One-year countdown to ICD-10 begins: Start transition now
With just a year left to transition to the ICD-10 code set, practice management experts advise physicians to begin preparing for implementation by working with software vendors and testing their systems, if they haven’t already. See what physicians can use to make the switch to this costly code set a bit easier.
Originally scheduled for implementation in 2014, a final rule issued in August gave physicians an extra year to prepare for implementation of the costly code set, developed by the World Health Organization and adapted for use in the United States by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
The AMA continues to urge regulators to ease this physician burden, citing the dramatically high implementation costs of ICD-10, coupled with an already onerous regulatory environment. However, practice management experts caution that physicians need to allow sufficient time to prepare their practices for the transition to ICD-10. Here are some resources that can help make this transition a bit easier:
- Free planning tools and resources. Increase your practice’s readiness for ICD-10 with help from an action plan, checklists and templates. Use the free tip sheet series to complete an impact assessment, talk to your vendors and complete thorough testing.
- Guides and training. Get a downloadable data file of the complete ICD-10 2015 code set to use in testing your practice management system. A documentation guide provides essential training. In addition, a pocket-sized reference and new codebooks can help your practice make this major transition.
- System testing. CMS announced three weeks that it will dedicate to helping physicians test whether their claims will be accepted in the Medicare claims processing system: Nov. 17-21, 2014; March 2-6, 2015; and June 1-5, 2015. But physicians don’t need to wait for these specific testing weeks; physicians should begin testing with their Medicare Administrative Contractors as soon as their practices are ready. Experts urge physicians to test internal and external systems as often as possible to ensure a smoother transition.
CMS will host a call from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern time Nov. 5 to discuss transitioning to ICD-10. Experts will cover implementation issues, opportunities for testing, code updates, how claims that span the implementation date will be handled and other important topics. Register by noon Eastern time Nov. 5.
For more information about ICD-10, visit CMS’ website.