ICD-10 deadline of October 1, 2014 is looming, this article reviews steps any practice or organization can take to ease the transition, if not many problems may arise such as an increase in claim rejections and denials, billing backlogs, cash-flow delays, changes in payment and costly additional work.

IDC-10 Ready?

The ICD-10 will be the tenth revision to the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) and Related Health Problems. Generated by the World Health Organization, the ICD-10 is designed to code for diseases, signs, symptoms, complaints, causes of illness, and other data. It allows for thousands of complex codes and gives providers the ability to track diagnoses and improve their patients’ quality of care. This new revision must be implemented by October 1, 2014 in order to receive the many benefits it provides. However, the deadline is drawing near and countless healthcare organizations have not yet begun to prepare themselves for the numerous changes ahead.

Understandably, the task is quite the undertaking. Healthcare organizations will have to implement thousands of more codes, many of which are more complex than those listed in the ICD-9. While these more complex codes provide for the entry of more specific data, they can also create added stress for providers struggling to meet the deadline.

There are many steps that can be taken to ease healthcare organizations into this new coding revision. These steps include:

  • Start early: Healthcare organizations need to get a head start on this process. They need to commit to the task ahead of them and take the first steps towards implementing these codes. The deadline is less than a year away and will sneak up quickly.
  • Develop a plan: There’s no one way to meet ICD-10 standards. Healthcare organizations need to integrate these new codes in a way that will benefit their individual business. They need to create a detailed schedule as to how to meet the October deadline.
  • Obtain technical expertise: Providers need to bring in staff or refer to a consulting firm to make sure everything is implemented properly.
  • Educate the staff: The new and complex codes will affect all aspects of healthcare. Both billers and coders will need to be trained on how to correctly interpret and understand the new codes. They’ll need to be made aware of the various differences between ICD-9 and ICD-10.
  • Check in with insurance: Make sure all insurance companies that the provider is working with are ICD-10 ready by the October 1, 2014 deadline.

If ICD-10 isn’t implemented by October 1, 2014, there may be consequences. If a hospital hasn’t completed all of the required changes, payments for all services provided after October 1st will end. There could be an increase in claim rejections and denials, billing backlogs, cash-flow delays, unintended changes in payment and costly additional work to correct the various problems that may arise.

ICD-10 will accommodate the many innovations in technology and treatment that have taken place since the implementation of ICD-9. It’ll improve the billing process by increasing efficiency and allowing for better fraud detection. By implementing ICD-10 by the deadline, healthcare organizations can prevent unnecessary stress and the waste of both time and money. Ultimately, these codes will benefit both the provider and the patient, regardless of the current struggle to meet the October 1, 2014 deadline.

Author: Lauren Daniels

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