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6 Steps to Take in Preparation of ICD-10 Part II

By: Nextech | January 5th, 2015

6 Steps to Take in Preparation of ICD-10 Part II Blog Feature

In our previous blog, we covered the first three aspects of getting ready for ICD-10:

  1. Create a budget with all ICD-10-related expenditures
  2. Use ICD-9 codes as precisely as possible
  3. Become well-versed with ICD-10 through proper training prior to the ICD-10 deadline

There are three additional aspects that are incredibly vital to a successful ICD-10 transition. All together, these six steps can assist you in laying the groundwork for your ICD-10 adoption and implementation.

4. Update your Electronic Health Record and practice management software for ICD-10.

Update your Electronic Health Records

EMR and practice management software vendors know about the ICD-10 deadline and are taking comprehensive measures to update their IT applications and systems. Contact your software vendor to find out exactly what their plans are regarding new upgrades and versions, as well as when these are expected to become available for use. Tight communication between you and your software vendor will prevent major obstacles on the electronic side of your transition to ICD-10.

You should be in a collaborative partnership with your software vendor on transitioning to ICD-10, however you should not rely solely on them. The practice itself is ultimately accountable for full ICD-10 compliance and implementation because they are licensed to diagnose and document a patient’s health state officially. The EMR and practice management software serves only as an extension of that clinical documentation.

However, a software vendor can help walk you through their updates and answer any IT-related ICD-10 questions that you might have. The computer software and web applications are critical to mastering ICD-10 codes, so take advantage of the resources your vendor offers to get familiarized with ICD-10 coding.

5. Maintain regular contact with all practice partners to keep abreast of their ICD-10 developments.

Create a methodical outreach strategy to stay in touch with all partners associated with your specialty practice, such as your private payers, clearinghouse, Medicare contractors, state Medicaid agency, etc., because a coordinated effort between your practice and all of those entities is essential to your success in ICD-10. Watch out for their company emails or visit their websites to find out how they are preparing for ICD-10.

Contact your clearinghouse or medical billing agency (if you outsource your medical billing) to find out how ICD-10 will affect your claims processing in terms of timing, any changes, and new requirements. Call your private payers to learn when their ICD-10 payment edits will be available for review. Make a detailed and organized record of what you find out so you know precisely what to do and expect when filing electronic claims for reimbursement.

The more you know about what all of your partners are doing to get fully ready before the October 1st deadline, the more control you’ll have over your claims processing and the less chance there will be of any cash flow disruption. Consider taking out a secure line of credit equal to about 5 percent of your practice’s total annual reimbursement in case a revenue disruption does occur after the ICD-10 deadline.

6. Test your updated EMR and other medical billing software prior to ICD-10 deadline

Once you and your team are sufficiently trained on ICD-10-CM codes, have a good knowledge of ICD-10 conditions and requirements as they apply to claims processing, and have updated your practice software, you should conduct a few tests based on ICD-10 data. Select a small sample of medical charts that include the most common diagnoses and treatments in your practice, and then try to code them in ICD-10. You may also want to double-code (ICD-9 and ICD-10) a small section of your current charts. These actions will show you if you using ICD-10 correctly and identify your strengths and weaknesses.

Good clearinghouses and payers will allow their healthcare professionals to start filing ICD-10 claims prior to the deadline. Check with your clearinghouse and payers to see if they would agree to process your claims using ICD-10, which will give you some valuable hands-on practice and a chance to iron out the kinks before the deadline hits on October 1, 2015.

We hope these six tips gave you a few ideas on how to improve and streamline your ICD-10 implementation plans. If you have any questions or concerns about what Nextech is doing specifically to update its EMR and practice management software, please feel free to give us a call at 1-866-856-0784.

Download the whitepaper and get ready for ICD-10!