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ICD-10: We Have a Date!

The proposed date for ICD-10 implementation has become a reality. On October 1, 2014, healthcare organizations, including physician practices, must begin using the ICD-10 code set. This new date marks a one-year extension from the originally scheduled deadline.

Now that there is a firm date, your practice should be revisiting – or if you don’t have one begin creating – its ICD-10 implementation plans to ensure you’re right on track. As you move forward, you will need to have key elements in place to support a successful transition.

For example, a multifaceted leadership group is essential for planning the ICD-10 conversion. This group should contain representatives from both the clinical and business sides of the practice, since ICD-10 will affect both. The group’s first priority should be creating a project plan that considers the various aspects of the transition, including but not limited to timelines, resources, contingency plans, training and education, benchmarking activities and testing.

A next step should be a gap analysis, which is an in-depth look at where you currently use ICD-9 codes and how you will use ICD-10 in those areas. In some cases, you may want to start mapping the two code sets. There are many resources available to help with this effort.

Reaching out to payers and vendors should also be on your radar. Both these groups will be instrumental in ensuring a smooth revenue cycle process come 2014. In the case of payers, you may need to establish a relationship to build communication and collaboration. For vendors, you should be asking about software updates, timelines and testing. With the 5010 transition complete, your IT systems should be technologically-enabled to support ICD-10, which is a key step in the implementation process.

The sooner you start preparing for ICD-10, the better. While the extension gives practices some breathing room, it is not meant to foster further procrastination. The time to jumpstart your ICD-10 work is now!