ICD-10 grace period to end: 3 ways to avoid claim denials

On October 1, the ICD-10 coding grace period will come to an end and physicians can no longer submit unspecified codes on certain Medicare claims. 

Experts warn that the end of the grace period may lead to an increase in post-payment audits or quality reporting errors. Here are three tips for physician practices to prepare and avoid claim denials, according to Physicians Practice, including:

Be specific: Documentation is used for more than billing, Ann Bina, vice president of compliance fulfillment at West Salem, Wisconsin’s Compliance Specialists, told the publication. "From a continuity of care and a risk management standpoint, documenting to the highest specificity is in the best interest of all providers," she said.

Pay attention to trends in denials: Denial trends can be early red flags, Bina told the publication, and practices must make sure to keep an eye out for accounts receivable unpaid charges and denials to flag any potential issues.

Emphasize ICD-10 codes that focus on quality initiatives: It’s particularly vital for practices to discuss and understand how to use codes to the highest level of specificity, reporting co-morbid conditions when necessary for patients with complex care needs, said Rhonda Buckholtz, vice president of strategic development at Salt Lake City’s AAPC.