The transition to ICD-10 codes will impact a host of office systems and software, along with the human element of practices.

Several articles and checklists are available online with advice and suggestions on how to prepare for implementation of the new codes, but the bottom line is that those who don’t prepare sufficiently will suffer financial losses due to rejected reimbursement claims.

ICD-10 codesGlitches and errors with implementation are inevitable, and the objective for the practice should be to minimize issues with the transition.

Claims will be affected with a project of this scope and clinicians would do well to review their preparations beginning with the anticipated end result, and do so as if they were facing a natural disaster.

Create A Contingency Plan

To ride out the coming storm of ICD-10 transition, practitioners should create a comprehensive list of monthly expenses that includes their bills and payroll.

Plan on putting aside at least three month’s-worth of cash to cover expenses in the event that the reimbursement flow decreases.

Budgets And Deadlines

Practitioners will face a multitude of expenses in the form of staff training, software and office system upgrades. Practices must establish a timeline to accomplish their goals, from where and how staff will receive training to when software and hardware will be installed.

If problems occur, clinicians will know where the delays are, allowing them to adjust their plans accordingly.

Communicate With Others

Everyone from payers, vendors and clearinghouses must comply with implementation of the new codes. To assist clinicians with their own project deadlines, it’s a good idea to communicate with others in the practice’s network to discover when each entity plans to have their systems in place so testing can begin.

New Rules And Compatibility

It’s critical for clinicians to identify the top 10 ways the transition will affect their practice. Some payers, such as those for Workers’ Compensation, may be exempt from the change, and this varies from one state to another. It’s best to speak with the insurer in your state.

Practitioners will have to conduct due research to ensure they have a system that’s compliant and compatible with clearinghouses and payers.

Education, Skills and Resources

Staff will need sufficient time to be trained in the new alpha-numeric codes, their usage and how they will affect their daily duties. Compile a list of resources the office and staff can utilize. It’s never too early to begin the familiarization process.

Coding is a specialized field and some clinicians may find that hiring a biller/coder who already has expertise with the new codes is more cost effective for the practice.

Fix Existing ProblemsICD-10 codes

Before attempting software installations and upgrades, identify and fix any problems with existing systems, software and processes.

Problems anywhere within current systems and practices will create even more difficulties later on.

Acceptance Is Key

ICD-10 implementation is mandatory and the U.S. is one of the last countries in the world to adopt the system. Each practice should have a designated person to become an expert on all the nuances, rules and regulations of ICD-10.

That individual will be a key element in the creation and development of an implementation program that’s compliant, compatible and helps guard against reimbursement rejections.

Sufficient preparation for implementation will reduce stress throughout the practice and ensure that claims are reimbursed promptly. It’s understandable that clinicians are anxious about the change to ICD-10 codes, but with only a little while to go before the codes are in common use, practitioners have no time to waste.