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Healthcare Practice Strategies - Spring 2015 - ICD-10: Master What Matters

May 13, 2015

When it comes to tackling the new  ICD-10 code set, the solution may lie in the old wisdom about eating an elephant one bite at a time and breaking ICD-10 implementation into digestible bits. For example:

Master what you can master. Rather than focusing on all 155,000 codes, focus on mastering the codes relevant to your specialty (e.g., make a short list of the codes you have to be good at).

Bone up on documentation. ICD-10 requires a much higher level of specificity. Sit down with your billing staff to talk through documentation issues. In particular, work with your coders to understand what information they'll need to document more specifically.

Run a documentation readiness assessment. Pull a few charts and have billing staff evaluate whether current documentation would support coding with ICD-10. If not, determine what additional information would be needed to make it ICD-10 ready.

Train everyone who matters. Anyone who "touches" the system should be trained in the new coding procedures. For instance, a medical assistant who fills out lab forms will need to list patients' diagnoses using the proper codes.

Make it manageable. Even with practice management and EHR vendors doing much of the heavy lifting, practices still must invest sufficient time and money in training themselves and their staff. Avoid a mad rush by scheduling some time every month between now and October to work on it.

Cash up. Payment delays are almost inevitable as improperly coded claims work their way through the system. Avoid a cash-flow crunch by establishing a financial reserve that will see you though three to six months of payment delays. 

Healthcare Practice Strategies - Spring 2015

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