10 Last Minute Tips for ICD-10 Success

ICD-10 Resource CenterReady or not here it comes. ICD-10 is only days away. Are you ready? Or as ready as you can be? Or are you still scrambling to prepare for this big change?

Surveys show varying levels of preparedness among practices depending on what, how, and who you ask.

We asked industry experts to provide their top tips for last minute ICD-10 prep. Tweet this Kareo story

Take a minute to read through and see if any of their suggestions can help you in these final days.

For practices who still feel unprepared for ICD-10, what is the one suggestion you would make to help them get ready by October 1?
  1. Barbara Drury, BA, FHIMSS, and president of a healthcare technology consulting firm, says, “Analyze billing data and find the top ICD-9 codes and any edits that providers are putting on them. Crosswalk your codes and make a cheat sheet you can plaster everywhere.” If you’re really short on time she adds, “Don't bother with the simpler one-to-one codes, just do the ones that have too many options.”
  2. ICD-10 freelance writer Lisa Eramo suggests letting staff members know that, “during the next 30 days, ICD-10 is a priority. Everyone needs to be on board in terms of familiarizing themselves with ICD-10 coding changes, new documentation requirements, and new templates in the EMR. There are many free resources available, and it doesn't necessarily need to take a lot of time to understand the basics of ICD-10 and what it requires.”
  3. According to Kathy Young who owns a successful medical billing company, “Watch webinars that help to show you how the book is put together and what the rules are for coding in ICD-10. The certification house of the provider may have webinars that are geared to the specialty. There is little need to understand the entire book when you probably only code from two to three chapters of the ICD-10 book (unless you are a family practice, urgent care, or emergency room doctor where you would need most of the book).
  4. Audrey McLaughlin says her top tip is to recruit help. “Talk with your practice management system vendor to gain an understanding of their plan and ask for their help with roll out in the practice. Do the same with your clearinghouse, payers, and billing services. Have all of these vendors assist you in getting ready for the fast approaching deadline. If your vendor does not have assistance available or a plan for you to follow then perhaps it’s time to switch to different vendor.”
  5. Kareo ICD-10-CM trainer Michelle Cavanaugh encourages all practices to use dual coding in their practice management system to get more familiar with the ICD-10 codes now.
If a practice can only do one or two things between now and October 1 to get ready for ICD-10, what is the most critical task?
  1. Barbara Drury recommends if you are using an EHR that, “towards the end of September, prep tomorrow's electronic charts by reviewing the problem list from a screen shot of the summary of care. Depending on the EHR, edit the problem list to show just ICD-10 options for this patient, as though the MA/RN was adding the patient for the first time post ICD-10. Or use any other EHR mechanism that would prevent the provider from pulling an ICD-9 from the past problem list because it's convenient.
  2. Lisa Eramo says, “the most critical task is to look at your most frequent diagnoses, and compare the ICD-9 codes for those diagnoses with the corresponding codes in ICD-10. When additional information is required, ensure that your practice has the tools to collect that information. This includes updating templates in the EHR, superbills, and any other forms that included coded data.”
  3. With a short time available, Kathy Young thinks the most critical task is to map your top 50 codes into ICD-10 and then review your documentation to make certain it supports the code. This is easy with a practice management system that will map the codes for you, then you simply need to verify the documentation. You may need to go to the book to be certain you are choosing the most specific code to your documentation. When all else fails, call a coder.”
  4. Michelle Cavanaugh believes that training is critical. “Get online and find as much specialty specific training as you can for the roles in your practice and train, train, train. It will help you get familiar with ICD-10 and provide tips, tricks and tools to help you navigate it for your specialty.” Look to your specialty society, EHR and practice management vendors, and groups like AAPC for specialty training.
  5. "Watch denials like a hawk!" says practice management expert, Elizabeth Woodcock. "With the medical necessity of many services tied to the diagnoses, this will mean that payers are now relying on ICD10 codes to trigger their payment algorithms. Since there are now more than quadruple the number of diagnosis codes, it may take the payers a while to get their payment formulas correct, which will mean denials for physicians in the interim. Measure and monitor denials carefully, and appeal as appropriate to avoid costly write-offs."
Looking for more ICD-10 tips and resources? Check out the Kareo ICD-10 Resource Center.


About the Author

Lea writes educational articles to help medical practices improve their businesses. In addition to Kareo, Lea has written for Medical Manager Health Systems, WebMD...

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