Posted in ICD-10 & Coding

8 tips for a smoother ICD-10 transition

Carl Natale
by Carl Natale
8 tips for a smoother ICD-10 transition

Unless the federal government changes its mind, we will have ICD-10 implementation in four months. Even the very prepared medical practices have a few things to figure out yet.

So get back at it with a few more tips to help ease the ICD-10 transition:

Don't fill your appointment schedule the last week of September

Sam Grefrath and Lisa Munn write that medical coders will have trouble keeping up in the beginning of ICD-10 implementation. So keep the workflow a bit lower to help them catch up.

Be ready to cheat

Jim Daley, Director, IT WEDI Past-chair and WEDI ICD-10 Workgroup Co-Chair of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, suggests there's nothing wrong with your physicians keeping cheat sheets for common diagnoses.

Physicians practice, so should coders

Anita C. Archer, CPC, director of regulatory and compliance at Hayes Management Consulting, recommends one to two hours per week of dual coding. Yes, she acknowledges it consumes resources. But the practice will be invaluable. Even if it's only a little.

Update healthcare payer contracts

Bruce Hallowell, Managing Director at Navigant, says medical practices need to update their managed care contracts so they know how they will be reimbursed for ICD-10 codes.

 Improving documentation is as much about people as health records

Linda Corley of Xtend Healthcare says it is just as important to identify who is generating documentation and medical codes as much as what codes will change. Use specific examples in education efforts.

Understand how money works in the medical practice

Susan Kreimer writes it is important to understand the financials now so you can see if ICD-10 implementation is causing problems after Oct. 1. Pay attention to these three areas:

  1. "Evaluate your payer mix"
  2. "Determine your typical accounts receivable cycle"
  3. "Examine denied claims"

Keep your medical coders

Janis Leonard, RHIT, CCS, director of HIM at Albany Medical Center, says the AMC wants to keep coders from leaving. The medical center clarified job titles and advancement opportunities so coders had clear paths for their careers. This has boosted pay for many of their coders. Flexible working conditions also help keep morale high.