“Out of sight, out of mind” is an adage that should not apply to the upcoming ICD-10 requirements. Physicians who heaved a sigh of relief over the implementation delay should use the time wisely to get ready for the roll-out of the new coding requirements that are due to start October 1st, 2015. The fact is that the ICD-10 mandate has four times more codes than ICD-9 and many of those codes aren’t easily mapped from the old system into the new one. Some of the old codes in ICD-9 may even have multiple possibilities when recoding for ICD-10 standards. Now is the time to get a handle on how to integrate the new system so that your office will be able to breeze through the roll-out with flying colors.
Prepare for a Seamless Integration
There’s no doubt that those who don’t prepare properly will face hurdles in coding claims properly. Fortunately, there are a few steps physicians can take between now and the final deadline of October 1st, 2015, to work out the kinks in their systems. They can:
1. Provide Training - Readiness and coding training can help staff and physicians get up to speed in record time. Hire outside trainers that have been certified in ICD-10 to get the best results. This can provide your staff and physicians with a higher level of confidence in how they will perform once the deadline closes in.
2. Do Acknowledgement Testing - In March and June 2015, Medicare will conduct acknowledgement testing, which is a limited form of testing to make sure your claims will make it through Medicare’s front door. It provides superficial checks to make sure that the claim can go forward, but no information on how it will be paid. However, physicians who fail this test, will know they have to ramp up their efforts before the final deadline.
3. Perform End-to-End Testing - This is the thorough testing of a claim and how it ends up being processed. It will provide information on how the claim is paid as well. Once a physician can pass acknowledgement testing, they will want to line up to do end-to-end testing with their Medicare Administrative Contractors. This type of testing is scheduled to occur in January, April, and July 2015.
There are now only a few months left to get your house in order to make sure you can comply with ICD-10 by the deadline. Physicians that take this time to do training and testing can ensure a seamless integration that keeps their offices running smoothly, despite the massive learning curve ahead. By simulating some actual claims through the system, they can get a good view of what is ahead and work out the bugs before it actually counts against them. Use the remaining time wisely, and your offices can be way ahead of others who waited until the last minute to comply with ICD-10.
At Healthcare Information Services (HIS) we are continually preparing for the new ICD-10 implementation and would be happy to assist you in all of your revenue cycle management needs.