In less than two years the WHO's new International Classification of Diseases (10th edition) will be implemented by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), rendering the previous ICD-9 code sets obsolete. It will also, therefore, render all medical practices that have not adopted and implemented the ICD-10 code sets outdated. This will have a serious negative impact on the speed and efficacy of information sharing and processing, and also on the revenue cycle management of a practice.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is working hand in glove with the WHO on the adoption of ICD-10, and on its face, these are positive steps: using the most up-to-date classification systems available across as broad a swath of the world's healthcare efforts as possible means better sharing of information on new treatments and research, better communication about specific processes and even specific patients, and so on. With such a broad sweep update comes specific changes visited on practitioners of all sizes, and your entity, be it a practice shared between two orthopedists or a hospital's entire radiology department, stands to be left scrambling for better revenue cycle management if you do not proactively adopt the changes ICD-10 implementation mandates. It is as simple as this: practices will not be paid for claims that are not coded in the new format starting on October 1st, 2014.
Two years - actually about 22 months - may seem like plenty of time to update your internal systems to be compliant with imminent global changes, and if you begin to act now, it is. If you choose to delay your overhaul, though, you may well find yourself losing payments and patients before you know it. The changes involved in ICD-10 implementation involve coding in both financial transactions between healthcare providers, insurers, pharmacies, etc. and also in the manner patient and prognostic data is entered into all shared databases and systems. Failure to efficiently adopt the new coding means you will, essentially, be cut off from third party reimbursements and electronic communication with other healthcare providers.
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