With the latest deferment of ICD-10 codes implementation to October 1, 2015, healthcare facilities and systems have additional time for the adoption of the new system. There must be a good strategy to retain and encourage the coders, as money has been invested for the training. Apart from the challenges there are positives in the delay such as it lessens the impact on receivables and cash flow for those who are not ready for the 2014 launch.
How to Take Advantage of the Year-long Delay
Here are some ways to take advantage of the delay and stay productive.
- Staff Training – The delay in transition should not slow down the training. Continuous training must be provided to the front office staff to learn as much as they can about the new medical coding system in order to effectively gather patient complaints. The billing staff also must become more familiar with the larger number of diagnosis codes. Knowledgeable up-front staffs can save a practice from major financial disruptions.
- Focus More on Documentation – Accurate clinical documentation greatly determines the efficiency of revenue cycle management. It also serves as key to better understand the coding workflows and the problem areas. In order to submit accurate claims to payers for reimbursement, physicians must give correct reports to the coders. Failure to do so can greatly impact the cash flow of a medical facility. To avoid this, physicians must also ensure that their medical staff is properly trained for quality reporting and profitability. Apply a clinical documentation improvement (CDI) documentation gap analysis as it helps prevent high ICD-10 related denial rates and supports improved compliance with the new requirements.
- Dual Coding – Practices can try out dual coding with the extra time provided by the delay. This will help reduce the cost of transition, and identify and resolve problems before the actual transition. It also helps to minimize loss of productivity and reimbursement mistakes. Other advantages include:
- Improves coder productivity and confidence
- Enables to accurately measure readiness of coder
- Identifies faults in clinical documentation
- Ensures that the already trained staff retain their ICD-10 skills
- Provides information for future planning
- Testing – The testing of the internal processes and systems must be carried out continuously to ensure functionality at the highest possible level before ICD-10 takes effect. This will ensure whether the claims will be accepted for payment with the new ICD-10 format. Conduct payer testing to ensure that there are no gaps in the claims submission workflow.
Physicians may not be able to manage this transition as it can prove to be a complicated process amidst their busy schedule. A professional medical billing and coding company can offer solutions to make the transition less complex for healthcare providers. The professional coders at a reputable medical billing outsourcing firm are well trained in every aspects of coding including ICD-10. These specialists use accurate codes that would speed up the claims submission, appeal and reimbursement processes ensuring minimal errors, maximum reimbursement and lesser denials thus improving the practice’s revenue cycle. All the processes carried out will be 100% HIPAA compliant.