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Notes on preparing for ICD-10

By: Nextech | January 26th, 2015

Notes on preparing for ICD-10 Blog Feature

Whether your practice has been preparing for ICD-10 for some time now or are just beginning to prepare for the imminent changes, it's imperative that you ensure you're entirely set for the introduction of the new code regulations. While your staff may have already read countless articles on how to adjust their day-to-day practices and understanding of billing and coding to fit the ICD-10 transition, you may want to take a high-level look at your practice or clinic to be positive everything is in place. If you're seeking some helpful advice on getting ready for the arrival of ICD-10, take a look at these tips:

ICD-9 codes vs. ICD-10 codes

Surprisingly, these two different releases of medical billing codes aren't quite as much like oil and water as one might think.

In fact, there will actually be some overlap after the ICD-10 implementation where certain practices will use both ICD-9 and ICD-10 coding depending on procedure. At first glance, this may seem like cause for alarm, but it doesn't have to be. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, offer some valuable insight on how to communicate with various clearinghouses and payers regarding these transitions.

Making resources available to your staff

While transitions and updates of this magnitude are by no means unheard of in the world of health care, it's important to treat the process with the respect that it deserves. One of the best ways to ensure you're doing everything in your power to ready your staff for this event is to make yourself available to them. Be careful to explain that it's entirely reasonable to have questions, and encourage your employees to ask them. You may even want to consider bringing in an ICD-10 expert to speak to your practice about how to best prepare and adapt before and after the integration.

Preparing your coders

Obviously, the individuals who are going to be most directly affected by this change are the people at your practice who handle medical billing and coding. You should be checking in with them periodically, so as to gauge their level of readiness for the transition. According to Elsevier, your coders and billers will need to familiarize themselves with both Greek and Latin word roots, suffixes, prefixes and the like, as well as the names and terms that medical technology manufacturing companies give to procedures. Speak with your coders to ensure that they're aware of what changes they'll need to make. 

In short, regardless of whether or not you feel fully prepared for the ICD-10 transition, it's important that you review with all parts of your staff to ensure that it goes smoothly. Between providing resources regarding what will change and preparing your coders, you should be able to usher in ICD-10 flawlessly. 

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