Getting Ready for the ICD-10 Transition

The transition to ICD-10 is likely to cost your practice both time and money, making a smooth implementation process all the more important.

With 2014 barely a few days old, now is a good time to get your oncology practice ready for the October 1 transition to ICD-10. In fact, the transition is likely to cost your practice both time and money, making a smooth implementation process all the more important.

ICD-10 compliance means that all HIPAA-covered entities will need to be compliant on or after October 1, 2014. ICD-9 diagnosis and inpatient procedure codes cannot be used for services provided on or after this date.

It should be noted that the switch to ICD-10 will not affect Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) coding for outpatient procedures. Like the previous version (ICD-9), the new system is designated for hospital inpatient procedures only.

Practice management systems must be able to accommodate both ICD-9 and ICD-10 codes until all claims and other transactions for services before October 1, 2014 have been processed and completed. Promptly processing ICD-9 transactions as the transition date nears will help limit disruptions and will limit the timeframe when dual code sets must be used.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has posted an FAQ sheet on its Web site for more information. In addition, the CMS site has an extensive set of resources for providers to make the transition, with recommendations based on practice size (large, medium, and small).

Here are some tips from “Power Your Practice,” a website geared toward medical practice management strategies, to keep in mind as you get your practice ICD-10 compliant:

  • Contact your vendors for cost estimates for electronic medical records, practice management systems, explanation of benefits analyzers, drug inventory, lab systems, etc., as the transition to ICD-10 nears. Keep in mind the costs of materials. Will you need code books, new mobile apps, or software to get through the transition period?
  • For your staff: According to the American Hospital Association and American Health Information Management Association’s field test project, practices will need to dedicate at least 16 hours of ICD-10 training for each of their most experienced coding professionals. Run a report of the codes that you use more than 50 times a year and review the extent of changes to your practice when ICD-10 is implemented.