Everyone in the medical community knows the next 12 months will feel like walking on a tightrope as America treads lightly from the ICD-9 to ICD-10.
Never before has there been such a long gap between American iterations of the ICD - nothing since 1979. The transition will help the American system match the international World Health Organization (WHO) standards, and other countries that have already adopted the ICD-10.
Who Is Required To Change?
You don’t have to send claims to Medicare or Medicaid to fall under the banner of ICD-10. The changeover will hit everyone covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) involved in diagnosis and coding.
Each medical provider is responsible to change over to ICD-10. Waiting until the October 1st, 2015 deadline to make the switch is a mistake. Not only does your staff have to already know how to use the new codes and avoid penalties, but you need enough hands on deck to do the job of moving away from ICD-9.
The Cost of Change
Monetary costs associated with overhauling one complex ICD system for one that is even more complex, and unfamiliar to boot, is going to rock the medical community.
For anyone unaffected, it will be very interesting to see how these changes will change medical fees, staffing and perhaps even quality of care.
Due to the challenges of switching from ICD-9 to ICD-10, there is an imposed deadline of April 1, 2015, which is six months prior to the October deadline of ICD-10 compliance. It’s there to help ensure practices can increase their staff and begin getting acquainted with the use of ICD-10.
Based on the experience of Canada’s ICD-10 change over, the average loss in productivity amounted to 50% when billers began using ICD-10. Productivity gradually rose to a plateau of 80% after the close of a year. So, to recoup lost revenue from the ICD-10 implementation, billing offices will need to increase their personnel by approximately 50%.
Not only that, but those people who know billing well are going to be in demand across the country.
With this, there will be a serious shortage of billing professionals. Put it all together, and the coming months sound like they’re going to bring a hard transition, even among the most well-run practices.
A Time For Practice Management
Having access to the best practice management and digital billing technology is critical for the success of a medical billing company and practice. The bulk of the ICD change will hit staff who decide and record diagnoses and tasks with ICD-10 codes, namely the people involved in Health Information Management.
If you or members of your billing team have any questions regarding the move from ICD-9 to ICD-10, contact PracticeAdmin, makers of easy-to-use practice management and medical billing software, who can offer qualified advice that will help your practice stay afloat during this complex transition.