Although every physician practice—large or small—is staring down the October 2015 ICD-10 deadline, medical practices with 1 – 5 physicians may face unique challenges when it comes to making this big transition. The stakes in this one are high. If your practice is not ready to transition to ICD-10 in October, it could significantly affect your ability to bill and collect. The life blood of your practice, cash flow, could be severely restricted.
Although limited staff and resources may make the ICD 10 conversion seem daunting, it’s not that hard nor that expensive to create a plan that details what has to be done and who has to do it. The following steps and guidelines can help small physician practices make this change without experiencing cash flow problems, claim denials, and other possible pitfalls.
Steps to Achieving ICD-10 Compliance for Small Practices
In order to make a successful transition to ICD-10, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recommend following these simple steps:
Before you establish a clear project management structure, you need to understand what has to be done and who has to do it. For example, you may want to have one team member in charge of checking with vendors, and another member in charge of ICD-10 training for medical billing and coding staff.
Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan
Planning is the foundation on which a successful ICD-10 transition is built. After you understand what has to be done and who has to do it, take the time to meet with all staff members and ensure that they understand what it is they personally have to do and the potential effects of ICD-10, as well as the potential impact to their jobs and the future of the practice.
By acting quickly, you can set a realistic schedule and budget. It is better to have a plan and not need it than to need a plan and not have it.
Vendor and Technology Assessment
At this point, your practice will need to test all vendors, including EHR providers, clearinghouse staff, and any outside medical billing services to make sure they have a plan in place for managing the switch to ICD 10s. If any of your vendors are unprepared for the transition, you will need to act quickly and determine the best course of action.
During this crucial ICD-10 implementation phase, your team will need to actually begin making changes within the infrastructure of the practice. All necessary training should be identified and time should be allotted for practice personnel to complete the training they need, and your practice should be prepared to make any business or technical modifications necessary.
Rigorous and thorough testing is key to ICD-10 success. At this point, your small physician practice can identify any potential problems, and begin to develop a plan for making these changes well before the deadline.
After all of the preparation and testing is complete, your practice should be ready to go live with the ICD-10 changes. At this point, you’ll want to make sure that your staff has ongoing support as they grow accustomed to this new environment.
Testing for ICD-10 Compliance
Although it is the most important step in the ICD-10 implementation process, many practices may face problems at this key phase. Determining what to test and how to test with can often lead to delays during this transition period.
The Medical Consultants Group offers an easy solution for testing your practice’s ICD-10 readiness. U-Test-IT MD® is an innovative, cloud-based toolkit for assessing your current ICD-10 compliance and, based on these findings, showing you exactly what has to be done. This simple and effective solution integrates all ICD-10 compliance activities into one, simple, accessible dashboard.
After the assessment is completed, our team will customize an ICD-10 compliance plan that is unique to your medical practice, including recommendations for both internal and external ICD-10 compliance.
Begin the ICD-10 Transition with the Medical Consultants Group
The Medical Consultants Group, a healthcare consulting firm in Atlanta, GA, offers services to help your small physician practice make a smooth and seamless ICD-10 transition.
With the help of our experienced team, you and your staff can spend more time on quality patient care, and less time on administrative tasks related to the ICD-10 transition. Call us today at 404-272-4883 or fill out our online contact form to schedule your free consultation with one of our dedicated practice consultants.