How your practice can prepare for ICD-10 coding updates

by Applied Medical Systems

ICD-10 coding updates Preparation

Now is the time to organize and plan for a huge change in ICD-10 coding updates in healthcare; the transition from ICD-9 medical coding to ICD-10 requires much preparation. Preparing well in advance is necessary since the US Department of Health and Human Services is unyielding on the deadline, with no grace period. This is crucial in your practice’s billing because billing can be interrupted in the event that codes have not been converted. The American Medical Association recommends the following ten steps to prepare for the transition to ICD-10 medical coding:
  1. Organize the implementation effort (two to four weeks). During this time, practices should get familiar with ICD-10 requirements, identify key personnel, and set a preliminary budget for the work.
  2. Analyze the impact of implementation (two to three months). In this process, a practice looks at what work processes and electronic systems used in ICD-9 will need conversion.
  3. Contact system vendors (one to two months, and ongoing). Practices will need to contact their electronic health system vendors to find out when they will update their systems to ICD-10, how much it will cost, and whether any new hardware will be necessary.
  4. Budget for implementation costs (two to four weeks, and ongoing).
  5. Contact your trading partners (1–2 months and ongoing). In this step, practices should contact clearinghouses, billing services, and payers to understand their implementation timeframe.
  6. Implement system and/or software upgrades (three to six months).
  7. Conduct internal testing (one to two months).
  8. Update internal process (one to two months). At this point, practices should update electronic and manual processes for ICD-10 implementation.
  9. Conduct staff training (1 to 2 months and ongoing).
  10. Conduct external testing of transactions with ICD-10 codes (one to two months). Test various transactions with your trading partners to ensure that the ICD-10 codes can be properly transmitted and interpreted by the various systems.
For more information on expectations and implementation suggestions, visit the American Medical Association’s website. Picture of a stethoscopeIf you’re overwhelmed by the idea of implementing the long list of to-do items above, Applied Medical Systems can help. We do all the heavy lifting for you by providing a team of experienced and highly trained coding experts that are all certified through the American Academy of Professional Coders. AMS is a cost-effective and reliable solution that reduces the cost of in-house coding resources while increasing your ability to get paid fairly for the services you provide. Applied Medical Systems, a medical billing and coding company, has been caring for the health of practices for more than 30 years by providing billing, coding and practice management solutions to various healthcare specialties across the U.S.; including hospitals, private practices and emergency department physician groups. By utilizing the latest in technology-driven solutions we produce claims paid with minimal denials, which means expedited cash for your bottom line, literally. As a result, we’ve helped providers and practices across the U.S. to maximize collections, optimize compliance and streamline operations. Contact us today for a free consultation with one of our billing and coding specialists.