Catch Up To ICD - 10

ICD - 10 is here and many may have not noticed.  The true impact will be in a window from 4 - 8 weeks from now when the revenue effects become clear. What is being noticed is the amount of time and effort needed to incorporate the new system into your practice and the lack of preparation across the country, especially among family physicians.   Physicians  are putting their faith in ICD - 10 coding overlays to their electronic health record computer systems that will somehow rise to the occasion and support their revenue flow.   Most don’t know how they work and few have backups if those systems are less than acceptable to support the revenue flow.  Here are two simple weapons that every physician needs to carry in the transition time to insure the reimbursement flows.

The first is documentation.  If you don’t document it, you didn’t do it and you won’t be paid for it.  ICD-9 was very forgiving.  ICD- 10 is not!  Whoever codes the encounter, the record will speak for itself.  If the level of specificity does not appear, that encounter bill will not be paid.  That record will then come back to you for re-coding and will be just one more task to do at the end of the day when all you want to do is go home to your family.

The second is understanding how it all works.  There are no superbills that can help you with ICD - 10.  General Equivalence Mapping which converts ICD - 9 to ICD - 10 is a quick route to the bank and stressing your credit line.  It is all about keyword searching.  Just like a Google search, your code search will vary based on the keywords you use.  So, find software that works for you and practice with it.  If your EHR’s keyword search engine is not working for you find another.  There are several very inexpensive mobile apps.  Know that each one works differently and that each has its own keyword search functionality. Don’t expect it to jump into your hand and magically find codes.  A little practice goes a long way to increase your efficiency and decrease your frustration level.  Keep you cell phone in your pocket and the ICD - 10 app close, and maybe even practice with it a bit.

It may take 6 months to a year to catch up to ICD - 10.  That is a lot of reimbursement not received and a hefty addition to the A/R account.  Take out these two weapons and use them.  It is not too late to embrace the change and get ready.  Patients depend on a practice infrastructure that is healthy and available.  That doesn’t happen without a functioning reimbursement process.

Learn how to use mobile ICD - 10 apps.

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