Health IT

Where doctors should be in the onward march of ICD-10

There is much fear and concern among doctors and other healthcare workers surrounding the implementation of ICD-10. Many are predicting a delay in reimbursements in October when ICD-10 is made mandatory for insurance reimbursement. Surely those who wait to near the deadline will have problems. Doctors should be preparing from now, if not sooner. Where […]

There is much fear and concern among doctors and other healthcare workers surrounding the implementation of ICD-10. Many are predicting a delay in reimbursements in October when ICD-10 is made mandatory for insurance reimbursement. Surely those who wait to near the deadline will have problems. Doctors should be preparing from now, if not sooner.

Where Should Doctors Be in the ICD-10 Conversion?

1. All doctors should know coding. Ultimately, we are the ones responsible for any billing or coding mistakes. We cannot pass the blame on someone else. The buck stops at us. The best way to protect ourselves from coding and billing mistakes is to be proficient in it. While many rely on others for this task, we still need basic knowledge and oversight of our billing practices, despite who is actually doing the coding.

2. Doctors should be learning ICD-10 coding. There are many seminars, webinars, on-line materials and many sources available to teach us. We need to start utilizing some of these references now. If we wait to September to start, we will be learning in crunch time and this is the way mistakes seep in. Better learn from now when we have the leisure to make and learn from mistakes.

3. Doctors and practices should have already or currently be mapping their codes. What this means is that the most commonly used codes should be mapped out into their ICD-10 equivalents.  It will no longer be acceptable to just code for knee pain. Now, the code needs to show the cause and exact location. What could have been only coded with only one ICD-9 code in the past, now has many more detailed ICD-10 codes to choose from.

4. Some insurances are allowing codes to be submitted in the ICD-10 format from next month. What I am planning to do in my practice is to make a trial run with one insurance at a time.  In this way, I will not have a major delay in reimbursements and I have time to work out any flaws in the implementation process. This also gives me a more ample way to become proficient in ICD-10 coding.

5. We need to ask for help. There are many people available to help. Many of our state and national medical societies have help available for us. We need to search out these resources and use them.

 

As the time progresses on towards the ICD-10 deadline, we need to be taking steps to be ready. Anyone who waits until the deadline will have trouble. Much of it will come just from the unfamiliarity of it. But, we also need to realize that we rely on our software vendors and clearinghouses to be prepared as well. If we wait, we will not know any glitches in these systems. Waiting to learn these issues when we do not have the option to fall back on ICD-9 billing so we get paid can potentially wreak havoc on practices. While many of us don’t want to change over to a new system, ICD-10 is happening whether we want it to or not.  The best way to face this new challenge to many of us is to be the most fully prepared that we can be.

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