October 07, 2013
By: Crystal Zuzek
The timeline's nine critical steps take at least 22 months to complete. Ideally, medical practices should now be working on step four to ensure that employees, office technology, and internal operations are ready to make the switch on Oct. 1, 2014.
The nine steps, with expected minimum completion times in parenthesis, are:
1. Conduct an impact analysis on business practices and systems to determine how the switch will affect operations. Next, inventory all systems, both electronic and manual, that use ICD-9 codes. By conducting this review as early as possible, physicians fully understand the scope of work ahead and prioritize important tasks. (3 months)
2. Contact vendors about the dates, expected costs, and other details of installing the ICD-10 upgrades on computer systems. (2 months)
3. Contact payers, billing services, and clearinghouses to learn when their ICD-10 upgrades will be completed and when theyll be ready to begin testing transactions using the new codes. Likewise, doctors should let these groups know when they expect to have their office system upgrades installed. (2 months)
4. Because the timing of system upgrades to a medical office is dependent upon the readiness of the vendors serving that office, its important to talk to vendors about upgrades early on. This also may help reduce ICD-10 transition costs. Upgrade other systems, such as quality reporting and public health reporting tools, as well. (3 months)
5. Once the upgrades are complete, conduct internal testing to ensure the upgraded systems can generate transactions with the ICD-10 codes. Practices should allow extra time for troubleshooting and working with vendors to address any obstacles. (2 months)
6. Update internal processes that support coding. These include super bills, encounter forms, quality data collection forms, and public health data collection forms. Take this time to review clinical documentation to ensure it captures the necessary details of patient diagnoses. (2 months)
7. Train every staff member. The training times should be staggered to prevent down time in the practice. Coding staff may want time to practice using the ICD-10 code set on sample claims, such as current claims, before the compliance date. (2 months)
8. Conduct external testing with clearinghouses, billing services, and payers to make sure they can properly send and receive ICD-10 codes in transactions. (6 months)
9. Switch to ICD-10 on Oct. 1, 2014. Payers will not accept claims with ICD-10 codes before Oct. 1 and will reject transactions that continue to use the ICD-9 codes after Oct. 1, 2014.
Originally published by Texas Medical Association, 2013. Reprinted with permission.