The time has come to begin planning for implementation of ICD-10 diagnosis codes. The implementation deadline is Oct. 1, 2014. Think of ICD-10 like a favorite food dish, best served in smaller portions over time. You should begin by identifying a capable leader who can oversee an ICD-10 project team. This should be someone with an understanding of ICD-10 who is able to communicate clearly about the reason for and implications of the change. With the team leader in place, an implementation team can be appointed. Be sure to have a good representation from both the clinical and business sides of your practice. ICD-10 will affect everyone in your office, and having input from staff with varying job duties will save headaches in the long term.
Once you have your team in place, begin delegating different areas of focus to your team members. These areas may include medical records, billing, front desk check-in, check-out, procedure scheduling, and ancillary services. Ask team members where they see, speak, hear, or write ICD-9 codes. Challenge them to assess these areas and determine if there is a policy or procedure that will need updating to include ICD-10 nomenclature. You should create a master list that contains the names and the positions of those who are affected and describes the impact ICD-10 will have on them. Keep this list on display to build awareness and prepare staff for future discussions about their involvement in the implementation of ICD-10. It will also be a helpful resource as you move forward in the implementation process. Next steps will involve analysis, revisions, restructuring, and training. Establish a regular meeting schedule for the next two years to help keep your group on track.
For more information and a timeline for ICD-10 implementation, see the American Academy of Family Physicians ICD-10 website.
–Debra Seyfried, MBA, CMPE, CPC, Coding and Compliance Strategist for the American Academy of Family Physicians
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