The implementation of ICD-10 codes will have a financial impact on all practices. Practitioners will need to prepare for situations ranging from software errors that prevent reimbursements to the cost of staff training.

ICD 10 codesThis requires a strategic plan that addresses the potential for multiple problems that will directly affect a clinic’s financially security and well-being.

Maintain Cash Reserves – Plan Ahead

A practice’s cash flow depends on coders/billers obtaining the best turnaround times on claims and that may not happen in the early months of ICD-10 implementation.

The reimbursement process will undoubtedly experience slow-downs and clinicians would do well to have sufficient cash reserves on hand to pay the bills and staff during the growing pains the new system is sure to suffer.

It’s best to acquire a business line of credit or a business credit card with a 0% APR for six to nine months to help tide over the first few months after ICD-10 is enforced.

Training And Education Essentials – Invest in Resources

Some practice owners will be fortunate to have staff training provided by vendors. Those who aren’t will be required to locate competent contractors who can provide the specialized training and education required for the implementation.

Everyone within the practice will require training. This includes the billers/coders as well as clinicians, who will need to modify clinical documentation to justify the increased specificity with the ICD-10 coding system.

Without enough training, bills will keep coming back to practitioners to fix, which will delay the entire payment process.

In-House Or Outsourced Billing – Examine Pros and Cons

Practitioners who are considering outsourcing will want to weigh the costs of training for in-house services against hiring an outside firm to handle those duties.

Coders/billers will need substantial training to minimize the disruption of reimbursements.

Experienced billers/coders are already in short supply and it may be better for the practice financially to hire a specialist who has already undergone training.

The Impact Of Security Vulnerabilities – Protect Data

ICD 10 codesMaintaining security is a very real concern, especially with the array of potential problems surrounding the transition.

Ensuring the security of patient information may include the purchase and installation of security software, while others may incur additional costs from vendors who are responsible for the system’s integrity.

Mistakes, oversights or compliance issues can cost a practice dearly.

Prepare for the Threat Of RAC Audits – Maintain Compliant Documentation

No one wants to hear that they’re the target of a Recovery Audit Contractor (RAC). ICD-10 implementation errors could appear as an attempt at fraud or abuse, causing a stain on a clinician’s reputation and disruption of the practice’s operation.

The best way for a clinic to be prepared is for the clinician to improve their documentation standards with the increased specificity that is necessary to justify the use of the new ICD-10 codes.

A RAC intervention is a lengthy and costly process for a private practice owner. In fact, it has the potential to drive a practice out of business.

The implementation of ICD-10 coding will take a financial toll on practices of all sizes. Preparing for the transition requires that clinicians use all their deductive skills to identify areas where the coding change will have a financial effect and plan for every contingency.