How physician practices can ensure ICD-10 readiness

As organizations continue to argue whether to keep the ICD-10 compliance date as Oct. 1 of this year, others are warning that to be unprepared will spell trouble for many providers. 

Any organization that looks at the past delays for the coding system and and doesn't take the upcoming compliance date seriously is putting their revenue at risk, Robert Tennant, Health IT policy director for the Medical Group Management Association, writes in

Some ways practices can ensure that they will successfully implement the new code set, Tennant says, include:

  • Having an impact chart: Practices should conduct an impact assessment and capture important information discovered in a spreadsheet or other document, Tennant says. A few pieces of information the chart should highlight include: the area impacted, the change in workflow needed, how the new system will impact assigning of code, vendor information, and contingency plans.
  • Creating more complete documentation: Providers should make sure documentation of each patient is as accurate as possible. "Should the record not contain the necessary elements, coders may not be able to identify the most appropriate and more granular ICD-10 codes. Without clear and complete documentation, claim submissions could be delayed and payments denied," Tennant writes.
  • Testing at every opportunity: Tennant suggest conducting staff exercises and testing as often as possible. In addition, he says, providers can practice with active claims by coding them in the old system and the new to ensure clinicians are getting the right information to assign the most specific ICD-10 codes.
  • Knowing cost-effective resources: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has many resources for providers, Tennant says, and these should be taken advantage of. MGMA also has resources for physician practice leaders, he adds.

However, groups continue to push and pull on the compliance date of Oct. 1, 2015. Numerous organizations fervently want to see no more delays, while many others are continuing the push for another 2-year delay.  

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