The Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires that all the providers it covers complete the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 codes by October 1, 2014. That may seem like a long way off. However, if you talk to anyone that has already begun attempting the transition, they will probably tell you that it does not feel like enough time.
If you plan on completing this process in a timely fashion, then you should consider the following tips. Many practices are already struggling with their transitions and are sharing some of the knowledge that they have acquired along the way.
Tips for Completing the Process Effectively
- Top Codes First
There are tens of thousands of codes in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD). As a provider of radiologic services, you do not use them all. Furthermore, each practice has its own areas of greatest use. Focus on preparing your practice to bill for those services you use most often and rely on for your income.
- Find the Code Sets
You can also find the code sets themselves on the CMS website. Make sure that you get the applicable sets. These include the ICD-10-CM, ICD-10-PCS and the official guidelines. They are available at no cost.
- Dealing with Long-Term Claims
You are probably going to have some claims that begin before the deadline of October 1st, 2014 and continue afterward. Each payer will have its own specifications for dealing with such situations. However, many of them have already stipulated that claims must be split so that specific charges from prior to the change adhere to ICD-9 guidelines and those afterward follow the ICD-10 codes.
- Carryover from ICD-9
We all know that claims are not always handled immediately. Certain procedures and patient encounters will occur prior to the deadline and not be submitted until afterward. The key deciding factor is the date of service. Any claims being reported after October 1, 2014, but with a date of service prior to the change date, should be reported with ICD-9-CM.
- Starting Out the Right Way
Do not jump into the process and make a lot of mistakes that you will need to repair later. Read the introduction to the ICD-10 that is available on the CMS website. Sit down with your staff and prepare a plan for making this conversion one step at a time. While there is need for some haste, you should remember to use the remaining time efficiently.
More tips can be found by reading the Medscape Education modules available online. Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits may be earned by physicians who complete these modules.
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