or other paperwork must use the new ICD-10-CM diagnosis codes. It’s a bit overwhelming isn’t it?

You need to be able to see the big picture; the what, why and when of the transition. However, you also need to go back to basics and focus your attention on breaking down the action steps required to get from here to there and working through each of them systematically.

For example, one of the significant tasks on your practice or organization’s implementation plan will most likely be a form and document review. Whether you’ve implemented an electronic health record or you are using paper forms, each form of media should be reviewed and possibly revised.

Stop and think about all the different forms within your office that have ICD codes associated with them. What forms popped into your mind? Charge slips, templates, encounter forms, superbills, lab requisitions, Advance Beneficiary Notices and more. Okay, that is a bit overwhelming.

But, breaking it down—such as making a list of all the forms and documents that need to be reviewed and revised, as in this case—will help ease the pressure.

We aren’t done talking about this topic so stay tuned for next week’s post when we talk about some more ways to prepare for ICD-10.